Your Nutrition – Pregnancy Week 18

Your Nutrition – Pregnancy Week 18

Second Trimester


Around pregnancy week 18, you are probably seeing your doctor for another prenatal visit. The nutrition you take at this time is also very important. At this stage, it is best to continue taking key prenatal nutrients, maybe in the form of maternal milk.

Your Nutrients of This Week

Even with a complete and balanced diet, it may be difficult to obtain the necessary amount of important nutrients your body needs through diet alone. The Dietary Reference Intake (DRI) guidelines recommend that you increase your intake of protein, iron, folic acid, vitamins A, B6, B12, and C, zinc, thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, fiber, and more.

Here are some of the key nutrients you need and why they are crucial¹:

Folic Acid
Folic acid helps develop the central nervous system including brain, spinal cord, and other nerve cells and tissues.

Calcium is an integral component of the baby’s bones and teeth and it helps strengthen the circulatory, muscular, and nervous systems.

Iron is needed in blood to help oxygenate all other tissues in the body including brain and muscle cells; it is critical throughout pregnancy.

Your Wellness Tips This Week

Going for another prenatal visit? Here’s what will happen at the doctor’s at 18 weeks pregnant:

  • Your doctor will check your weight, blood pressure, urine, and other vitals.
  • Your doctor might check your uterus and measure the height of your fundus between the 18th week of pregnancy and the 34th week.
  • If you have felt your baby move, let your doctor know when quickening began.
  • Knowing when your baby started moving and the frequency of his kicks can help your doctor do two things. Your doctor can better estimate your baby’s fetal age and better estimate your due date.
  • Depending on your medical history, age, and other information, your doctor might talk to you about amniocentesis around the 18th week of pregnancy, a test that checks for genetic abnormalities, such as Down syndrome.

Your Baby's Development at Week 18

At 18 weeks pregnant, growing is your baby’s number-one priority. Take a look at some of the developmental changes:

  • This week, your baby is about 14 cm long, or about the length of a large tomato.
  • Your baby’s skeleton continues to harden during the 18th week of your pregnancy. His leg bones and inner ear bones are the first to ossify (harden).
  • Your baby now can hear! He might hear your heart beat or your tummy gurgle.
  • He might hear loud sounds outside the womb.

Your Changing Body at Week 17

The good news about the 17th week of pregnancy and beyond is that while your body changes accelerate, early pregnancy symptoms dissipate.

  • By your 17th week of pregnancy, your growing placenta reaches one inch in thickness. Your placenta continues to deliver oxygen and nutrients to your baby and to eliminate waste.
  • You are gaining about one pound a week between the 16th and 20th weeks of pregnancy.
  • When you are around 17 weeks pregnant, your bones, muscles, and joints begin to change to accommodate your growing body.
  • You also might experience backaches, cramps, swollen legs and ankles, and varicose veins.

1 Prenatal Multivitamins, Abbott Family. Available at
* Comparison among all maternal milk in Singapore as of January 2022, as declared on the label.

SG.2022.23687.SMM.1 (v1.1)