Being an expectant mother gives you a rollercoaster of emotions. For moms expecting their first babies, the experience could be both fun and overwhelming. The only sure thing is this: you don’t have to know everything. If you’re curious about all the things you should expect from being 5 months pregnant, read our ultimate FAQ guide.
What Are The Pregnancy Symptoms at 5 Months?
Heartburn and Indigestion
Your body produces the hormone progesterone during pregnancy. It can make food move more slowly throughout your body, which eventually results in indigestion.
“When you’re pregnant, there’s less room for your stomach to expand,” Rachel Brandeis, M.S. explains. This feeling can come with a bloated and gassy feeling as well. While this may be uncomfortable for you, this is good for your baby. The slow digestion allows your baby to absorb nutrients better.
A quick way to treat heartburn is to reach for a piece of sugarless gum right after meals. You would benefit from the increased saliva as it produces acids to help force fluids back to the stomach.
Headaches can have several triggers and can come at any time. The primary suspect for this is, of course, hormonal changes. If your headaches come up when you are overheated or under fluorescent lighting, take breaks outside to catch some fresh air. Do this a few times a day while avoiding clothing with too many layers. Opt for maternity dresses designed to help you stay fresh and cool.
You should expect a disorienting feeling or even vertigo if you’re 5 months pregnant. The reason is that your body is preparing to provide for the needs of two bodies. Perhaps your body still hasn’t produced enough blood for the expanding circulatory system. Heat in the tummy, low blood sugar, pressure from the uterus, and high levels of progesterone can also be triggers.
If you are starting to feel lightheaded, lie down immediately so that you don’t fall or pass out. Then, elevate your feet to encourage blood flow to your brain. Avoid driving, working out intensely, or handling anything which could potentially cause you any harm.
You are prone to suffering from leg cramps during pregnancy, mostly when you are lying down. While normal, this can get in between you and a healthy amount of sleep. Fatigue from pregnancy weight, diet, and compression of the blood vessels can also be the reasons for leg cramps if you are 5 months pregnant.
Try straightening your leg and gently flexing your ankle and toes back toward your shins repeatedly. An ice pack or a prenatal massage can also add relief should gentle stretches be ineffective. Mary Marnach, M.D. suggests that “Regular physical activity might help prevent leg cramps during pregnancy.”
Swelling in Feet and Ankles
Along with your belly, your feet and ankles might also swell, especially if you are 5 months pregnant or father along. This condition is called edema and happens when body fluids accumulate in your tissues. You might also experience this if you have been gaining weight more quickly during your pregnancy. Mild swelling is normal, but you should look out for excessive swelling in other areas of your body accompanied by other symptoms. “The swelling tends to get worse as a woman’s due date nears, particularly near the end of the day and during hotter weather,” Elana Pearl Ben-Joseph, MD adds.
Because this can be annoying and uncomfortable, you can ease your discomfort by doing several measures. For starters, you can avoid standing or sitting for extended periods. If you must sit for a while, then elevate your legs when you can. Avoid tight shoes and socks at all costs. Lastly, hydrate yourself to get rid of excess sodium in your system.
Changes in the Belly Button
At 5 months pregnant, you may be surprised to find that your navel pops out as you go along your pregnancy. A protruding navel may be worrisome at first, but it is a temporary thing. What causes this is your expanding uterus which pushes your abdomen forward.
You can’t avoid this part of your pregnancy. Should it be irritated, however, use a special belly button cover to protect it from rubbing against fabric.
Five months pregnant woman may expect their discharge to increase until delivery. This occurrence is normal since the body is working extra hard to prevent bacteria. If, however, your discharge is yellow or green or foul-smelling, then let your doctor know.
How Should I Look if I’m 5 Months Pregnant?
For most mothers who are 5 months pregnant, belly sizes should already drastically increase. Even at 20 weeks, the appearance of a baby bump varies depending on each woman. Several factors like your build, the number of times you’ve been pregnant, and even your genetics can define how your 5 months pregnant belly is going to look like. If you are worried about your structure, check in with your doctor but try not to overthink. A bump is a bump!
You are carrying more than your normal weight, and there is a change in your center of gravity. As you adjust to your new size, you may start to be a little clumsier. If you’re 5 months pregnant, your joints become loose and muscle coordination slacks off. Along with this adorable baby bump and clumsiness, your appetite will have also grown.
Should you fall over accidentally, don’t worry about your baby. The amniotic sac protects your baby. Your baby getting significantly hurt is unlikely. Still, contact your midwife or doctor to update them about what has happened.
