Being pregnant is undoubtedly one of the most incredible experience for any woman. The gestation period or the period for which the female is pregnant is nine months for a normal delivery to occur. It is important that the journey through these nine months is smooth and hassle-free. The fifth month of pregnancy is ideally halfway through the gestation period.

Several changes have already occurred in your body by the time you are five months pregnant and more changes will occur in the coming months. In medical terms, pregnancy month 5 marks the onset of a woman’s pregnant appearance. This month also marks the decline of the troubling symptoms and the advent of the baby bump along with glowing skin.

The foetus at five months of pregnancy is likely to develop rapidly. As a result of the growth of the baby, most pregnant women begin to gain weight. This article includes all that you need to know about this particular month ranging from pregnancy symptoms, diet, exercises and more.

  1. 5 months pregnant signs and symptoms
  2. 5 months pregnant baby: size, weight and development
  3. 5 months pregnancy food
  4. Exercises during the fifth month of pregnancy
  5. Tests during the fifth month of pregnancy
  6. Vaccines during the fifth month of pregnancy
  7. Do’s and don’ts during the fifth month of pregnancy

Each pregnancy is unique and women going through the journey are likely to have experiences that are unique in themselves. However, there are certain common signs and symptoms of the fifth month of pregnancy that all expecting women are likely to experience. These symptoms have been discussed in detail below.

  • The fifth month is usually the time when most women experience the first small movements of the baby. While they might not be as strong yet but once you feel them they are likely to bring a smile to your face. 
  • In the 5th month of pregnancy, a woman's breasts may enlarge further and start producing colostrum, a yellowish coloured secretion which is the first milk, also known as the foremilk. Colostrum does not usually flow freely, unlike breast milk. It may be released in drops during pregnancy month 5.
  • Another common pregnancy symptom that women generally experience during the 5th month of pregnancy is aggravated heartburn. As the baby grows, it needs more room and starts exerting pressure on the internal organs. This forces food contents to recede back into the oesophagus. Furthermore, under the effects of pregnancy hormones, the muscles separating the oesophagus and the stomach tend to relax causing gastric acid to seep into the oesophagus and thus heartburn.
  • Increased progesterone levels in expecting mothers may cause bowel movements to become difficult or painful resulting in constipation. Higher dosages of iron supplements in the diet could also cause constipation to worsen.
  • In many pregnant women, the fluctuating level of pregnancy hormones can cause melanin production to increase, triggering the darkening of the skin in several places. Typically, the skin darkens around the forehead, nose and cheeks in the form of a mask. This condition is also known as the 'mask of pregnancy'.
  • As the heart is responsible for pumping blood for two organisms now, pregnant women may experience heart palpitations due to the increase of heart and pulse rate.
  • Some expecting mothers may develop pregnancy gingivitis due to higher levels of estrogen in the body leading to bleeding gums.

Symptoms to look out for:

  • Women during pregnancy month 5 are at risk of developing gestational hypertension (high blood pressure). If you notice symptoms like blurred vision, nausea and vomiting and swelling, make sure to check in with your doctor at the earliest.
  • The number of white blood cells or leukocytes in a woman's blood may increase during the 5th month of pregnancy, which can sometimes result in low haemoglobin or anaemia, which is not a usual symptom. (Read more: Anemia in pregnancy treatment)

In the 5th month of pregnancy, the growth of the baby is rapid and it may grow up to 6 to 8 inches long and weighs about 360 grams. The foetus also goes through a series of other changes that have been discussed below.

  • The skin of the baby in the 5th month of pregnancy gets coated in a protective covering called the vernix. The covering is thick and creamy and protects the baby’s fragile skin from the amniotic fluid surrounding it.
  • The muscles and bones of the baby become denser and the arms, toes, legs, hands, fingers become well-defined in pregnancy month 5. The eyelids, eyebrows, eyelashes, fine hair, ears, and nails of the baby are also forming.
  • The baby is now able to stretch, open his/her eyes a bit, yawn, suck on his/her thumb. It may also show more pronounced movements like kicking or twisting at a later stage.
  • The foetus in the 5th month of pregnancy is capable of following a fairly steady schedule of sleeping and waking. The sleep pattern of the baby can be different from the mother’s cycle of sleeping and waking, which may cause a disturbance in her sleep. (Read more: Sleep during pregnancy)
  • The baby in pregnancy month 5 is likely to develop its own set of unique fingerprints.
  • It is also likely to develop hearing abilities in the 5th month of pregnancy and outside noises can disturb the baby.
  • The baby’s brain develops further and becomes more complicated in the fifth month of pregnancy. The immune system of the baby also becomes mature by the 18th week which contributes to combat infections in the foetus.
  • As the baby proceeds into the 19th and 20th week he/she develops sensitivity to light.
  • The baby’s taste buds fully develop by the 5th month of pregnancy.

