18 Weeks of Pregnancy | Second Trimester | Fetal Stage

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At 18 weeks of pregnancy, the placenta and umbilical cord are now fully developed [1]. Over the next month, fetal movements will become strong enough that you regularly notice them [2].

As ossification (bone formation) continues, the fetal bones are now visible by ultrasonography [3]. Ears stick outward from the fetus’s head and can now hear sounds [3,4]. Your fetus can hear loud noises and noises from within your body, such as your heartbeat and your stomach [4].

Visually, the fetus’s head is more proportional to its body, and its legs have lengthened [3].

1. Betts JG, Young KA, Wise JA, Johnson E, Poe B, Kruse DH, et al. 28.2 Embryonic Development. Anatomy & Physiology. Houston: OpenStax; 2013.
2. Betts JG, Young KA, Wise JA, Johnson E, Poe B, Kruse DH, et al. 28.3 Fetal Development. Anatomy & Physiology. Houston: OpenStax; 2013.
3. Moore KL, Persaud TVN, Torchia MG. The Developing Human: Clinically Oriented Embryology. Philadelphia: Elsevier; 2016.
4. Harms R, Wick M, editors. Mayo Clinic Guide to a Healthy Pregnancy. Boston: Da Capo Press; 2011.

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Produced and written by: Samantha Lattof, PhD MSc
Medically reviewed by: Ayodeji Olelakan Abere, MD MBA MHA
Animation by: SciePro / Pond5
Music by: audiomarket / Pond5
Narration by: Ava / Wellsaid


Disclaimer: This content including advice provides generic information only. It is in no way a substitute for a qualified medical opinion. Always consult a specialist or your own doctor for more information.

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