Hair and Nail Growth
Overall, you may start to notice that your nails are becoming stronger and your hair (all over the body) is growing faster than usual. Your hair may also feel thicker and fuller. For this, you have your pregnancy hormones to thank for since they trigger a surge in circulation, delivering extra nutrients to your hair and nail cells.
Though your nail may grow longer, they can also become dry and weak because of pregnancy hormones again. You may also want to bask in your luscious locks since your good hair days might see its end after you give birth. After labor, the normal daily hair loss will return to its natural course.
What Foods Should I Eat?
Being 5 months pregnant might make you want to eat for twice or thrice your normal appetite per day. It is entirely normal to be in the so-called hunger zone at this point because you’re already way past the phase of having constant nausea and food aversions.
Before you dive right into whatever meal your heart wants, consider some reminders first. The grazing approach to eating might still be the best way to feed you and your baby. It does not only help you prevent second-trimester tummy issues, but it also makes sure your baby is receiving a steady number of calories.
Aside from moderating your eating, make sure that you choose healthy foods. You should see your growing belly and the additional pounds as a miracle. If you’re 5 months pregnant, you should be gaining about a pound per week. Make sure you gain weight from the healthiest foods you can choose. These will not only nourish your baby but will also make it easier for you to go back to your pre-baby body eventually.
Take a look at some of the recommended foods for your needed nutrients:
Iron carries oxygen around the body. If your diet lacks iron, it may cause anemia which increases complications like premature birth and postpartum depression.
Here are the common sources of iron:
– Well cooked lean meat and oily fish
– Dark green vegetables
– Chickpeas, beans, lentils
– Dried fruits
Women who are 5 months pregnant should consume the recommended calcium dietary allowance of 1,000 mg. Calcium is necessary in the formation of teeth and bones. It also enables the muscles, nerves, and circulatory system to work correctly.
Calcium-rich foods include the following:
– White beans
– Sardines and salmon
– Calcium-rich fruit juices and breakfast cereals
This vitamin helps the baby develop strong bones and teeth. Consume about 600 IU a day if you are 5 months pregnant. Our body can make vitamin D from sun exposure. It should be enough for the body’s normal needs.
Unfortunately, many natural foods do not contain Vitamin D. Instead, they are available in fortified foods like cereal and milk. You can also opt for vitamin D supplements if you do not live in a sunny area. Some food sources also include the following:
– Fatty fish (salmon, fresh tuna, mackerel)
– Fish liver oils
– Beef liver
– Egg yolks
– Fortified juices and other drinks
– Foods to avoid
What Foods Should I Avoid?
At 5 months pregnant, you should start to be more conscious of the foods you should avoid for your health. The following is a simple list of food you should stay away from:
– Carbonated drinks – These types of drinks contain a hefty amount of unhealthy calories, sugar, and caffeine. Instead of reaching out for carbonated beverages, go for safe, fresh fruit juices or a lemon/lime water.
– Certain fruits and vegetables – Women who are 5 months pregnant must avoid fruits like pineapple, papayas, or pomegranate. These fruits are known to cause uterine contractions which can lead to miscarriages if too severe. Also, avoid black grapes as they build up heat in your body. On the other hand, vegetables like lettuce, cabbage, and eggplant are known to carry food-borne illnesses for pregnant women.
– Raw fish – It’s time to take a break from your favorite sushi or sashimi. Sometimes, these contain bacteria called Listeria monocytogenes. These cause listeriosis which leads to stillbirths, miscarriages, or diseases in newborns.
– Fish with high mercury (shark, swordfish, king mackerel) – When consumed, mercury converts to methylmercury inside the body. It is a neurotoxin which can cause brain damage and developmental delays in babies. Instead of these types of fish, opt for salmon or a light-meat tuna.
– Raw or undercooked eggs and meat – Make sure the eggs and meat in your diet are always well-cooked. Raw eggs contain Salmonella, a bacteria known to cause food poisoning. It will not necessarily harm your baby, but it will weaken your immune system. A weakened immune system might hurt your baby’s development in the long run.
– Fatty food – You might be craving pizzas or French fries, but don’t let the craving take over. You should stay away from eating fattening foods and canned food. An abnormal weight gain may lead to unwanted complications throughout your pregnancy.
– Alcohol – There is simply no safe time to drink alcohol at any point in your pregnancy. It may cause several issues for the baby’s development, such as abnormal facial features.