Expecting women need to take utmost care of their diet in the 5th month of pregnancy. This period is crucial for the baby’s development as it is growing at a fast pace and its organs are getting developed. It is important to ensure the right kind of nutrition for the baby as well as the mother so as they remain healthy and there are no complications. The various components that are to be included in the 5 months pregnancy diet have been mentioned below.

Foods rich in protein
Foods rich in protein ensure a smooth physical development of the baby as amino acids in protein are the building blocks of the body. The abundant sources of protein that should be included in the diet are pulses, cereals, seeds, nuts, chickpeas, cottage cheese and tofu.

(Read more: When to start taking protein powder during pregnancy)

Vegetables and fruits
Vegetables are a rich source of vitamins and minerals which is why it is essential to include them in your diet. The best way to consume vegetables is in the form of salads. Salad dressings, however, should be avoided because of their higher sodium content. Fruits such as apples, peaches, pears, avocados, oranges etc should also be included as they are rich in fibres and other nutrients. The foetus in the 5th month of pregnancy requires necessary nutrients for proper development.

Whole grains
Whole grains are rich sources of iron, magnesium, vitamin E and Vitamin B complex. All three parts of the grain, ie the endosperm, bran and germ are included in wheat grains. Breakfast cereals, atta flour, bread etc. are made from whole grains.

Iron and calcium
Iron is a major component of haemoglobin, the oxygen-carrying pigment and main protein in the red blood cells. Haemoglobin carries oxygen throughout the body. During pregnancy, the amount of blood in the mother's body doubles due to which she requires more iron to make more haemoglobin for all that extra blood.
Calcium is essential for the baby’s developing bones. Dairy foods such as milk, and yoghurt are rich in calcium. In case the mother is vegan or lactose intolerant, then foods such as calcium-fortified soymilk, calcium-containing tofu, soybeans, broccoli, Chinese cabbage, okra, beans, kale etc can provide the required amounts of calcium.

(Read more: Vitamins and minerals you need during pregnancy)

Increased fluid intake
It is essential to stay hydrated during pregnancy. It helps to prevent constipation and urinary tract infection, two conditions usually encountered by pregnant women. Drinking a lot of fluids further helps in the detoxification of the body. Alternatives to plain water include fresh juices like sugarcane and mango, which contain healthy carbohydrates and fibre.

(Read more: How much water to drink in a day)

Healthy Fats
Healthy fats such as omega 3 fatty acids should be an essential part of the 5-month pregnancy diet. The sources of such foods include salmon, olive oil, peanut oil, sunflower oil, sesame oil, canola oil, avocados, many nuts, and seeds.

It is important to consume meals in adequate proportions. Setting up a meal plan so as to ensure that the body receives all the required nutrients is essential. Foods such as caffeine, carbonated drinks, supplements etc should be avoided as they have artificial sugar and synthetic components and these could hamper the baby’s development. Also, alcohol and smoking should be entirely avoided in the 5th pregnancy month.

(Read more: What to eat and what not to eat during pregnancy)

During the 5th month of pregnancy, women usually experience fatigue, nausea, tiredness, much pain in different types of body, cramping, and muscles strain. Since she starts to gain weight and undergo several bodily changes, the exercises mentioned below could help the expecting mother to stay fit without causing the baby any harm.

(Read more: Exercises during pregnancy)

Walking
Walking during pregnancy month 5 is an easy way to stay fit. However, walk slowly and steadily and avoid running. It is important to keep moving because walking helps in proper circulation of blood throughout your body, improves your metabolism, eliminates any chances of muscle strains or body cramping, aids in digestion, and avoids constipation. Proper schedules, such as in the early morning or even in the late evening can prove to be very beneficial.

(Read more: Benefits of morning walk)

Abdominal exercises
Abdominal exercises during the fifth month of pregnancy focus on the rectus abdomens, or the superficial muscles of your belly region. At this stage, this region may get extend much, and as your belly gets expanded, and also places enough stress on the fascia. Therefore, it is beneficial to perform certain abdominal exercise too, in order to stay fit and help release any pain. It is essential to consult a proper trainer before starting off with any form of abdominal exercise.

Meditation
Practising meditation and yoga can be the best warm-up exercise for women in pregnancy month 5. Yoga when performed properly, and under the supervision of proper instructor can rejuvenate your body, make it full of energy. It also gives you more strength and eliminates any kinds of body pain. There are different types of yoga, such as chair pose, twisted pose, angle pose, ham’s pose with one leg, mountain pose, butterfly pose, stick pose, pranayama etc. which can be practised during the fifth month of pregnancy. You must, however, take prior permission from your doctor about the type of yoga exercise that you should practise in this stage.

