Every pregnancy journey is different but there's a good chance your baby bump is probably quite visible now at 5 months pregnant. No doubt you've also noticed you're adjusting to your changing centre of gravity and it's now time for the very exciting anomaly scan, in which you can also find out the sex of your baby.
We take a look here at some of the common pregnancy symptoms at 5 months pregnant and how your body is changing.
Symptoms at 5 months pregnant
Here are common symptoms you may be experiencing at this milestone:
• Pregnancy dreams: Pregnancy dreams are a thing. Pregnancy dreams are so vivid that Steven Spielberg could only wish he’d directed something so full of fear and emotion. These nightmares basically seem to offer up all your worries and fears for your viewing pleasure. They are really common and won’t last forever
• Strange pregnancy pains: You’re probably experiencing the joy of round ligament pain around now, although it can start much earlier. It often makes you wince if you stand up too quickly from a chair or bed and it bloody hurts. You can feel it in the lower belly or groin area and it’s basically the muscle that connects your womb to your groin, so it’s under a lot of pressure right now (yeah, we know, join the club). Pregnant women should be given a list of all the weird and wonderful pains likely to be experienced over the next nine months so they can be ticked off as you go - because Dr. Google is not the answer and can make you feel worse. If you're worried, speak to a healthcare professional. If the pregnancy is giving you aches and pains all over, it might be worth trying out a specialist pregnancy massage. Alternatively, using a birthing ball can help to reduce back pain and pelvic pain, particularly in the third trimester of pregnancy. It can also ease labour pains and reduce the pain of contractions.
• Pregnancy heartburn and indigestion: As your baby grows it will push up against your stomach and cause you to experience indigestion or heartburn. It's a very common symptom of pregnancy and nothing to worry about. You'll often feel it as a bloating sensation or a feeling of sickness. You could also feel a pain or burning sensation in the chest. If you're struggling with the symptoms you could try changing your eating and drinking habits by eating little and often rather than a large meal. You could also try cutting down on rich and spicy foods as well as cutting out caffeine.
• Headaches: Regular headaches in pregnancy can often be caused by spending periods of time in stuffy brightly-lit rooms and occur when you feel a bit too hot and bothered. Try taking regular breaks outside in the fresh air and wear cool and comfortable clothing to avoid triggering a headache. If your headaches worsen and become severe, you should call your maternity unit or midwife.
• Fainting and dizziness: "Many women will experience some dizziness if they move too fast at this stage as your body has undergone haemodilution and this tends to cause a little drop in blood pressure," explains Midwife Pip, midwifery sister, speaker and publisher. "Drinking plenty of water, avoiding sudden movements and standing up or getting out of bed slowly will help." Laying down on your side rather than your back can also cure dizziness.
• Swelling: "This increase in blood volume and fluid also causes swelling in the veins and tissues of your nose which can cause some pesky congestion or leave you feeling like your nose is always blocked," says Pip. "It is worth visiting your local pharmacist if you notice this to discuss pregnancy-safe treatment options."
Your baby's development at 5 months pregnant
From their growing size to their increased movements, find out what your baby is up to at five months.
Baby's first kicks
Many expectant mums begin to start feeling baby kick around the 5-month mark, although for some it may be a few more weeks before they notice movement. "Early kicks may feel like wind, a bubbling, fluttering, or tapping sensation low in your pelvis. It is often quite subtle before becoming more obvious as baby grows over the coming weeks and months," says Pip.
"Once your baby develops a regular pattern for movements it is important to take note of this and any deviations from their normal pattern you should call your midwife without delay to be checked over as babies who are unwell may stop, reduce, or change their movement pattern."
They're covered in hair
"Hair keeps growing on your baby’s head and body as well as a fine hair on their shoulders and back called lanugo," explains Pip. "Their skin is protected by a waxy, white substance called vernix which covers their body and may still be visible when your baby is born- don’t be tempted to wash it off as it is an incredible moisturiser."
