We know you should never pick favorites, but Month 5 might just be one of our very favorite months of pregnancy. For one thing, most women can say adios to morning sickness and typical first-trimester fatigue. For another, your baby bump is probably sufficiently “bumpish” enough so that you look officially pregnant – rather than out of shape for your current wardrobe. Finally, your baby finally feels like a “real” baby in there and he is probably moving around quite a bit. Your healthcare provider may begin to ask you about available fetal testing options, if she hasn’t already, as the bulk of them are performed during the second trimester.
Thus, Month 5 is often when the reality of pregnancy sets in, and you have the energy and comfort to enjoy it to its fullest.
What’s Going on For Mommy and Baby?
Right now, your baby is about a foot long and weighs a full pound – picture him as being about the size of a football. Much of the mushy and disproportional features that made your fetus resemble a baby frog have disappeared, and his body is now recognizable as a fully human baby on those ultrasounds. If your baby is, indeed, a boy (we alter the gender from month-to-month in our blogs to be fair…) then his testes have begun to form. If she is a girl, then she is already developing ovaries and eggs!
Your baby’s body is starting to put on more weight to help insulate it once he’s born, and glands in his skin are producing a thick, creamy substance – called vernix – that protects it from his liquid environment. Odds are, your baby will be born with this substance on his skin and many natural childbirth proponents advocate leaving a bit of it on the baby – and gently rubbing it in– after he is born to provide a layer of moisture and protection from the dry environment.
We mentioned that you are probably feeling the best you’ve felt since the day you found out you were pregnant. However, you may also experience something known as “pregnancy brain.” This fuzzy-headed feeling is a result of both hormones as well as the sleep-deprivation that can occur as your belly grows and comfortable sleep positions become more of a challenge. Use pillows between your legs when you sleep on your side – or under your lower legs when you are on your back – and anywhere else they sound appealing to provide the support you need.
Your growing belly is accompanied by extended ligaments and more strain on your lower back. You can help to relieve the pain and strengthen key pelvic muscles by doing pelvic tilt exercises each day.
“Pelvic tilts strengthen the muscles in your abdomen and help alleviate back pain during pregnancy and labor. To do pelvic tilts get on your hands and knees. Tilt your hips forward and pull your abdomen in. Your back should slightly round. Stay in this position for a few seconds then relax without letting your back sag. Repeat a couple of times, working up to 10.” – americanpregnancy.org
What’s Happening for Daddy?
Dads may view Month 5 as the “halfway point” although there are still many miles to tread before the big day. He may feel unsure about what he should do – and what he shouldn’t do – to keep you comfortable and happy. Men aren’t mind readers so don’t forget how important it is to communicate. Tell him what you need, or make a list, and odds are he’ll appreciate being useful. Maybe he can start:
- Doing some of the grocery shopping to keep the fridge and pantry stocked with favorite, healthy snacks.
- Planning a weekend getaway so you guys can enjoy traveling before 3rd-trimester restrictions kick in.
- Taking over some of chores that require heavier-duty attention, bending over, or other motions that are harder to perform now that your belly is bigger.
A useful partner is a happy partner, so give him ways to be included in the pregnancy process.
What’s Happening for Sister and Brother?
Do you know your baby’s gender? Have you named him/her yet? Now that your belly is visible and your other children will be able to feel kicks pretty soon, the baby is becoming more of a “real person” to them as well. Post ultrasound pictures on the fridge so the baby is up there with the rest of the family. Let your kids keep running lists of their favorite names and put ALL of them on the list, even if “Rainbow” or “Ninja Fighter” aren’t your personal favorites. Mom and dad will always have the ultimate say-so but your kids will love it if they think they are part of the name selection process.
If your kids are old enough, start delegating some extra chores. This will help your toddlers feel more like “big kids,” which eases the transition once the baby is born. It will also help you to cut back on your duties as your pregnancy progresses and will pave the way for more mommy-baby down time once the baby arrives.
Contact Women’s Health Associates to work with pre-natal and labor care providers who practice mother-and baby-centered healthcare and who include the whole family.