18 weeks pregnant

18 weeks

Dear mom,

I’m getting ready for some action this week, and pretty soon, you’ll be able to feel it. Right now, I’m about the size of a sweet potato. With my limbs and joints in place, I’m having a blast kicking, punching, flexing, twisting and rolling. I’m also hiccupping and yawning – which you’ll also be able to feel soon enough. Did I mention my toe and fingerprints are now complete (and totally unique to me)? If you’re having a girl, this week my uterus and fallopian tubes will also in place. If you’re having a boy, my genitals should be easier to spot during your ultrasound, but don’t be surprised if I still hide them from you.

Now that your morning sickness has (hopefully) disappeared, by this point your appetite may have come roaring back. Just remember – try and eat healthy (fruits, vegetables, whole grains) when you can and skip the junk (chips, fried foods, candy). Although you want to gain weight during pregnancy, the kind you gain from junk food is the kind that’ll be harder to lose once I’m born. Are you feeling a little achy right now? Try lying down and sleeping on your side. Lying on your back can decrease blood flow through your body, as your expanding uterus can put the squeeze on a major vein in your body. The other major culprit of aches and pains is those ever-pesky hormones. This time around, they’re trying loosen up your joints in prep for birth; which can send your muscles and ligaments for a loop. Take a nice, relaxing bath and clear your mind while soothing away those pains.

The same hormone that’s relaxing your muscles is also relaxing the stomach valve that keeps acid out of your esophagus. In addition, your expanding uterus is pushing around your stomach. As a result, many women suffer from heartburn during pregnancy – in fact, it’s said that the more hair your baby has, the stronger your heartburn might be. In general, as a younger woman, you’ve probably never experienced it before. The good news is there are a few things you can do to combat heartburn. For one, go back to those small meals you were eating when morning sickness was rocking your body. Eat them slowly, and try sipping a glass of water while you’re eating. Keep the stomach acid at bay by standing or talking a walk after dinner – lying down will only make it easier for your body to start churning up that acid. Finally, watch what you eat. Spicy or greasy foods are more likely to cause heartburn. Your best bet is to avoid them while pregnant.

Did I ever tell you how proud I am of you? You’re doing great – we’re almost halfway through our 40 weeks together. “No language can express the power and beauty and heroism of a mother’s love.” – Edwin H. Chapin (Preacher and Poet)