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    Your baby’s top priority: GROW.

    Complete side view of a fetus in the eighteenth week

    Your baby’s development

    Lots of growing going on: You say toe-may-toe.
    By the 18th week, your baby is about 5.5 inches long, or about the length of a large tomato.

    Baby’s number 1 priority this week is growing. You might even feel her start to move, which can feel like flutters, known as quickening. At your next doctor’s appointment, let him or her know about any fetal movement.

    Your baby’s skeleton continues to ossify (harden) – beginning with her leg bones and inner ear bones.

    By now, your baby can hear. She might hear your heartbeat or your tummy gurgle. She might even hear loud sounds coming from outside the womb.
    A bowl of varied fruits from kiwi to banana

    Your nutrition and health

    Make every bite count.
    Just because you’re pregnant doesn’t mean you need to eat for two. But it is important to eat right every day. Here’s a reminder of what – and how much – you should be eating daily:

    • 3 cups of calcium-rich foods, such as low-fat milk, yogurt, and cottage cheese
    • 3 cups of vegetables, including at least 2 cups of folate-rich options like broccoli, Brussels sprouts, or spinach
    • 2 cups of fruit, such as apples, pears, and strawberries
    • 8 ounces of whole grains, including whole-wheat bread, oatmeal, or wild rice
    • 6 ½ ounces of lean protein and legumes, such as lean ground beef, chicken breast, pork tenderloin, almonds, and lentils
    A doctor using a stethoscope on the belly of a pregnant woman

    Things to think about now

    What to expect at your next checkup.
    During your next prenatal doctor’s visit, your doctor will check your weight, blood pressure, urine and other vitals. This is a good time to review your current diet and evaluate if you should increase or decrease any particular nutrients.

    Let your doctor know if you’ve felt your baby move. Knowing when your baby started moving and the frequency of his kicks can help your doctor estimate your baby’s fetal age and your due date more accurately.

    During this month of pregnancy, you might have an ultrasound, which is also called a sonogram. An ultrasound is a medical imaging tool that uses high-frequency sound waves to safely view internal images of you and your baby. By your 18th week of pregnancy, an ultrasound can reveal:

    • Whether you’re having a boy, a girl, or more than 1 baby
    • Your baby’s fetal age
    • Location of your placenta
    • Fetal position, movement, breathing, and heartbeat
    • Amount of amniotic fluid
    • Length of your cervix
    A pregnant woman in the kitchen placing vegetables in the blender

    What happens next week

    Doing the neuron dance!
    Your baby’s brain is making millions of motor neurons – the nerves that tell the muscles how and when to move.