5 Months Pregnant

Though each mom-to-be’s body changes in different ways throughout pregnancy, your baby belly might be pretty visible by the time you’re five months pregnant. This month, you’ll likely be adjusting to the physical changes that come with a growing bump and your changing center of gravity. Read on to learn about common pregnancy symptoms at five months, what happens at the mid-pregnancy ultrasound, how your baby is developing, and more!

Common Pregnancy Symptoms at 5 Months Pregnant

Here's hoping that you are still enjoying the energy boost that the second trimester is famous for. It's also possible that you’re experiencing some pesky symptoms at five months pregnant. These can include:

  • Swollen feet. Pregnancy weight gain, fluid retention, and the pregnancy hormone relaxin might be causing this symptom. Relaxin loosens the muscles in your body in preparation for childbirth and it also loosens the joints in your feet, making your feet expand. A cool foot bath can help relieve some of the swelling. Putting your feet up might also help.

  • Lower back pain. At five months pregnant, your posture may start to change as you adjust to your growing belly. As your bump grows, your center of gravity shifts. This can cause some strain on your lower back, as your muscles have to work extra hard to support this extra weight and your changing body shape. Try exercises that strengthen your back muscles, and make sure you sit in chairs with good back support — or prop a pillow behind you. If your back pain is causing too much discomfort, get help from your healthcare provider.

  • Dizziness. As your little one grows, your blood circulation can change, resulting in less blood flow to your head. This can cause that woozy feeling when you stand up or suddenly change positions. Be careful and take things slowly, and avoid being on your feet when you feel dizzy.

  • Nasal congestion. Stuffy nose? Nosebleeds? Or maybe a runny nose? These issues can be caused by pregnancy hormone, which can dry out the mucous membranes in your nasal passages. Saline drops might help relieve some of the congestion, and running a humidifier in your bedroom at night can also help.

  • “Pregnancy brain.” If you keep losing your keys or can’t remember your phone’s password, don’t worry — this forgetfulness is known to happen during pregnancy. Although it’s not an official medical condition, it’s quite common. Many healthcare providers associate this absentmindedness with hormonal changes, stress, or sleep deprivation. Try making lists or using scheduling apps if you’re worried about forgetting something important.

  • Difficulty sleeping. A bigger bump can make it harder to find a comfortable sleeping position. Try lying on your side with a pillow between your knees and a pillow under your belly for extra support. Regular exercise such as walking, swimming, or prenatal yoga and taking a warm, soothing bath before bed may help you get a better night’s sleep.

  • Braxton Hicks contractions. It’s possible you’ll start to experience these “practice” contractions this month. These can feel like a mild tightening or a more painful cramping in your abdomen. You’re more likely to feel them later in the day, or after exercise or sex. Sometimes you may be unsure whether what you’re experiencing is Braxton Hicks or real labor contractions. Typically, Braxton Hicks go away if you move or change positions, but if you’re at all uncertain about what you are feeling, contact your healthcare provider.

How Is Your Baby Developing This Month?

Your little one might be becoming a little more active this month, with the kicks and flips finally becoming noticeable. Your baby is beginning to sleep and wake up at regular intervals, and she may even be awakened by outside noises, so don’t be surprised if you feel a reaction after a loud sound.

Your little one’s skin begins to produce both vernix and lanugo this month. Vernix is a slick, greasy coating that protects the skin while in the amniotic sac, and it will completely cover her body when she’s born. Lanugo is soft, fine hair that helps hold the vernix in place on the skin. Most of this lanugo will disappear before birth, but some babies are born with small patches on various parts of the body. By the end of this month, your little one may be a thumb sucker, as the sucking reflex starts to kick in in preparation for feeding once born.

How Big Is Your Baby When You’re 5 Months Pregnant?

Your baby grows from being about 5 inches long and weighing about 5 ounces, to being about 10 inches long and weighing about 1 pound around this month.

All this means, when you’re five months pregnant, your baby’s size is similar to that of a bell pepper or a banana. You’ve both come a long way in five months!

What Does a Fetus Look Like at 5 Months?

