- Is about the size of a baked potato — five-and-a-half inches long.
- Has actual cute little ears and working ear bones and can hear sounds through the amniotic fluid — similar to how things sound to you underwater.
- Is moving, moving, moving. The baby is still small enough that you may not feel every kick and punch yet, but the movements will start getting less “bubble-like” and more “holy crap, that was totally a foot” pretty soon, if they aren’t already.
- May notice some dizziness from time to time, especially if you stand up too quickly or go too many hours without a good snack. Try to stay hydrated and remember to eat every few hours — good stuff like yogurt, nuts, fruits, veggies and cheese. Empty calories like chips and junk food will just make the dizziness worse, not better.
- Might be getting a little uncomfortable at night. The best sleeping position for pregnancy is on your side (when you lie on your back you compress the blood flow to your uterus), but as your pelvis changes and your abdomen gets heavier this can get awfully hard on your hips and legs. Try sleeping with a small pillow between your knees or lower thighs — I finally grabbed a small decorative pillow from our bed and found it made all the difference in the world without taking up too much room or making me feel too hot at night like regular pillows or those full-body maternity pillows did last time. (While very comfortable, trying to roll over with one of those big things was just a giant exercise in AWK-WARD.)
- Oh, and let’s discuss our bladders too. You might soon find yourself at that lovely stage when you just can’t seem to fully empty your bladder in a single bathroom run. I don’t know whether there’s just something baby-related blocking the exit or what, but I pee and then stand up and realize that I STILL have to pee. I remember hitting this point last time and using a trick Heather Armstrong described at Dooce — lean allllll the way forward while peeing, with your torso as parallel to the floor as you can manage. It really works, and now every time I pee I wonder how any woman ever managed to make it through pregnancy without the Internet.
At some point between 18 and 20 weeks, you’ll probably have an ultrasound. While more and more of us are getting at least one first-trimester ultrasound these days, the big midway-point ultrasound is still the first glimpse a lot of women get of their babies. (Midway-point. Really. We’re practically there, oh. Mygod.)
There really are a slew of medical reasons for this ultrasound since the baby’s organs are clearly visible and many medical issues and potential problems can be spotted, but of course, the Big Reason many of us get super jazzed about the ultrasound is because of the Big Reveal of the baby’s sex.
(Side note to everybody everywhere who talks about this ever: Sex is biological, as in male and female and X and Y chromosomes. Gender is a social construct of what constitutes feminine vs. masculine behavior. Therefore, you are learning the baby’s sex, not its gender. Thank you. Love, Amy’s Explody Head.)
The thing is…you’ll be surprised at 18 weeks, or 20, or 40. If you love the mystery and the wait, then this is by far the biggest and most exciting mystery you’ll ever wait for. If you cannot stand not knowing as much as possible about this baby, knowing the sex can play a huge role in your prenatal bonding. I was hugely surprised last time at 19 weeks, and this time I’m feeling more and more like I’ll be getting another surprise at 20. Or maybe this baby will be modest and we’ll get our surprise at 40 weeks. There’s no real wrong answer here, provided that everything is healthy and fine and this little boy or girl stays put until he or she is fully cooked, amen.