They have their own sleeping pattern
At this stage, your nights might be restless, as your baby has their own sleep cycle. So, they could be moving around when you're trying to sleep.
It's that time when your baby is becoming a lot stronger than you may think. You can tell by their movements being a lot stronger (that you'll be able to feel) and there might even be a pattern of these movements.
How big is my baby at five months pregnant?
"At five months, your baby is about the size of a mango," says Pip. "On average they will be around 15cm in length and weigh 240g. Your baby is growing really fast at this stage and by the end of the fifth month will have grown to be aubergine sized, almost doubled in length and increased their weight to around 500g."
What does my baby look like at five months pregnant?
Here's an illustrative look at what your baby will look like in the womb when you're five months pregnant.
Changes to your body at 5 months pregnant
Here's what might happen to your body when you're five months pregnant.
• Baby bump: "Every bump and baby grow at a unique rate but at around this stage you will likely notice your bump starts to pop out and your body starts to look more pregnant," says Pip. "This may take a little getting used to for some women whilst others are ready to fully embrace their pregnant belly and show it off. There is no right or wrong but talking to, singing, or reading to your bump can really help promote bonding with baby whilst they are inside and will also help them to recognise your voice when they are born too."
• Leg cramps and swelling: Leg cramps during pregnancy can be quite common and although it can be hard to find the exact cause, most pregnant women experience it as a result of decreased circulation in the legs because of the pressure baby is putting on your blood vessels, fatigue or even the baby pressing on certain nerves. And while they are annoying, most of the time they are nothing to worry about. If they do seem to be happening a bit too often however and regularly disturbing your sleep, it might be a good idea to check in with your midwife.
• Swollen ankles: Another common leg complaint is feet swelling in pregnancy. The swelling tends to come on gradually meaning it's sometimes worse towards the end of the day. It comes on because your body is holding a lot more water than normal while pregnant, which tends to gather in the lowest part of the body. If you find the swelling has come on quickly, you should call your midwife immediately.
• Stretch marks: Wait, what is that, is that a...stretch mark? They’re called Tiger Stripes these days by the way. As well as more stretch marks appearing you might also find that your innie belly button becomes an outie as your stomach expands. But don't worry - this will go back once you've given birth.
How far along am I at 5 months pregnant?
Roughly speaking, you are between 19 to 23 weeks pregnant.
5 months pregnant checklist
Finding out baby's gender
"One of the key milestones at 5 months is your Mid-Trimester or Anomaly Ultrasound Scan, offered between 18-21 weeks of pregnancy to check your baby’s health and development," says Pip. "A sonographer will do a thorough scan of your baby, including their: brain, heart, spinal cord, bowel, kidneys, arms, and their legs. If the scan suggests there may be a corner with your baby such as a health condition or a chromosomal condition, your healthcare professional will discuss the findings and options with you."
If you don't plan on waiting until the big day to find out the gender of your baby, now is also the time you can find out if you're expecting a boy or girl.
Why not give our Chinese gender predictor tool a go while you're waiting to head to your scan? Remember, it's completely up to you whether you find out or not. Some parents are desperate for that extra bit of insight into their child while others want to keep the news a surprise.
Upping your iron intake
Around 20 weeks pregnant, your stored iron supply is becoming depleted and your baby wants those red blood cells which may put you at risk of low iron levels or anaemia. "During pregnancy, the body’s demand for iron is greater. It is needed in pregnancy for your baby’s growth and brain development," says the NHS. Talk to your doctor about suitable supplements and up your iron-rich food intake with foods such as dark-green leafy vegetables, fish and white and red meat.
Start thinking about the nursery
While you may have already started this at 4 months pregnant or even earlier, now could be a great time to begin thinking about (and even decorating!) your baby's nursery.
About the expert
This article contains expert advice from Midwife Pip, an experienced, practicing Midwifery Sister, MSc graduate, founder of Midwife Pip Podcast, Hypnobirthing and Antenatal Educator, co-author of published research and importantly, a mum.