(Read more: Anulom vilom benefits)

The tests that need to be performed during the fifth month of pregnancy include the following:

  • Multiple marker tests: This blood test is done between 15 to 20 weeks to screen for the detection of defects in the neural tube such as spina bifida and chromosomal disorders as Down’s syndrome and trisomy 18. These test results can be combined with those of the earlier tests for better accuracy.
  • Ultrasound: Most of the ultrasounds in the second trimester are done between 18 to 20 weeks to examine the baby's anatomy and confirm that the development is normal. Women with high-risk pregnancies often have multiple ultrasounds in their second trimester.
  • Glucose screening: This test checks for gestational diabetes, a short-term form of diabetes that develops in some women during pregnancy. It can cause health problems for the baby, especially if it is not diagnosed or treated, hence this test is important. It is usually done at 24 to 28 weeks but can be done earlier if a woman is at higher risk for gestational diabetes.
  • Amniocentesis: This test takes a sample of the amniotic fluid that surrounds a baby and checks for signs of problems such as chromosomal disorders, genetic problems, and neural tube defects. It is usually done between 15 and 20 weeks in women who are considered at higher risk of having a baby with these disorders.
  • Percutaneous umbilical blood sampling (PUBS): This test is also known as cordocentesis, foetal blood sampling, or umbilical vein sampling. It examines foetal blood directly from the umbilical cord to detect disorders in the foetus. It is usually done after 18 weeks of pregnancy when results from the tests mentioned above are not conclusive.

(Read more: Check-ups during pregnancy)

The vaccines that need to be administered to the expecting mother during the 5th month of pregnancy include the following.

Influenza vaccine
During pregnancy, there is a change in the immune system, heart and lungs which makes pregnant women more prone to severe illness and even death resulting from influenza. Influenza infection during pregnancy has a greater chance for serious problems for the foetus, including premature labour and delivery. Women in the second and third trimesters of pregnancy are at greater risk of infection from influenza. Therefore, administration of inactivated influenza vaccine is recommended for pregnant women during influenza season.

(Read more: Vaccination during pregnancy)

Do’s

  • Incorporate foods like broccoli, oranges, tomatoes in your 5-month pregnancy diet that can provide you with sufficient Vitamin C.
  • Eat dry fruits like dates, almonds, pistachios, walnuts.
  • Try and include enough fibre in your diet to battle constipation. A diet rich in fibre can also help in preventing haemorrhoids.
  • With the growing belly, maintaining the right sitting and standing postures is important. A good posture can help ease the aches and pains that occur during pregnancy.
  • To deal with rashes that may appear in areas like under the breasts, underarms or in the groin area, take frequent cooling showers. Wearing comfortable, loose cotton clothing during pregnancy may also help.
  • To improve blood circulation and to avoid cramps and aches, refrain from sitting or standing at a prolonged stretch. Keep in mind to get up and move around a bit at regular intervals.
  • Taking adequate rest and sleeping well during pregnancy can aid in reducing pregnancy-related stress and fatigue. Engaging in power naps during pregnancy is a good idea. Refrain from straining yourself.
  • Consuming a balanced and nutritious diet inclusive of green leafy vegetables, and fruits may help in keeping you energized during pregnancy. (Read more: Pregnancy diet chart)
  • The expanding belly may render certain sleeping positions uncomfortable. Try and sleep on your left side. A pregnancy pillow sandwiched between the legs may provide comfort.
  • During 5th month pregnancy, your appetite is likely to increase. So be on guard for unnecessary weight gain. Stop yourself from excessive indulgence towards unhealthy cravings and snacking.

Don’ts

  • Eat junk food during pregnancy as it can cause gastritis and nausea. Also restrict your intake of fried food, sweets.
  • During pregnancy, there is a greater risk of developing urinary infections. So, try and avoid delaying urination.
  • Getting up abruptly from the bed or a sitting position as it may cause dizziness and faintness.

References

  1. Juan Pablo Peña-Rosas et al. Intermittent oral iron supplementation during pregnancy (Review) Cochrane Database Syst Rev. Author manuscript; available in PMC 2014 Jun 12. PMID: 22786531.
  2. Benja Muktabhant et al. Interventions for preventing excessive weight gain during pregnancy . Cochrane Database Syst Rev. Author manuscript; available in PMC 2014 Sep 15. PMID: 22513947
  3. Marilyn Lacroix et al. Higher maternal leptin levels at second trimester are associated with subsequent greater gestational weight gain in late pregnancy . BMC Pregnancy Childbirth. 2016; 16: 62. PMID: 27004421
  4. Hong Yang et al. Screening Strategies for Thyroid Disorders in the First and Second Trimester of Pregnancy in China . PLoS One. 2014; 9(6): e99611. PMID: 24925135
  5. Juan Pablo Peña-Rosas et al. Daily oral iron supplementation during pregnancy . Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2012; 12: CD004736. PMID: 23235616
  6. Ramesh Verma et al. Vaccination during pregnancy: Today's need in India . Hum Vaccin Immunother. 2016 Mar; 12(3): 668–670. PMID: 26619155
  7. Center for Disease Control and Prevention [internet], Atlanta (GA): US Department of Health and Human Services; Guidelines for Vaccinating Pregnant Women
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