In weeks 18-22 of your pregnancy, you may:
Feel gentle bumps or fluttering when your baby moves – enjoy the experience and start talking to your baby; he or she can hear you and will eventually recognize your voice.
Notice that your waistline is disappearing – your uterus is approximately your navel. It is normal to have mixed feelings about the changes in your body.
Notice stretch marks – on your abdomen, breasts, and hips and / or a dark line running from the top to the bottom of your abdomen. These changes to your skin will fade after pregnancy.
Feel pain in your lower abdomen on one or both sides – ligaments around your uterus are stretching. Try rising slowly, avoid quick changes of position, squat to pick things up and bend toward the pain to relieve it. Relaxation exercises can also be helpful.
Have frequent, vivid or unusual dreams. This is common for some women.
I am nine to twelve inches long and weigh one pound and my hair is starting to grow. I have a waxy substance called vernix on my skin to protect it from water. I have regular sleep and wake cycles.
Start planning for your childcare needs.
For more information about quality providers near you, greatstarttoquality.org or call 1-877-614-7328, You can also find more resources here at Healthy Futures.
Eat a balanced healthy diet including plenty of fiber.
The Institute of Medicine report recommends 28 grams of fiber per day. Dietary fiber can be found in bran, whole grains, fruits, vegetables, legumes, seeds, and nuts. If your current fiber intake is much lower than that, you may want to slowly add up to five grams per week until you reach the recommended amount. Remember that fluids are even more important with increased fiber. Check your food labels for information on fiber content.
Walk around and stretch every 1-2 hours.
Especially if your job involves long periods of inactivity.
Keep wearing your seatbelt.
But remember place the lap belt below your abdomen.
Sign up for prenatal classes.
The information in these classes can help you have a healthier pregnancy and prepare you and your spouse / partner for birth, breastfeeding and postpartum. They can also be a lot of fun and are a chance to make new friends who are going through pregnancies at the same time. Classes fill up fast, so don’t delay. Find childbirth classes near you.
If you haven’t already – it’s never too late to quit smoking. Did you know nearly every past-smoker has had to quit many times before giving up the habit for good? Don’t quit quitting! It’s okay to seek out support. Contact Michigan’s smoking quit-line for help at 1-800-QUIT-NOW.
Make sure your relationship is safe.
Pregnancy is a wonderful time for many families but it can be a struggle for some women. Sadly, for some women pregnancy mark the beginning or an increase in abuse. Warning signs for an abusive relationship include:
- Being afraid for your safety when your partner gets angry
- Being treated roughly: being hit or shoved
- Being told that it is your fault when you are treated roughly
No one has the right to express their anger by hurting you or any other person. If you are in an abusive relationship make a plan to move to a safe place for you and your baby.
- Pack a suitcase to hide or store with a friend
- Keep important items in a safe place to take with you (medications, social security card, money, driver’s license, insurance card)
- Know where you can get safe shelter on short notice
- Tell others how you were hurt (health care provider, counselor, police)
Physical abuse is a crime. There are many people in your community who can help you. For help, 24 hours a day, call 1-800-554-4972. You can also visit the Women’s Resource Center’s website.
Questions to Ask your Health Care Provider
Keep a list of questions you’d like to ask your health provider. It is normal to have many questions and concerns. Here are a few important topics you may want to discuss at this point in your pregnancy.
1. Weight Gain
Recommendations for weight gain vary depending on your starting weight. Ask your health care provider how much you should expect to gain.
2. Prenatal Vitamins, Medications and Herbal Remedies
Many medications and herbal remedies should not be taken during pregnancy.
3. Seafood and Freshwater Fish
Some fish may have trace amounts of mercury, which can affect your baby’s development.
Your Healthy Futures Nurse is also here for you. Contact your Healthy Futures nurse if you have any questions or concerns.