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Your Pregnancy - Week 18

Massive bump or not much to see?

You’ve got a pregnancy belly by now, but how much you show depends on many factors, from your body shape to how strong your core muscles are, your height, and what your hormones are up to. 

There’s no normal for pregnancy tummies and it can be upsetting when people say things like ‘woah you’re HUGE!’ or ‘where is your baby bump?’. The best course of action is to nod politely and say nothing while silently mouthing ‘how rude’. 

Once you pass 20 weeks your midwife will measure from your pubic bone up to the top of the uterus (your fundus) to check your baby is roughly where they’d expect at that stage. It doesn’t mean anything is wrong if you measure big or small, but it does give the doctors a heads up that you might need some more checks. 

And watch out for other changes in your body this week, your boobs might have gone up a size and if you find a little brown line down your tummy don’t freak out, it’s called a linea nigra and a normal change in your skin during pregnancy. It usually vanishes a few months after your baby arrives. 

You’ll have your next scan, called an anomaly scan somewhere between 18-20 weeks to check every little detail of your baby. And this is when you can find out if you’re having a boy or girl (but only if you want to). 

What does my baby look like?

From week 17 your baby has grown about another 2cm, making it almost as big as an iPhone 12. 

You’ll probably start to feel more movement as they wiggle their arms and legs more. Feeling tiny inside jumps? Your baby might have hiccups. And because being an active baby is so tiring they’ll start to yawn. 

Oof that burns 

You don’t need to scoff a load of chillis to get heartburn now. It’s a common symptom in pregnancy caused by those ever pesky hormones and your growing baby pushing your stomach up. 

Heartburn (also called indigestion or dyspepsia) is an uncomfortable feeling you get at the top of your tummy after eating or drinking. It can also cause a burning sensation or pain in your chest, bloating, burping, feeling or being sick. 

It usually goes away once you give birth but you can reduce it by:

  • Eating slowly and chewing well
  • Eating smaller portions more often
  • Sitting down and taking your time eating
  • Sitting up after you’ve eaten
  • Keeping your head propped up at night 
  • Giving caffeine, acidic and spicy foods a swerve 
  • Stopping smoking and not drinking alcohol

You can safely take antacids like Rennie* and liquids like Gaviscon* when you’re pregnant. Follow the instructions on the pack.  If that doesn’t do the trick, or you take any other medication, then talk to your midwife or GP. 

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Read: Your pregnancy - week 19

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