The human foetus in the amniotic sac at 18 weeks. At this stage measuring approximately 14 centimetres, the foetus can now perceive sounds from the outside world.

Week 18

Mum

Stretch marks are a badge of honour, but if you’re not keen on them, have a look at the range of moisturising creams available at the pharmacy. While they’re not miracle cures, they do make your skin more supple, and may help keep stretch marks at bay. As your breasts grow with the pregnancy, you may also switch to more supportive bras – both for greater physical comfort and in the hope of preventing stretch marks. Oh, and yes, they do fade in time, so don’t worry if you do develop a few lines.

Dad

You may want to create a separate bank account for things like baby clothes, baby’s room, sound monitor and breast pump. If you start putting away some money from every pay cheque, the expenses won’t hit you as hard in week 36. Furthermore, consider whether there are any luxury items you’re willing to forgo, and transfer that money into the baby fund. (Perhaps that new squash racket can wait – do you seriously think you’re going to have time for squash in the next five years?)

Baby

Myelin, an insulating sheet, is beginning to grow around your nerve fibres, and this will continue until your first birthday. In addition to its protective nature, it also helps neural impulses travel faster. If you’re a girl, your uterus and fallopian tubes are complete now. If you’re a boy, it’s possible to see your genitals. You are as big as a capsicum!

Photos in the bumpandbaby.co.nz/week-by-week/ are by Lenart Nilsson. Lenart's series was bought to fame when his photo, considered the greatest photo of the 20th century, appeared on the cover of Life magazine in 1965. “Everyone interprets images differently, depending on their social, cultural and religious background. In the digital era, I believe it is more important than ever to go back and take a look inside ourselves. What better way of doing that than with these photos?” ~ Jane Stene, art gallery director and curator of Lenart's definitive black and white series, told the The Guardian in 2019. It is Lenart Nilsson's wish that his images are never used for political debate about pro-life.

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