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Last Updated on July 9, 2018

10 Things You Should Know In 18th Week of Pregnancy

10 Things You Should Know In 18th Week of Pregnancy

At 18 weeks pregnant, you are almost halfway through your pregnancy. As your body constantly changes together with your baby, you have to adapt and make sure you know everything that is ahead of you during this time. See what you should know about the 18th week of your pregnancy below.

1. Changes in your body

By now your baby bump probably has probably grown and in the second trimester you should strive to gain three to four pounds a month. Also, when you’re 18 weeks pregnant, your baby will become more active which will lead to butterflies or gas bubbles you feel in your stomach. These bubbles or butterflies are your baby’s first movements that are also called “quickening.” Soon, your baby will start to produce those gentle kicks and stretches in your tummy.

2. Your growing baby

At this period of your pregnancy, the baby is about the size of a bell pepper. More precisely, it is approximately 5 ½ inches long, and it weighs about 7 ounces. Your baby develops something new throughout your pregnancy week by week. During this week, your baby will develop ears, and they will pop out from the head. Also, starting from this week, your baby will hear your voice, and it’s a great time to start talking to your growing belly.

Moreover, baby’s eyes will face forward now, and they’ll be able to detect light. Besides developing ears and improvements in eyes, your baby’s nervous system will improve in an 18th week, as well. Now, your baby’s nerves will be covered by the substance called myelin whose purpose is to transmit messages from one cell to another.

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During this week, you may undergo an ultrasound and if your baby cooperates the physician might be able to determine the little one’s gender.

3. Symptoms

If your pregnancy was smooth so far, some symptoms might be mild this week too. You may even feel your energy level increased, though some women can also feel fatigue. This varies from person to person. As you experience different symptoms during pregnancy week by week here is what you can expect in 18th week:

  • Carpal Tunnel Syndrome – a common occurrence in many pregnant women. This syndrome is caused by a compressed nerve in your wrist, and the outcome is numbness, tingling and pain in your hand or an entire arm. If you feel this pain, you’re not alone. 62% of women report having carpal tunnel syndrome. The good news is; this syndrome disappears after giving birth.
  • Various body aches – starting with week 18 you may experience various body aches in the second trimester of your pregnancy such as pain in the thigh, groin, or back. This happens due to changes in your body that occur with the growth of your baby. Your uterus starts expanding which causes body aches. Great way to relieve this is by asking your partner, husband, or family member and friend to give you a nice massage; also you can apply hot or cold compresses. Moreover, getting cramps in your legs in the nighttime is also quite common. In order to tackle this issue try stretching your legs before bed, or even do some exercises or just walk during the day.
  • Other symptoms – heartburn, gas, frequent urination or bloating may continue this week as well. You may also experience gum and nasal problems and dizziness.

4. Safe skin care

Before we move on to discuss various skin problems that you might experience in this period, we should first discuss the safe skin care and what are the best skin care products for pregnant women. When you are pregnant everything you do, eat, or even apply to your skin can have either positive or negative impact on your baby. Therefore, before purchasing various skin care products, make sure their ingredients won’t harm your unborn child.

Best to avoid

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  • Retinoids – this powerful substance can be found in face creams, body lotions, and moisturizers, etc. Usually, they are safe to use and beneficial for your skin. However, while you are pregnant, it would be better to stay away from them as some studies have revealed that higher levels of Vitamin A can harm your child.
  • Salicylic acid – is usually an ingredient in cleansers and toners. While oral consumption is extremely harmful to the child, applying it topically once or twice a day in the form of toner is considered safe. However, using facial peels that contain salicylic acid is a no-no as it is just as same as taking one more aspirin according to experts.

Safe to use

  • Soy – skin care products are used as an alternative to items that contain too many chemicals. Soy products are considered as safe to use but if you have darker skin or melasma, you should consider asking for your doctor’s advice.
  • Acne products – pregnancy is sometimes characterized by acne outbreaks. In order to make them disappear you can use over-the-counter cleansers or toners. As seen above, applying salicylic acid twice a day is considered as safe (as long as it’s not facial peel).
  • Hair removers – are considered safe as long as you follow directions.
  • Sunscreens – according to numerous experts, sunscreens (even those that contain products that penetrate the skin) are considered as safe to use.
  • Makeup – yes, you can use makeup during pregnancy too, as long as it doesn’t contain salicylic acid or retinoids.

