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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 an expert in health, fitness, weight loss, pregnancy, nutrition, beauty, lifestyle and relationship.

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Published on September 21, 2018

11 Smart Pieces of Advice to Help You Thrive as a Single Mother

11 Smart Pieces of Advice to Help You Thrive as a Single Mother

Becoming a mother is one of the most difficult challenges a woman can take on in her life. Whether this happens the “natural” way, with the help of science, or through adoption, being in charge of nurturing another human being is a herculean task to take on.

Typically, when we think about parenthood, we imagine two parents sharing the responsibility and having each other to lean on. However, according to the 2016 U.S. Census Bureau, 1 in 4 children under the age of 18 are being raised by a single mother.[1] This is a significant portion of the population that often gets overlooked.

If you are one of these mothers raising your children on your own, you are undoubtedly aware of the additional challenges that motherhood has placed upon you, including the constant struggle to find sufficient time, energy, money, and support.

For single mothers who find themselves bogged down by their daily responsibilities and struggle to stay afloat, don’t be fooled by the belief that you have to do all. It is possible to thrive and live as a single mother if you take advantage of all available resources and adjust your priorities based on your situation.

1. Find your community and ask for help

As the sole caretaker of your kids, going through the successes and struggles of parenthood can feel isolating and lonely. You have probably developed a strong sense of independence because you’ve had to go at it alone.

Being self-reliant is necessary in many situations that you have to face, but do not fool yourself into thinking that you don’t need support from others. If you have family nearby, strengthen your relationship with them by visiting and talking more often. Find time to catch up with old friends or co-workers, and don’t assume they don’t want to hang out if they are not parents themselves.

Would you prefer finding mom friends[2] who have more in common with you? Use resources like apps, Facebook groups, and community events to meet local moms in your area.

After you have established a support group that you can depend on, don’t be afraid to ask for help. It is NOT a sign of weakness or incompetency to admit you can’t do it all, and others are probably more willing to lend a hand than you think.

If you feel uncomfortable burdening others, suggest trading favors such as taking turns babysitting. Because after all, helping is each other is what community is all about.

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2. Make peace with the past

Before you can move forward, you must make peace with your past and not let it define you or rule your life. Whether your journey to single motherhood was through divorce, death, or never having a relationship the father, it is crucial that you leave behind the feelings of abandonment or betrayal you may be struggling with.

You cannot change the past and the hurt you had to endure, but you can use the strength that you gained from overcoming those obstacles to work towards making the best life for yourself and your child. Learn from the past but live in the present and look towards the future.

3. Make plans and set goals

The daily repetition of trying to balance work and home life can make you feel like you are on operating on autopilot. However, it is imperative to set goals for yourself and to keep working towards self-improvement.

In your personal life, you can set a fitness goal (train for a 5k), a reading goal (read 20 books in a year), or a travel goal (take a trip to Europe). At your job, you can set career goals such as gain leadership experience, get a promotion, or earn a degree or certificate.

Spend time creating a realistic plan to on how you can go about achieving these goals. Not only will working towards these goals make you a more well-rounded and successful person, they will bring more purpose and fulfillment to your life.

4. Look for role models

A great way to jump start your plans for the future is to find a role model or mentor who is further along in their life or career experience. This person can be a great resource when you need guidance on what types of goals to set for yourself and how to achieve them.

It’s also important to have people to turn to for encouragement during difficult seasons of life. Someone who has been through it before can provide the most genuine reassurance that tough times will get better and that staying positive is best approach.

5. Rethink your priorities

Single parents have twice as many responsibilities to take care of, so priorities and expectations must be adjusted accordingly.

Know that you are not superwoman and striving for a perfectly clean home, no dirty laundry, and home-cooked meals for your kids every day is not a reasonable expectation. It’s okay to take shortcuts sometimes, like serving your kids cereal for dinner or waiting until the next day to wash the dishes.

