What to expect

What’s happening to my baby?

At week 18, your baby is continuing to develop its lungs. It breathes in amniotic fluid which allows air sacs to form, preparing it for its first cries in the outside world. Your baby will swallow some of this too, and this will build up in their intestines to form meconium – a thick, dark substance that will be excreted once your baby is born.

They are now strong and determined enough to move freely around the womb and can even react when they hear a loud noise. Some mothers like to play music to the audience of one (or more) inside them, and they’ll be able to hear this too.

Ultrasounds at this point can pick up physical abnormalities, as well as clearly showing the external sex organs, which are by this stage fully developed. Your baby is now approaching 14cm in length, about the size of a smartphone.

What’s happening to me?

With all the expansion going within your body, you might experience low blood pressure as your heart works to get the blood where it needs to. Take it easy when getting up from sitting or lying down – this can make your head spin.