Pregnancy Week Eighteen

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If you have not felt the baby move yet, do not worry, you will very soon. You will feel little flutters as they turn and twist and reach out to punch and kick. They are gaining muscle mass and still weigh in at around five ounces. They are almost half a foot in length now, so they are getting “taller” and leaner. When you start to feel the kicks and rolls, you will also get to experience their hiccups. Babies in the womb will hiccup almost daily, sometimes more often. You will experience these little blips and sensations all through the day and night.

Your back will continue to ache and feel the strain of your growing belly. Have you heard the term “swallowed a melon seed?” Well, right now, the uterus is the size of a small melon, and it is no wonder the strain is felt in your back. You also may be experiencing loosening joints, as the hormone relaxin, a pregnancy hormone, is in production, to prepare your body for birth. Relaxin helps the pelvis open up to give birth, and it starts in the preparation about this point. You may feel like you have loose rubber bands for joints these days. Just proceed carefully, making allowances for this as you move.

You may be noticing more swelling in your feet these days. Ironically, when the body swells, you probably need more water. Even though this swelling is retention of fluids that tend to settle in the feet and ankles (ever heard of cankles? A term meaning the calf and ankle are all one). Drinking plenty of water encourages your body to recycle it better. When you see the feet swelling, it is time to elevate them and let them rest. In addition, you may notice your hair is thick and full. This is because the body is hanging on to everything, including the hair. It may be thicker and fuller, but after birth, you will lose it by the handfuls. Enjoy the full hair while it is here.

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