– Excess caffeine – Too much caffeine during pregnancy can cause you to be restless. Worse, your babies will also experience sleeplessness after they are born. Chocolate, coffee, and tea all contain caffeine, so it is best to avoid them altogether. If you are unable to completely cut them out of your diet, reduce intake as much as you can.
Research shows that mothers who eat frequently, about six to seven meals and/or snacks per day, are more likely to carry to term. So, if your pregnancy hunger hits you, answer it guiltlessly. Eat as much as you want; however, do it a little at a time.
How Does My Baby Look Like if I’m Already 5 Months Pregnant?
If you’re 5 months pregnant, your baby should weigh about 360 g and should almost be 26.7 cm long, about the size of an average carrot. Capillaries are starting to form under your baby’s skin, turning it from pink to red slowly. They will also grow thicker eyebrows and develop a more distinct lip.
Additionally, if you’re 5 months pregnant, your baby will have already developed about 10 billion nerve cells. The communication between these cells will largely determine your child’s intelligence. However, the development of the brain and internal organs will continue until the baby is born.
By now, the skin on your baby has already become sensitive to touch. Your baby will also begin to respond to light and sound. Taste buds will start to develop, and ultrasounds may reflect your baby hiccupping or yawning.
Your baby can also hear your voice more clearly by now and can even try to make out your partner’s voice too. Mothers who are 5 months pregnant should take more time in talking, reading, and singing to their babies. Doing so is a sure way to start bonding even before your baby is born.
At this point, your baby should already look like a newborn. However, there is still quite a long way to go as there are still a few more months of growing to do.
Since your baby already has relative strength, expect your baby’s movements to be stronger. At times, you may even feel quite a punch in your tummy as your baby moves. Once these moves are consistent, 5 months pregnant mothers may start to observe their baby’s sleeping and waking phases through their movements.
Can I Already Know My Baby’s Gender?
Mothers who are 5 months pregnant are already at the perfect time to find out whether their baby is a girl or a boy. Talk to your partner if you already want to find out your baby’s gender. Some couple might wait a little longer, while some may even choose not to know the gender at all.
Can a Baby Already Survive Outside the Womb at 5 Months?
Unfortunately, babies that are prematurely born if you are 5 months pregnant have little to no chance of surviving. While some babies were able to live in a few cases, the chances are still against this. Should this happen, extensive medical attention is necessary. The baby must be under monitoring and receive several medical interventions.
What Complications Should I Look Out for on My Second Trimester?
At 5 months pregnant, most mothers feel at their best. Usually, minor issues like nausea and vomiting get resolved quickly. The risk of miscarriages is also considerably lower for women who are 5 months pregnant. The pain and contractions are still far away at this point.
Despite the drop in serious risks, there are still a few complications that can occur.
A miscarriage will be much less common if you’re 5 months pregnant, but it can still happen. The first warning sign is vaginal bleeding. Factors like uterine septum, incompetent cervix, autoimmune diseases, or chromosomal abnormalities of the fetus can cause miscarriages during the second trimester.
Sometimes, bleeding may not indicate a miscarriage. It could also mean early labor, issues with the placenta, or placental abruption.
Any labor occurring before the 38th week of pregnancy is preterm labor. What causes this can be anything, from bladder infections or smoking to chronic health conditions. Risk factors for preterm labors can also be from a previous preterm birth, twin pregnancies or multiple pregnancies, and excessive amniotic fluid.
Symptoms of preterm labor may be indistinct. Look out for signs like vaginal pressure, low back pain, frequent urination, diarrhea, or tightness in the lower abdomen. Medications to prevent preterm labor can include magnesium sulfate, corticosteroids, or tocolytics. If the doctor cannot stop the preterm labor, you will receive steroid medication. It will help your baby’s lungs avoid disease.
Preterm Premature Rupture of Membranes (PPROM)
It is normal for your membranes to break during labor. You often call this “your water breaking.” When the amniotic sac protecting the baby breaks too early, preterm premature rupture of membranes (PPROM) happen. Fortunately, with the proper intensive care service, most preterm babies do very well.
Cervix is the tissue responsible for connecting the vagina and the uterus. In some cases, the cervix is not able to withstand the pressure from the growing uterus. The increasing pressure can cause the cervix to weaken and even open before the ninth month.
When the cervix thins or opens, it can cause the membranes to rupture. Early delivery of an extremely premature fetus can also happen. Usually, this is a serious risk if you are 5 months pregnant. At this time, the fetus is still not ready to survive outside of the uterus, and often, you cannot save the baby in this case.