Ideally, the best skin care products for pregnant women are the ones that do not contain alcohol, various chemicals, and substances. You should strive to use makeup and skin care products that are made of natural ingredients. Moreover, as it is recommended not to dye your hair during the pregnancy, you may consider henna bricks as they color your hair but don’t contain harmful chemicals.

5. Your changing skin during pregnancy

When you’re pregnant your skin changes too, and you may experience some problems in the 18th week. Some of them are:

  • Acne
  • The linea nigra – pregnancy stripes, especially at least one dark and vertical line that goes from your belly button all the way to the pubic area. Before you start worrying, you should know the line will start fading away once you give birth to your baby.
  • Skin tags – might appear on your torso, neck, armpits, etc. However, in order to tackle this issue, you will have to wait until the baby is born.
  • Heat rash, itching, redness, etc. – in order to prevent this from happening wear comfortable clothes made of natural materials like itching and rash often occur due to friction while wearing clothes that are too tight.

6. Home remedies for skin problems

While you’re pregnant, you’re trying to avoid products whose ingredients may harm your baby. Some home remedies can help treat your skin problems. For example:

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  • Pigmentation – you can solve this problem with aloe vera gel, mixing almond powder, saffron, and milk, or dipping lemon into turmeric. Regardless of the method all you have to do is to apply it and rinse it off in 10 minutes.
  • Stretch marks – again, aloe vera gel works perfectly for affected areas.
  • Dry skin – make your own massage oil with 10 drops of sandalwood and geranium oils, 5 drops of rose water and ylang-ylang oil, and combine them with 50ml of sesame oil and 10ml of wheat germ oil.

7. What to eat when 18 weeks pregnant

To keep a healthy weight and make sure your baby only gets healthy nutrients, vitamins and minerals you have to be careful what you eat in the 18th week of your pregnancy too. Ideally, well-balanced diet includes fruits, vegetables, carbohydrates, proteins, dairy foods, and Omega-3 fatty acids. Before you assume that Omega-3 fatty acids will affect your baby’s health in a negative manner, you should know that these fatty acids are of extreme importance for the development of baby’s brain.

8. Beating pregnancy fatigue

While some women experience increased energy levels, there are also women who feel fatigue during the 18th week of pregnancy. Here is how to beat pregnancy fatigue:

  • Take a power nap
  • Go out for a walk
  • Adjust your schedule and make sure you’re not over-committed
  • Listen to music with faster beats
  • Drink plenty of water
  • Make sure you eat foods rich in iron as fatigue is often result of iron deficiency
  • Exercise, there are a lot of classes and gyms with special pregnancy programs where you do exercise that will benefit you and your baby, etc.

9. Moisturizing baby bump

It is crucial to moisturize the baby bump. As your belly grows stretch marks will become more frequent and visible. Moisturizing the baby bump will reduce their intensity, and they will appear at a slower rate. Naturally, make sure you’re using a moisturizer that is safe for your baby.

10. Beauty Tips

Being 18 weeks, pregnant doesn’t mean you shouldn’t pay attention to enhancing your beauty. That is particularly important now because you already have that healthy, pregnancy glow. Many women avoid and completely abandon their beauty regimes mostly because they feel like they will harm their baby. Here are beauty tips you should use in 18th week or during pregnancy week by week to enhance your glowing look:

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  • Stay hydrated
  • Moisturize
  • Use soft shampoos that will be gentle to your scalp and prevent hair loss
  • Use sunscreen
  • Use coconut oil to nourish your skin (or almond oil and shea butter)
  • Use organic eye serum
  • Dab lavender oil on your wrists as a drug-free sleep aid.

Conclusion

With the advance of pregnancy week by week, your body changes along with your baby. You should make sure that in week 18 you eat healthy foods, stay energized and take a power nap. Also, don’t forget to take care of your skin and remember best skin care products for pregnant women are the ones that are made of natural ingredients and don’t contain retinoids.

Featured photo credit: Shutterstock via shutterstock.com

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Evlin Symon

Evlin Symon is a health and wellness expert specialized in fitness, weight loss, pregnancy, nutrition and beauty.

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Published on March 13, 2019

What Makes A Great Place to Work Whilst Pregnant

What Makes A Great Place to Work Whilst Pregnant

Among women who had their first child in the early 1960s, just 44% worked at all during pregnancy. The latest figures show that 66% of mothers who gave birth to their first child between 2006 and 2008 worked during their pregnancy.[1]  It also showed that about eight-in-ten pregnant workers (82%) continued in the workplace until within one month of their first birth which has vastly increased from 35%. It is clear to see form the statical trends that more women are choosing to continue working through, and late into, pregnancy.