Check out these illustrations for a glimpse at what your baby might look like when you’re five months pregnant:

embryo at 5 months pregnant

Getting an Ultrasound at 5 Months Pregnant

Most moms-to-be have at least one ultrasound during pregnancy and this usually occurs when you’re five months pregnant, at around 18 to 20 weeks.

At the standard mid-pregnancy ultrasound, your healthcare provider:

  • Estimates your baby’s gestational age

  • Estimates your baby’s weight

  • Checks that your baby is developing normally, including that your baby’s heart, head, and spine are forming as they should

  • Checks for conditions like placenta previa (which is a rare condition in which the placenta lies low in the uterus and partially or completely covers the cervix) or placenta accreta (a very rare condition where the placenta grows too deeply into the uterine wall and can’t easily separate away after your baby is born).

  • Checks your baby’s position, movement, and heart rate

  • Checks the amount of amniotic fluid surrounding your baby in the uterus

  • Checks whether you are carrying multiples.

Although an ultrasound exam is a medical tool, your healthcare provider may be able to tell you whether you’re having a boy or girl, if this is something you’d like to find out.

Your healthcare provider will be able to tell you whether any other ultrasounds need to be scheduled during your pregnancy. Sometimes additional ultrasounds are needed to check for a specific condition or as part of a medical test.

Speak to your provider if you’re curious about having a more detailed 3D or 4D ultrasound scan.

5 Months Pregnant: Your Body’s Changes

At some point during this month, you may feel your little one move for the first time. This is called quickening, and some moms-to-be detect these sensations around 18 weeks of pregnancy.

If this isn’t your first baby, you may start to sense these movements earlier than you did with your first baby because you’re more familiar with the feeling. If you haven’t felt those first flutters yet, try to be patient. It may still be several weeks before your little one’s kicks are noticeable. If you are feeling those flutters, your healthcare provider may soon recommend that you begin doing daily "kick counts." Talk to your provider about when and how to count those little kicks. At your prenatal check-ups from five months pregnant onward (if not earlier), your healthcare provider may start checking your belly size by measuring your fundal height. The fundal height is measured in centimetres from your pubic bone to the top of your uterus. Interestingly, your fundal height usually closely corresponds to the number of weeks pregnant you are. So, if you’re 18 weeks pregnant, your fundal height is likely to be around 18 centimetres.

How Far Along Are You at 5 Months Pregnant?

This month fits squarely into the second trimester, but you may be wondering which weeks of pregnancy you’re up to at five months pregnant? There are a few different ways the weeks of pregnancy are grouped into months, so this fifth month could range from week 17 or 18 up to week 20, 21, or 22.

FAQs at a Glance

  • One good strategy is to say something like "Thank you — good to know," and then leave it at that. Although comments or questions from friends and strangers are usually well-intended, the details of your pregnancy are between you and your healthcare provider and those whom you want to share details with.

  • You may have an ultrasound exam at your next prenatal visit, and you may be able to find out your little one’s sex then, if you want to. 

  • Ask other parents for recommendations, or search for those available within your insurance network. Your healthcare provider can also provide advice and help you find a good paediatrician for your baby.

Checklist for When You’re 5 Months Pregnant

  • Ask your healthcare provider whether you have any of the risk factors for gestational diabetes and whether a glucose screening test is right for you.

  • Check with your provider about whether you have any of the risk factors for the high blood pressure disorder called preeclampsia and find out what steps you can take to reduce the risks associated with this condition.

  • Get a flu shot, if you haven’t already. The shot is safe to get at any time during your pregnancy.

  • Schedule a dentist check-up, if you haven’t had one since the start of your pregnancy.

  • Start shopping for maternity clothes and bras, if needed.

  • Plan a babymoon! If you’re feeling up to it, this is a great time to travel. Just check with your healthcare provider first.

  • Consider if you want to draft a birth plan for your labour and delivery. 

  • If you’re feeling energetic, take advantage of this time to design and prepare your baby’s nursery. 

  • Sign up for prenatal classes. There may be childbirth, breastfeeding, or parenting classes available in your area; start by asking your healthcare provider and other parents for recommendations. Keep in mind that you may need to register ASAP to get a spot in your preferred class.

  • For a look at what’s to come in the final months of your pregnancy, read about the third trimester.

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