Your pregnancy: month 5

Your baby is growing rapidly and, in exciting news, you may finally feel those first tiny “butterfly flutters” as your little one rolls around inside!


Weeks 17 and 18

Your baby is the size of a: sweet potato

Feeling heavy? Your baby has doubled in weight in the past two weeks and body fat is starting to accumulate on its tiny body (which is 5 1/2 to 6 inches long). The heart is now controlled by the brain and beating 140 to 150 times per minute. The ears are working well too – your baby might even be startled by loud noises such as an ambulance driving past.

What was that flutter? You could start feeling movement any day now. Your baby has developed a bunch of new skills, including yawning, sucking, swallowing and distinguishing certain flavors. Bright lights could start to irritate its sensitive eyes and your little one could even get the hiccups! The nervous system is also up and running.

Your tummy is bulging now and your appetite is out of control. If you weren’t able to eat much during your first trimester, now’s the time to catch up on your weight gain. But don’t forget to follow a healthy pregnancy diet to ensure your baby gets all the nutrients it needs.

Weeks 19 and 20

Your baby is the size of a: large mango

A greasy white protective coating known as vernix caseosa has started to form on your baby’s skin to protect it from shriveling like a prune in the amniotic fluid, but it will disappear before birth. With limbs that are now proportionate and signals firing between the brain and muscles, your tiny dancer could be sashaying up a storm in there.

By week 20, you’re halfway through your pregnancy – hurray! Your baby is about 6 1/2 inches from head to bottom and weighs about 10 ounces. Have you been dying to find out whether you should paint the nursery blue or pink? The day has finally arrived! Between 18 and 22 weeks, you should be able to find out the sex during your ultrasound. At this point, a girl’s uterus is fully formed and a boy’s testicles are starting to descend.

Common symptoms:

  • Increased appetite
  • Heartburn and indigestion
  • Bloating and gas
  • Constipation
  • Faintness or dizziness
  • Fetal movement
  • Backaches
  • Headaches
  • Leg cramps
  • Varicose veins
  • Stretch marks
  • Breasts up to two cup sizes bigger
  • Spider nevi (temporary red marks on face, shoulders and arms)
  • Swelling
  • Bleeding gums
  • Blocked nose
  • Increased vaginal discharge

Tips of the month: Low blood pressure is normal during pregnancy, but it could cause you to feel dizzy, so get up slowly when lying down or sitting. If your joints are aching, blame the hormone relaxin, which loosens your ligaments in preparation for childbirth. Hormones can also make your teeth loose, but this resolves after pregnancy. If you have gum disease, however, see your dentist.