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18 WEEKS, 2 DAYS

152 days to go...

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ultrasound of human fetus at 18 weeks and 2 days

Your baby today

The sound of your baby's rapidly moving heart muscle can be detected using a simple handheld listening device-the frequency change it produces is converted into a sound that is easy for you and your doctor to hear.

Although you won't feel it yet, your baby may start to have hiccups at this stage of his development.

At around this time, your baby may start to hiccup. Just like your own, his hiccup is a short, powerful, jerky contraction of his diaphragm, which will last for less than a second.

Hiccups frequently follow each other in rapid succession and are often followed by gentle limb-stretching movements. No one is certain why babies hiccup. Perhaps it's due to the immaturity of the nerves supplying the diaphragm, or else to your baby's small stomach quickly becoming overdistended.

Your baby's ears and eyes are now in their final position on his face. The ears have moved up from the jaw line and the eyes have moved from the side of the head to lie closer together, looking forward. The eyes move beneath the lids but not yet in a coordinated way. He will open them at around 26 weeks.

18 week fetus

Your baby is looking more human and fully formed every day, with well-developed facial features and limbs-and he may even get the hiccups.

Focus On... Nutrition

Not all fat is bad

Many fats are healthy, and should be consumed as part of a heart-healthy diet. The key is to choose healthy fat. For example unsaturated fats, such as those found in olive oil, canola oil, and in nuts and avocados, are good for you and your baby.

Saturated fats, such as those found in butter and whole milk, and trans fats (chemically altered vegetable oils) found in many processed foods, should be kept to a minimum. Substitute good fats for bad fats in your diet:

  • When making a salad dressing or in cooking, choose olive oil or canola oil. Store-bought salad dressings are often high in saturated fat.
  • Eat nuts and avocados, which are full of healthy fats.
  • Eat white meat since it is lower in saturated fat than red meat.

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