Unlike other developed world countries, the USA does not mandate any paid leave for new mothers under federal law,[2] though some individual employers make that accommodation and it is mandated by a handful of individual states. Finding what makes a great workplace whilst pregnant can alleviate stress and provide more stability for you and your family. 

In this article, you will discover exactly the best places to work whilst pregnant.

How Difficult Is It to Work Whilst Pregnant?

Many people strive to find and attain good jobs. For pregnant women, however, that process is often especially challenging. After all, you’ll face extra obstacles that are unique to expectant mothers.

If you are pregnant and need a job, then you’re definitely not alone. You are also not alone if you’re already employed and want to find a new job that is more family-friendly. Changing jobs while pregnant is something that many women consider, especially when they realise that their current positions may not be suitable for pregnancy or offer the benefits or flexibility that they’ll soon need. 

Getting a job while pregnant may not be the easiest thing in the world to do, but it is possible.

You can look for employment opportunities that don’t require too much physical exertion and that won’t cause you much emotional stress. Also, look for jobs that come with the chance to work flexible hours, offer good medical benefits, allow you to take time off as needed, and don’t require a long commute. In addition, it’s obviously wise to consider avoiding jobs that may expose you to toxins, people with communicable illnesses, or other physical hazards.

The Pre-Natal Mamma’s Needs

During pregnancy, there are many mental and physiological changes that a woman will go through. In understanding those changes, it is more clear which types of jobs and workplaces are more suited to you as a pregnant woman. 

During pregnancy, the birth of your baby and the postnatal period, changes in the hormones in your body can have an effect on your emotions during pregnancy. These hormones and the changes can cause joy, fear, surprise and anxiety all of which can be assisted with necessary support and talking. 

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The physiological changes are more varied according to each trimester:

1st Trimester (0-13 weeks)

In the first few weeks following conception, your hormone levels change significantly. Your uterus begins to support the growth of the placenta and the fetus, your body adds to its blood supply to carry oxygen and nutrients to the developing baby, and your heart rate increases.

These changes accompany many of the pregnancy symptoms, such as fatigue, morning sickness, headaches, and constipation. During the first trimester, the risk of miscarriage is significant.

2nd Trimester (13 – 27 weeks)

While the discomforts of early pregnancy should ease off, there are a few new symptoms to get used to. Common complaints include leg cramps and heartburn. You might find yourself growing more of an appetite, and your weight gain will accelerate. 

3rd Trimester (28 weeks – birth)

Travel restrictions take effect during the third trimester. It’s advised that you stay in relatively close proximity to your doctor or midwife in case you go into labor early. The baby is growing bigger and stronger; the kicks can be quite powerful and your abdomen is becoming larger and heavier.

Stretch marks may develop if they haven’t earlier in the pregnancy. Braxton-Hicks contractions- which are usually perceived as painless tightening can be felt. Lower back pain is very common and there may be more pelvic pressure and with this more frequent urination. 

Swollen legs and feet are very common as are increased fatigue, interrupted sleep and a reduced ability to eat a full meal at one sitting.

4th Trimester (Post birth onwards)

Your baby’s fourth trimester starts from the moment she’s born and lasts until she is three months old. The term is used to describe a period of great change and development in your newborn, as she adjusts to her new world outside your womb. There are many adaptations, recovery and rest that you and your baby need through this trimester whether you have a natural or c-section birth.

All of these considerations need to be in mind when looking to find a great workplace whilst pregnant — whether you’re looking to ask for more support from your current workplace, find a new job or enter employment. 

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Next, let’s look at the factors that would define the opposite; somewhere you shouldn’t look to work whilst pregnant.

How to Spot The Worst Workplaces to Work Whilst Pregnant

1. Non-Negotiable Heavy Lifting

Do you have to lift, push, bend, shove, and load materials all day? If you do, many experts believe you should ask for a job reassignment or quit by the 20th week of pregnancy.

2. Toxic Environments

The list of jobs that involve dangerous substances is miles long. Consider the artist who works with paint and solvents all day, the dry cleaner who breathes in cleaning fumes, the agricultural or horticultural worker who works with pesticides, the photographer who uses toxic chemicals to develop pictures, the tollbooth attendant who breathes in car and truck exhaust, or the printer who works with lead substances.