Treatment for this is limited. An emergency stitch around the cervix (cerclage) can prevent the possibility of membranes rupturing. If the cervix is dilated, then the risk is higher. You will need long bed rest after this treatment.
This complication occurs when you have high blood pressure, excessive edema (swelling), or proteinuria (a large amount of protein in the urine). Preeclampsia affects all the systems in the body, including the placenta. Symptoms for this can include rapid swelling of the legs, hands, or face. You must call your doctor immediately if this happens with other symptoms like loss of vision, severe pain, easy bruising, or constant headache.
Always check in with your doctor even when you are not experiencing any adverse symptoms. Regular check-ups will keep you updated about your baby’s health and yours to avoid future problems.
What Other Things Should I Know if I’m 5 Months Pregnant?
Almost halfway through your pregnancy, you may want to start thinking about what type of birth you would like. If you are worried about interventions, you may prefer giving birth in a midwife-led unit or consider other options like home birth. Planning will ensure that you minimize last-minute concerns.
You may also benefit from using warm water to help alleviate pain from contractions more effectively. You may want to explore the possibilities of having a water birth or incorporating a pool as part of your delivery. If you are 5 months pregnant and your pregnancy is going well, having a water birth should be safe for you and your baby. As always, consult with your midwife about options for you.
However, take note that if you want access to pain relief and if you are undergoing complications, the best choice is to give birth in a hospital. You will be in safer hands as doctors can quickly fix any complications that may arise during labor.
It is easy to become stiff if you spend almost the whole day sitting on your job or sitting anywhere. Take a five- to ten-minute break at least once every hour. You can take a short walk down the corridor or do variations of some standing stretches. If you are stuck sitting and you are unable to get up, try extending your leg and flexing your feet while wiggling your toes. Take deep breaths while you do these as well. Flex your neck from side to side occasionally too.
However, be wary when stretching or engaging in light exercise. Your pregnancy may cause you to loosen your ligaments, so be conscious whenever you’re exercising. If even a slight movement hurts, stop whatever it is you are doing. Even if a movement does not hurt you, do not try to do extreme exercises or positions.
Establishing a Support System
Establishing a group of supportive friends is vital to a woman’s health, especially true for pregnant mothers or new moms. Almost all women experience baby blues, and building supportive friendships can ease the experience. At this stage, you may feel even more stressed compared to earlier months. Look for community groups or Facebook pages for pregnant mothers if you want to receive extra tips or support from fellow expectant moms.
As pregnant moms, do not be pressured to feel like you have to know everything about being pregnant. The human body is complicated enough as it is. Given that there is another body growing inside you, the complexity significantly heightens. Remember not to be too tough on yourself. Involve your partner in your entire journey so that you have someone to share the load with.
Involving your partner and seeking community groups will give you the tips you need. There are several mom blogs or YouTube pages you can follow to guide you. Here at Preggy To Mommy, you can know the real-life experiences of fellow moms. You’re not alone in this!
What Should Be on My To-Do List if I’m 5 Months Pregnant?
– Pain Relief – At 5 months, you may start noticing that the simplest movements make you feel very uncomfortable. Start looking for an
efficient way to sit and stand up without hurting your joints too much.
– Bodily Accessories – Always ask your doctor if wearing piercings, coloring your hair, or doing any other beauty treatments is safe for you and your baby.
– Anomaly Scans – Mothers who are 5 months pregnant may schedule an anomaly scan any time within the month. Anomaly scans will show you how your baby is growing. It will also check the position and the health status of your placenta. If there are any visible issues with your baby’s developments, anomaly scans will also be able to reflect it.
– UTI Treatment – You will be more prone to urinary tract infection at this point, so get the needed facts on how to treat them. Doing this will help you ease your discomfort and prevent further infections down the road.
– Baby Registry- Being 5 months pregnant is the ideal time to start creating a baby registry because you may already know your baby’s gender. Research on all the items you will need so that you’re ready.
– Nursery Decoration – Once you’re sure about the baby’s gender, start decorating your nursery or look for designers if you have the budget.
– Work Leave – Start talking about maternity leave with your boss or coworkers.
Being 5 months pregnant is a different experience for every mom. There are too many changes happening inside and outside of your body. Indeed, there’s a lot to know, a lot to do, and a lot to avoid. But with proper help, you are sure to be as ready as you can be. Remember that raising another human inside your body is a miracle. Good luck on the rest of your journey!