What’s it like?

It might be hard to believe but here you are, 5 months pregnant! You are now half way through with your pregnancy. If your unborn baby did not start moving last month or it was moving imperceptibly, you will definitely feel him or her this month! And your ultrasounds may be more rewarding, because your baby’s hands and legs will be visible and almost perfectly shaped. Overall, this is a calm month and can be one of the most rewarding of the whole pregnancy.

Your baby’s growth nerve cells

Your baby’s brain now has about 10 billion nerve cells. It’s an impressive total, but this is only the beginning. The brain will continue to grow, snowballing. The wiring of the brain will continue to develop up to birth, and afterwards, outside the womb. This on-going process continues throughout childhood and into adolescence. How those nerve cells communicate with each other will help determine the baby’s intelligence. Stimulation is key, and as a parent you can play a key role after baby’s birth through love, education and minimizing the amount of television the baby watches.

Increasing weight
From the 5th month of pregnancy, your baby begins to gain weight because of fat deposits. His or her body is preparing for the difficult birth process, and fat is needed for protection.

Protective coating
Starting this month, your baby will be wrapped in a white oily substance that acts as a protective barrier against infections. This liquid is present on your baby’s skin even at birth, but the amount will be less compared to when it was in your belly. The immune system is also starting to develop, taking antibodies from yours.

What happens inside your body?
  • Muscle cramps in the legs
    These types of muscle cramps can be very painful especially during pregnancy. No one knows why they occur but the dominant theory is they occur because of circulation changes and the increased weight on your limbs.
  • Swollen feet and ankles
    The swelling or “edema” in the feet and ankles tends to get worse as the due date nears. It is worse near the end of the day and during hotter weather.
  • Back Pain
    Being 5 months pregnant may mark the uncomfortable start of back pain which will continue throughout the rest of your pregnancy. The pain occurs due to your increased weight and due to the additional effort of maintaining the correct posture with the extra weight.
  • Constipation
    Constipation may become even more troublesome than in the past months and get worse towards the end of the pregnancy.
  • Bloating
    To avoid bloating, don’t eat big, heavy meals. Instead, eat several small meals throughout the day. And take your time eating, don’t gulp your food and chew thoroughly; this will help your body to digest your food.
  • Dizziness
    Dizziness is common during pregnancy and it happens due to your changing blood pressure. Don’t worry! Just to take it easy.
  • Difficulties in having sex
    Because of your body changes you might find having sex challenging and you might have problems in reaching the orgasm. On the other hand, you might be among the lucky ones who experience increased libido, intensified sexual sensations and orgasms.

How different will you look?

Your baby has reached around 20 centimeters (8 inches) and it weighs around one pound, so your waist is noticeably thicker. You might also notice that your nails are stronger (though they could also turn dry and brittle) and your hair is thicker and fuller than usual. Your pregnancy hormones provide extra nutrients to hair and nail cells. Some women even gain a few errant facial hairs. This situation is temporary, but feel free to tweeze.

How can you care for both of your loved ones?

Now that your baby is active, you may want to feel him or her kick. While she is sitting, lying down or standing, you can softly rub her belly and hopefully feel him or her move. You can also speak to your baby because he or she is now able to recognize voices. As a dad you might also have concerns about the pressures of starting a family and how your life will change. This is common, and it is a good idea to communicate them to your partner. A healthy and open relationship provide the support to start a family.

Tips to help you go through this trimester

  1. Carefully control your weight. While weight gain is important at this time in the pregnancy, you can also gain too much. Strive for a balanced diet and exercise. Avoid fatty foods, sweets and fried foods. Make sure you get plenty of fresh fruits, vegetables, cereals, dairy and protein. Meanwhile, make time for low-impact exercise. You can also begin to practice Kegel exercises for after-birth.
  2. Make sure you consume enough iron. An iron deficiency increases the risk of premature birth or giving birth to a baby with low weight or is underweight. You need extra iron to compensate for the blood fed to your baby, and to prepare the body for the blood loss during childbirth. The best sources of iron include eggs, spinach and other green vegetables, dried fruits, dates, wheat germ, oatmeal and red meat.
  3. Make sure you have enough magnesium. Insufficient magnesium can cause muscle cramping, nausea, insomnia, vomiting, weakness and fatigue. Magnesium is also crucial for fetal growth. With a varied and balanced diet, you will probably consume sufficient magnesium. Foods rich in magnesium include bananas, figs, pumpkin seeds, brown rice, oatmeal, wheat germ, salmon, spinach, Swiss chard, soybeans and many others. Talk to your doctor if you think you aren’t getting enough and need magnesium supplements.
  4. Take care of your skin. As your baby grows, your belly stretches and the risk of getting stretch marks increases. To minimize the risk, drink plenty of fluids, and moisturize your breasts, belly, sides, lower back, thighs, legs and anywhere else you think you might get stretch marks at least twice daily.
  5. Get enough rest. During the pregnancy your body needs more hours of sleep than usual. Try to sleep between 8 and 10 hours per night.

Being 5 months pregnant is one of the most relaxing and easy times of the pregnancy. Your pregnancy is obvious to outsiders and you may receive compliments on your healthy pregnancy glow. Feeling your baby move inside of you can be one of the most rewarding aspects of the whole pregnancy.