3. Proximity to People with Communicable Illnesses

Working with or exposure to certain bacteria, viruses, or other infectious agents could increase your chances of having a miscarriage, a baby with a birth defect, or other reproductive problems.  Some infections can pass to an unborn baby during pregnancy and cause a miscarriage or birth defect. Infections like seasonal influenza (the flu) and pneumonia can cause more serious illness in pregnant women.

4. Extended Hours of Standing

Cooks, nurses, salesclerks, waiters, police officers, and others, have jobs that keep them on their feet all day. This can be difficult for a pregnant woman, but it might be downright dangerous for her unborn baby. Studies have found that long hours of standing during the last half of pregnancy disrupt the flow of blood.[3]

Key Factors Creating a Great Workplace whilst Pregnant

1. Flexibility

You might feel tired as your body works overtime to support your pregnancy — and resting during the workday can be tough. Having an employer or job that provide care and is understanding to your needs is hugely beneficial.

A compassionate and empathetic employer will understand morning sickness; they will facilitate changes in working hours to accommodate your energy and assist with the smells from the work kitchen. 

They will also enable you to remain flexible to snack as and when you want to – crackers and other bland foods can be lifesavers when you feel nauseated. Nad eating small frequent meals are similarly saving you as your meal quantity decreases.

2. Compassion

More employers are learning that the idea that pregnant women are willing and necessary contributors to the economy and are capable of adding long-term value to their organizations. 

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Employers that follow good practice in maternity can improve the experience of pregnant employees and new mothers and encourage them to return to work following maternity leave.

A good relationship between a pregnant employee and her line manager is essential to the successful reintegration of the employee following maternity leave.

3. Stress Reduced

Stress on the job can sap the energy you need to care for yourself and your baby.

To minimize workplace stress, take control. Make daily to-do lists and prioritise your tasks. Consider what you can delegate to someone else — or eliminate. 

Talk it out. Share frustrations with a supportive co-worker, friend or loved one. 

Practice relaxation techniques, such as breathing slowly or imagining yourself in a calm place. Try a prenatal yoga class, as long as your health care provider says it’s OK.

4. Adaptable

As your pregnancy progresses, everyday activities such as sitting and standing can become uncomfortable. Remember those short, frequent breaks to combat fatigue? Moving around every few hours also can ease muscle tension and help prevent fluid buildup in your legs and feet. 

Using an adjustable chair with good lower back support can make long hours of sitting much easier — especially as your weight and posture change. If your chair isn’t adjustable, use a small pillow or cushion to provide extra support for your back.

Elevate your legs to decrease swelling. If you must stand for long periods of time, put one of your feet up on a footrest, low stool or box. Switch feet every so often and take frequent breaks.

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Wear comfortable shoes with good arch support. Consider wearing support or compression hose, too.

5. Financial Support

Financial strain is one of the leading causes of peri & post natal depression. Employers can support employees by offering them benefits beyond the statutory minimum, for example training mechanisms to help them cope with balancing work and family commitments. 

The employer should conduct a performance review with the employee prior to her maternity leave to boost her confidence and encourage her to consider how parenthood and work will fit together.

Key Take-Aways

If you’re working while you’re pregnant, you need to know your rights to antenatal care, maternity leave and benefits. 

If you have any worries about your health while at work, talk to your doctor, midwife or occupational health nurse. You can also talk to your employer, union representative, or someone in the personnel department (HR) where you work. 

Once you tell your employer that you’re pregnant, they should do a risk assessment with you to see if your job poses any risks to you or your baby. If there are any risks, they have to make reasonable adjustments to remove them. This can include changing your working hours. 

If you work with chemicals, lead or X-rays, or in a job with a lot of lifting, it may be illegal for you to continue to work. In this case, your employer must offer you alternative work on the same terms and conditions as your original job. If there’s no safe alternative, your employer should suspend you on full pay (give you paid leave) for as long as necessary to avoid the risk.

Look for employment opportunities that don’t require too much physical exertion and that won’t cause you much emotional stress. Also, look for jobs that come with the chance to work flexible hours, offer good medical benefits, allow you to take time off as needed, and don’t require a long commute. 

Your current employer may need to offer you different types of work or a change to your working hours. If your employer can’t get rid of the risks (for example by finding other suitable work without any reduction in pay for you), they should offer you suspension on full pay.

Featured photo credit: Alicia Petresc via unsplash.com

Reference

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