THE FIFTH MONTH (Weeks 17-20)
Are you feeling some pregnancy aches and pains this month? Not a surprise. Your baby is on a growth spurt in the fifth month of pregnancy and your abdomen is stretching to accommodate her.
At the end of the this month, you’re half-way through pregnancy! You might be excited by that or have mixed feelings. In general, your energy should be higher than the first trimester and you should start to be seeing that pregnancy “glow” that people talk about. Let’s see what else is going on this month.
What Happens with Your Baby in the Fifth Month of Pregnancy
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By the end of this month your baby will be 8-12 inches long and could weigh up to a pound.
Your baby is developing the thick white substance called vernix that will cover his body until birth to protect his thin skin from the amniotic fluid. Your baby’s bones and muscles are developed now and she can stretch, yawn, and make facial expressions.
She can also kick as well as move around, twisting and turning. You should be able to feel her little kicks and turns by now.
She’s also sleeping and waking, probably on a fairly regular schedule. Your baby is also developing his or her unique fingerprints.
If your baby is a boy, his testicles are descending. If your baby is a girl, her uterus is fully formed and she has eggs in her ovaries.
What Happens with Your Body in the Fifth Month of Pregnancy
Your uterus is now the size of a cantaloupe, and you are probably wearing maternity clothes. The ligaments in your abdomen are stretching and you may be seeing stretch marks. If you’re not yet using a stretchmark cream, now’s the time to start!
In addition to aches in your abdomen, you may be getting leg cramps, mild swelling in your feet and ankles and backaches. To relieve these discomforts, consider investing in a pregnancy pillow and maternity cradle. These discomforts get increasingly more troublesome as pregnancy progresses. A pregnancy pillow and pelvic support will help you sleep better through the rest of your pregnancy and feel less pain.
You may also find that you’re especially hungry this month. Some women will want to eat everything in sight, others will be coping with pregnancy cravings, while others are slowed by heartburn or indigestion.
On the upside, your hair and nails are probably stronger and healthier than they ever have been. Treat yourself to a manicure or pedicure with pregnancy-safe nail polish and enjoy the benefits of this month.
What You Need to Know in Your Fifth Month of Pregnancy
Even though you’re likely to feel like you’re hungry all the time this month, it’s important not to go overboard with snacking or giving into unhealthy cravings. Of course, you should gain weight during pregnancy, but too much can be unhealthy for your and baby. Try to follow the guidelines for what to eat when pregnant and avoid using “eating for two” as an excuse for sweets or junk food.
If you have frequent foot or leg cramps, adding a prenatal calcium-magnesium supplement can help.
Your doctor can probably tell the sex of your baby by ultrasound now. Do you want to know? Knowing your baby’s gender can make preparing easier, but some parents still want to do things the old-fashioned way and be surprised.
Now is a good time to start setting up the nursery. You still have plenty of energy for planning and shopping. Make sure that you leave the painting to someone else—you should stay far away from any and all harmful fumes. Fortunately, there are a lot of low-VOC (volatile organic compounds) paints now available that are a healthier choice for your baby. But you should still avoid climbing a ladder, so let someone else paint.
Read More About the Different Months in Pregnancy:
- First Month
- Second Month
- Third Month
- Fourth Month
- Fifth Month
- Sixth Month
- Seventh Month
- Eighth Month
- Ninth Month