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Month 5

Halfway there! If you are wondering "halfway to what," there's a chance that you have developed one of mid-pregnancy's more common side effects: pregnancy brain. Many women experience forgetfulness beginning in their fifth month, with pregnancy hormones most likely to blame for temporary cognitive changes. Something you probably won't forget this month? A chance to see your baby! Routine prenatal care typically includes an in-depth ultrasound scan to check on the development of your baby's heart and other organs, as they are are now all visible.

Your Baby

Your baby's skin is now less transparent, but since it will be exposed to many more months of life in the watery womb, a whitish coating called vernix caseosa begins to form on the skin's surface for added protection. The cheese-like coating is usually shed just before birth.

Other changes and developments in your baby by the end of five months include:

  • Fine hair (lanugo) covers your baby's entire body. It is another form of in utero skin protection. Lanugo hair is shed shortly before and after birth.
  • Hair may begin to grow from the scalp.
  • Your baby measures about 7 1/2 inches from crown to rump, and weighs approximately 11 ounces.

Your Body

This month, and for the rest of your pregnancy, you may begin finding it difficult to sleep through the night because of frequent bathroom visits and difficulty getting comfortable. For more shut-eye, Robert S. Rosenberg, D.O., FCCP, and Medical Director of the Sleep Disorders Center of Prescott Valley, Arizona, recommends drinking plenty of fluids during the day, but avoiding excessive fluid intake within 2 hours of bedtime. He also encourages women to sleep on their left side. "Sleeping on your side relieves pressure on your back, increases blood flow to the placenta and uterus, and by decreasing pressure on your inferior vena cava vein may prevent varicosities and nocturnal cramping," he advises.

Other changes you can expect?

  • In preparation for milk production after birth, your breasts might begin to leak a yellowish pre-milk fluid called colostrum.
  • As your uterus stretches in size and grows heavier, your center of gravity shifts. It is common to experience mild back pain during the second trimester as you change your posture to accommodate for your newly protruding tummy.
  • Heartburn is more frequent as your uterus presses against your gastrointestinal tract.
  • Your uterus is now the size of a honeydew melon and stretches to your belly button.

Your appetite may also pick up steam in your fifth month. For normal-weight women, gaining about one pound per week during the second and third trimesters is considered optimal for baby's growth and the health of your pregnancy.

Things to Start Thinking About

Choosing a pediatrician: Have you started looking for your baby's primary care doctor yet? The relatively quiet stretch of the second trimester is often the perfect time to start this search. "During your fifth month of pregnancy is a good time to choose a healthcare provider for your baby—one way to do this is by talking to your friends and ask them if they are happy with the health care provider," advises Lizellen La Follette, M.D., OB-GYN at Marin General Hospital in Greenbrae, Calif.

Are ultrasounds safe? Also called sonograms, ultrasounds rely on sound wave technology to create a two-dimensional image of your baby. A routine part of prenatal care for the past few decades, ultrasound/sonography has proven itself to be a useful and low-risk tool in evaluating fetal well-being. The ultrasound typically performed during the second trimester examines and measures key bones and organs. An accurate sonogram can indicate healthy growth or potential developmental problems. Ultrasounds are most often performed between the 18th and 22nd weeks of pregnancy because all your baby's organs are visible by then.


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