Welcome to week 18
This could be a landmark week if you're lucky enough to feel your baby move. Some women describe this first experience of movements as feeling like the fluttering of butterfly wings; others say it's an effervescent feeling like bubbles bursting. Don't panic if you don't feel anything for some weeks to come yet as it's different for every mum-to-be.
Your baby will reach about 150g (around six ounces) by the end of this week and will measure between 12.5-14cm (5-5.5 inches) from crown to rump. Babies at this stage of pregnancy become really aware of the voices most often heard from inside the womb, so use your voice to reassure and help your baby recognise you. It's a well-known fact that newborns respond best to those voices they heard most often during pregnancy, so sing, read stories, chat – and get your partner to do the same if he's willing to. In a scientific study, newborn babies also reacted when they heard the theme tunes to the programmes their mums watched most in pregnancy. Amazing to think you can be born with an ingrained appreciation of Countdown!
On the outside
Have a feel and see if you can find the top of your uterus – it sits about two fingers' width below your navel. Your bump will be roundish now and probably obvious to all. If you're not yet into maternity clothes, it's probably time to invest in a few pieces. Go for mix-and-match separates so you can make a few outfits from the same three or four items. Read our features on maternity loungewear and maternity dresses for inspiration. Don't imagine you'll just spring back to your pre-pregnancy size in a matter of weeks like some well-documented celebrities. These women have personal trainers and chefs to get them back into a strict regime and into their skinny jeans. You can take your time and invest your energy in looking after your little one.
Things to think about
If your hospital or maternity unit is happy to divulge the sex of your baby when it comes to your anomaly scan (usually carried out at 20-22 weeks), you'll need to discuss with your partner in advance whether or not you want to know. Some parents prefer to be able to shop for a particular sex and decorate the nursery for a boy or girl; some want to pick out a name before so they feel they can identify with their baby more strongly in pregnancy; other people would really rather not know for fear of disappointment and others just want a lovely surprise on the big day. It's quite common to fluctuate between wanting to know and wanting to remain in blissful ignorance – and it can be really hard if one of you wants to know and the other doesn't! Some parents take the view that if the person performing the scan gets to know, then it's only right they should find out themselves. In some cases, just one parent finds out and keeps the secret (or at least tries to!). Bearing in mind all of this, try and come to a decision you can both live with. Parenting dilemma: discovering the sex.
See previous week: 17 weeks pregnant
See next week: 19 weeks pregnant