Pregnancy: What To Expect The Fifth Month

How a baby develops and grows during the fifth month of pregnancy, and how a mother's body changes.

You are in the midst of your pregnancy and have gone through months of excitement, anticipation and maybe even a little anxiety concerning your baby-to-come. Now that you have hit the midway point of your pregnancy, you may be wondering how your baby has developed and if your body is growing at a normal rate.

Your Baby

Your baby will grow tremendously in the womb during this vital fifth month. He will almost double in weight to a full pound and grow up to anywhere from ten to twelve inches long. He is starting to gain fat underneath his skin that will help him stay warm by producing heat. His fingernails are also starting to grow longer, almost to his little fingertips. The hair that he started growing back in the fourth month is beginning to get thicker and fuller. Your baby's teeth are also starting to fully form underneath his gums. His organs are becoming more developed. For example, his lungs can now exhale the amniotic fluid, his gall bladder is now beginning to create bile for digestion and his circulatory system is starting to churn. By this time, your baby may also start getting hiccups. He is responding much more to external stimuli. If he hears a loud noise, he may get startled and try to cover his ears. He may be able to hear the voices outside and begin to respond by wriggling or squirming. At this point, your baby is also starting to develop a white coating, of sorts, known as vernix caseosa. Specialists believe that a baby develops this coating to protect the skin from the ever-present amniotic fluid.

Your Body

As your baby is starting to move and react more, you will be experiencing some amazing sensations in your stomach. More than likely, you are no longer able to hide your pregnancy, as you gain your baby weight. Women can gain anywhere from five to ten pounds at this point as the lower abdomen begins to distend. A voracious appetite (a common symptom of pregnancy at this stage) may also be responsible for the weight gain. At your appointment with your physician, be sure to ask any questions or discuss any concerns you may be having about your pregnancy, like weird symptoms. Some common symptoms you may or may not be experiencing this month are constipation, bloating, leg cramps or swelling, vaginal discharge, clumsiness, rapid heartbeat and hemorrhoids. Some women also report feeling forgetful during this stage. You may wonder why your heartbeat has become rapid. Studies have shown that as a woman progresses in her pregnancy the heart sometimes works up to fifty percent harder in order to support the woman and her baby. Be sure to take care of your body. Do your best not to tire yourself out or overexert your body. As your body continues to develop, you may discover that you are taking deeper breaths and perspiring more. These are normal symptoms so do not panic. However, if something does not feel right, always consult your physician to discuss your concerns. At this point in your pregnancy, you may want to start considering taking birthing classes with your partner which will help prepare you for the actual birth.

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