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18 WEEKS, 1 DAY

153 days to go...

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human fetus and placenta at 18 weeks and 1 day

Your baby today

Anchored to the placenta by the umbilical cord, your baby floats in amniotic fluid. Your uterus provides a warm, protective environment for your baby with lots of room to move in near weightless conditions.

As you approach the halfway mark of your pregnancy, you'll continue to be astounded that there's a baby growing inside you!

The further along the path of pregnancy you are, the more attached and protective you're likely to feel toward your baby. What was once a tiny bundle of cells now looks like an almost fully formed baby-and you will continue to be amazed that you and your partner have made that baby and that this incredible process is happening inside your body.

Once you feel your baby move (see You are 19 Weeks and 3 Days) within the next few weeks, the attachment to him is likely to grow even stronger. While you may have some anxieties at times, try to relax and enjoy your pregnancy-it will be over before you know it.

Focus On... Health

It's all a blur

Water retention in pregnancy can affect the eyes. Both the lens and cornea can become thicker, and there can be an increase in fluid in the eyeball, causing pressure and blurred vision. This usually resolves itself after the birth. Exercising to keep the fluid moving, and avoiding wearing contact lenses can help. Notify your doctor if you have vision problems.

Ask A... Doctor

I have a high-powered career and have hardly had any time to think about the baby since I've been pregnant. Will this stop us from bonding?

Even if you work full time while you're pregnant, this doesn't have to have a negative effect on your relationship with your baby. As your baby grows, you will probably find that you start to develop a relationship with your "belly" as you anticipate your baby's movements and perhaps talk to him. Make sure you plan enough maternity leave before your due date since this gives you time for practical and emotional preparations, as well as time to rest.

There's some evidence to suggest that too much stress in a mother can affect her unborn baby's brain development (see You are 16 Weeks and 3 Days). This highlights the importance of ensuring you have regular opportunities to relax during pregnancy and so, if your work is stressful, maybe this would be a good time to look at your priorities.

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Excerpted from Pregnancy Day by Day.
Copyright © 2009 Dorling Kindersley Limited.
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