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Don’t compare yourself to anyone else and let go of the guilt that you feel for being the only parent that your kids can count on. Give yourself a break and don’t sweat the small stuff.

6. Make time for me time

Even though it can be difficult to find, making time for yourself is critical to maintaining your sanity and well-being. Without a built-in partner to take over, finding time to be away from the kids must be done intentionally and planned in advance.

If you are sharing custody, use the time away from your kids not only doing productive things but also making sure you are taking care of yourself. Sleep, exercise, and balanced diet are not things that can get pushed to the bottom of the priority list. Also make time for fun activities, such as hobbies and creative outlets.

Even though being a mother is the most important job you have, don’t let it be the only thing that defines you. Time for yourself is more difficult to find if you are the sole caretaker of your kids.

Use the resources that you have to devote time to self-care, and you and your kids will thank you for it in the long run.

7. Stay organized

With so many things to juggle, great organizational skills are an absolute must in order to keep everything moving smoothly. Use apps such as Mint for your finances, Mealime for meal planning, and Cozi as a family organizer for everything from appointments and shopping lists to after school activities.

Maintain constant contact if you are sharing custody so that it is clearly communicated who will be responsible for what when it comes to your kids. Follow consistent routines in the morning and nighttime so that your kids also know what to expect on a daily basis.

8. Be flexible (Don’t be a control freak)

Although it is important to be prepared and stay organized, things don’t always go according to plan.

When kids get sick and have to stay home or babysitters cancel at the last minute, allow for flexibility by having a contingency plan for childcare and with your employer.

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For example, make a list of people you can call when you need last minute childcare, or talk to your boss in advance about working from home when emergencies come up.

Most of all, don’t let unexpected changes stress you out and ruin your day.

9. Learn to say no (Don’t feel guilty)

Single mothers have limitations in time, energy and resources that families with two parents wouldn’t be able to understand. Because of these circumstances, it’s important you let go of feelings of guilt and stop trying to do everything and be everywhere.

You don’t have to say yes to every single birthday party your child is invited to. Your kids don’t have to be involved in sports and extracurricular activities every night of the week.

Limit the things you do to only the ones that are the most enjoyable and meaningful for you and your family. Doing more things does not make you a better mother; simply a more tired one.

10. Live within your means

When you have to raise your family on a single income, budgeting and spending within your means becomes more important than ever.

If you have outstanding debt that is accruing interest, make it a priority to pay those off as soon as possible. Outlining a budget is the best way to visualize how much money is being spent every month on various things and what is left over.

Find ways to save money on the necessities by looking for sales at the grocery store, buying some things secondhand, planning out meals.

After the necessary bills are paid, determine how much can be spent on luxury items such as eating out, vacations, and going to the movies.

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Don’t let finances be a source of anxiety for you and your family. Keep your bank account in good shape while teaching your kids how to spend money responsibly at the same time.

11. Spend quality time with your kids

The time you spend with your kids is so precious and much more limited as a single mother. Make the time that you spend with your kids count.

Rather than sitting in front of the TV, take them on fun and budget-friendly outings to the park, the playground, or a museum. Use meal times as the perfect excuse to ask them about what they are learning in school and the friends they spend time with.

When your kids ask you to play with them, look at it as a privilege and an opportunity to bond with them, rather than a distraction or waste of time. Be present when you are with them, with no work or multitasking on your mind. Your relationship with your kids will absolutely reap the benefits.

Final thoughts

Being a single mother is not an easy job. That’s why it’s important to use all the resources available to you in order to make this job a little bit easier.

Using technology, an organization system and a supportive community are just a few examples of things you should utilize to your benefit. It’s also important to shift your mindset and be more practical when it comes to things like priorities and finances.

Most of all, don’t forget about your own self care. Only when you take care of yourself can you best take care of the people you love.

Single mothers are some of the most hard-working people out there, and you deserve to have a happy and fulfilling life.

Featured photo credit: Alvaro Reyes via unsplash.com

Reference

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