CHANGES TO MUM
Between 18 and 20 weeks of your pregnancy another ultrasound is generally performed typically to check the baby’s development and to detect any birth defects.
The ultrasound technician will examine both you and your baby, checking the location and thickness of your placenta plus once again by examining your baby’s growth checking the accuracy of your estimated date of delivery.
Something else that you may wish to do is find out during the ultrasound is the gender of your baby! As you all know I could not wait to find out but some parents opt to wait and let it be a surprise at the birth.
No matter what you decide the ultrasound technician will ask you before you start so you don’t accidentally find out! The baby’s gender and sex organs will be discussed further in ‘Changes to Bub’.
As you start to grow and your pregnancy becomes more obvious by the size of your tummy you may also find that you are feeling a bit more uncomfortable, making sleeping difficult.
As you might know, you should not lay on your back or your tummy when sleeping and your sides really are the best sleeping position.
In particular laying on your left side during pregnancy can help to prevent your uterus from compressing a vein in your body. This vein called the inferior vena cava helps to return blood back to your heart.
During your pregnancy if you ever feel faint or lightheaded you should lay on your left side until you feel better.
Many people are not naturally side sleepers and if this is you, you may be struggling getting the rest you need. If you are tossing and turning at night and are finding it difficult to fall asleep due to being uncomfortable, try sleeping with a pillow under your stomach and between your legs (while on your side).
There are also specific pregnancy pillows that are a great alternative, some that wrap completely around. You feel like you are sleeping in your own personal cocoon. You need your rest so investing in one of these pillows might be the best thing that you ever did.
Pregnancy pillows can also be used after your pregnancy as a nursing pillow if you intend to breastfeed your baby.
CHANGES TO BUB
There are so many changes to your baby during the last month of development and by the end of the 18 weeks your baby will be 13.5 to 14 cms in length and weigh approximately 180 to 190 grams.
Not only is the size of your baby continually changing and developing but their face is becoming more human in appearance. Your baby is starting to frown and squint, the eyebrows and eyelashes start to grow and even the hair on your baby’s head is coloured by pigment cells. Your baby is aware of the bright light outside your body.
As mentioned earlier, your baby’s gender is now visible from 18 weeks and it may be possible to tell the sex of your baby on an ultrasound if you wish to find out. Your baby’s genital organs are taking on a more distinctive look.
Remember that although the organs are developing your baby’s genitals may not be easy to view by your ultrasound technician especially if your baby is very active at the time.
If you are having a girl her vaginal plate, the beginning of her vagina is developing where a little boy’s testes will be well on their way to descending into the scrotum.
An ultrasound technician, if given a good view will be able to tell you the gender, however if they are not 100% sure then you may like to wait until your next obstetrician appointment when it can be double checked.
Generally speaking if you are told you are having a boy then this is fairly accurate, however it can sometimes be more difficult to be sure for a baby girl.
As your pregnancy develops and your baby grows, the gender can be confirmed with more accuracy.