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!
You should be feeling much better this month and you’ll get some face time with your little one – hooray! Here’s everything you need to know about the fifth month of pregnancy, including:
- What to expect during weeks 17, 18, 19, 20 of pregnancy
- Common symptoms during the fifth month of pregnancy
- Emotions during month five of pregnancy
- To-do list in the fifth month of pregnancy
- Self-care during month five of pregnancy
- Your partner during the fifth month of pregnancy
Pregnancy 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 fat is starting to accumulate on its tiny body (which is five and a half to six 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 couldn’t 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.
Pregnancy 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 six and a half inches from crown to rump and weighs about 10 ounces. Have you been dying to find out whether you should paint the nursery blue or pink? The big day has finally arrived! Between 18 and 22 weeks, you should be able to find out the sex during your ultrasound (if you haven’t already found out through non-invasive prenatal testing or another genetic test). At this point, a girl’s uterus is fully formed and a boy’s testicles are starting to descend.
Common symptoms during the fifth month of pregnancy
This month, you might experience:
- Increased appetite
- Heartburn and indigestion
- Bloating and gas
- Faintness or dizziness
- Fetal movement
- Leg cramps
- Varicose veins
- Stretch marks
- Breasts up to two cup sizes bigger
- Spider nevi (temporary red marks on face, shoulders and arms)
- Bleeding gums
- Blocked nose
- Increased vaginal discharge
Emotions during the fifth month of pregnancy
You’re probably feeling better than you have in months and your outlook is likely to be more positive too. Enjoy it before the fatigue returns in the third trimester! If you’re struggling to find joy in anything at the moment, talk to your doctor about how you’re feeling.
What to do during the fifth month of pregnancy
Try to knock these tasks off your to-do list to this month:
- Attend your anatomy scan between 18 and 22 weeks. The sonographer will measure your baby and check for any growth or developmental issues. You should be able to find out the sex and take some adorable photos home.
- Did your first-trimester genetic tests come back with an increased risk of a genetic disorder? Your doctor will probably recommend an amniocentesis between 16 and 20 weeks or a quad screen between 15 and 22 weeks to confirm the diagnosis. You may also have to do these tests if you missed your first-trimester tests.
- Book any childbirth, breastfeeding and parenting classes you want to take during your third trimester. You’ll also want to tour your hospital’s maternity ward or your birthing center before the big day, so schedule that too.
- If you want a doula to support you during childbirth and the postpartum period, you should meet with a few candidates until you find one that you connect with.
- Now is also a good time to interview pediatricians to find the right fit for your family. Don’t be afraid to ask them where they stand on issues such as co-sleeping, circumcision and vaccines.
- You should start taking an iron supplement around week 20 to prevent anemia.
- Low blood pressure is common during pregnancy. It can cause you to feel dizzy, so get up slowly from a lying or sitting position.
- Hello, aches and pains! The hormone relaxin loosens your ligaments in preparation for childbirth, but it can cause your joints and ligaments to ache. You might also suffer from sciatica, a sharp pain that shoots down the back of your legs. To combat these annoying aches, stretch and do gentle forms of exercise such as yoga or Pilates.
- You’re not dreaming – your teeth do feel looser due to the relaxin that’s flooding your body. They’ll go back to normal after pregnancy, but see your dentist if you have any concerns.
Self-care during the fifth month of pregnancy
Put those feet up, mama! If you’re the type who’s always on the go, you’ll have to teach yourself to slow down and rest as much as possible. This skill will come in handy when you have a newborn and you need to squeeze in downtime whenever you can.
But staying active is also important for a healthy pregnancy and a positive mindset. Aim for 30 minutes of swimming, walking, yoga or another form of moderate exercise every day.
Your partner during the fifth month of pregnancy
The 20-week anatomy scan is one of the most important milestones of your pregnancy, so try to organize for your partner to be there if they can. You’ll see your baby on screen, hear its heartbeat and find out if you’re having a boy or a girl (if you want to!). Your baby will suddenly feel very real!
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