6 months pregnant: Signs, symptoms and baby development

6 months pregnant with aubergine for scale

by Maria Martin |
Updated

At 6 months pregnant you're approaching the end of your second trimester, which means you're now between 23 to 27 weeks pregnant.

The pregnancy will be taking an increasing toll on your body and you'll probably begin to feel a lot more tired, perhaps hungrier and as your bump grows bedtimes may become a little bit more uncomfortable at this stage.

Your baby's development at 6 months pregnant:

At 25 weeks pregnant, your baby will weigh as much as a swede, coming up to 650g. Their eyes are now developed enough that they know the difference between light and dark. In a couple of weeks, they will open fully.

Throughout the sixth month, your baby will be plumping up and storing fat. This will keep them warm after birth. Your baby's eyelashes and eyebrows normally form between 23 and 26 weeks pregnant. Your baby's skin will have also gone a reddish colour by now, and wrinkled.

If you go into early labour at this time, or after 23 weeks, your baby can survive with intensive care.

Symptoms at 6 months pregnant

While you might think that most symptoms appear in the first trimester, there are still some common symptoms you may be experiencing at this milestone:

Your growing belly and back pain:

By six months you're likely to have a definite baby bump growing. With the growth and your centre of gravity changing you may experience back pain. The ligaments in your back and pelvis have also softened preparing you for labour and may contribute to the back pain. There are a few things you can do here to help alleviate any pain, such as wearing flat shoes, bending at the knees when picking stuff up, getting as much rest as possible, having a pregnancy massage or even trying out some pregnancy yoga.

Swelling feet and ankles:

It’s around now that you might notice your ankles, feet and hands becoming swollen. First of all, if you didn’t already have a visible enough excuse to put your feet up, you really do now, so get them up whenever you can and rest. Some swelling is best raised with your midwife or GP as they can rule out pre-eclampsia during your pregnancy, which is serious blood pressure condition.

Leg cramps:

Sometimes at this stage leg cramps can be common, especially in the middle of the night. Stretching and keeping hydrated can help here, although sadly won't stop the cramps from occurring completely.

Pregnancy cravings:

At this stage, your baby is really growing and developing so your appetite can go through the roof. Providing fuel for both them and you is a hungry business. Your body needs extra nutrients and vitamins to support your baby's organs which can result in weird pregnancy cravings.

Make sure you don't deprive yourself but don't go overboard. Your body will need different nutrients in pregnancy, so it's good to eat a range of foods such as fruit, vegetables and whole grains, with the occasional sweet or salty treat. You can speak to your midwife about diet and how many extra calories is recommended for you per day at this stage.

Snoring:

Due to hormones changing so much, pregnant women often experience snoring at this stage of pregnancy. High levels of oestrogen and progesterone cause the blood vessels in your nose to open wider as well as the swelling of your mucous membranes, which all this contributes to congestion and snoring.

Struggle sleeping:

Getting a good night's sleep during pregnancy is important but tossing and turning has taken on a new meaning this month. It might be a tad early for sleeplessness yet, but it will kick in at some point and the reasons for it are delightfully varied and endless. If it’s not your bladder nagging you to get up, it’s a simple fact that you no longer have any idea how to get comfortable.

Heartburn:

Your uterus is growing and moving upwards at 6 months pregnant and after, putting pressure on your stomach which can cause heartburn. Eating smaller meals more frequently may help subside this, as well as cutting out rich, fatty, spicy foods and caffeine. If you want to take over the counter heartburn medication, make sure you speak to your doctor or midwife first.

Feeling overheated:

Extra blood is being pumped around your skin, which leads to an increase in body temperature. Opt for loose fitting clothes made of natural fibres to help with this.

Feeling faint:

Stand up and feel dizzy? It’s all down to those hormones. If this happens, make sure you sit down and wait until it passes. Lying on your back isn’t recommended, so try lying on your side if sitting down doesn’t help. Also, take your time in standing up!

Checklist at 6 months pregnant

There's a few things you can start ticking off now in preparation for labour.

Start a hypnobirthing course: if a hypnobirthing technique is something you might like to try you can find and book a spot on a hypnobirthing class.

Finding a doula: If you're keen for extra support during your pregnancy, now is the time to start researching for potential doulas.

Baby shower planning: The six-month pregnancy mark is a great time to plan your baby shower. It gives you something extra to look forward to before birth and gives you a chance to catch up with loved ones before busy parenting life begins.

Go on a babymoon: Have you considered having a babymoon? Usually taken during the second-trimester of pregnancy before it becomes unsafe to fly, a babymoon is a chance for you to enjoy a holiday with your partner before your baby arrives.

Prepare the nursery: You'll soon be in full-on nesting mode and when you are, you'll want your new arrivals nursery to be in order. You can do the bulk of the nursery now and worry about adding clothes and decorations when you start your maternity leave.

Should I be eating for two?

As advised by the NHS, there is no need to eat for two. The guide for pregnant women is to eat as healthy and balanced a diet as possible. It's advised to eat plenty of fruit and veg during your week - the more colourful your plate looks the better. Some of the best foods to eat during pregnancy include spinach, oily fish, carrots, milk, mushrooms and meat.

Another way to stay healthy is to implement some exercise into your week, a walk counts too! Exercise is perfectly safe during pregnancy and you can try a calming yoga or pilates session to stretch those aching muscles and make you feel relaxed. Remember to discuss with a GP or midwife before attempting any exercise you haven't done before. For example, it may not be advised to start running during pregnancy if you weren't a runner before.

Samantha Ball is a Features & Reviews Editor for Mother&Baby, having written for the brand since 2018. She's a mum of two and loves browsing for the best and current trending products for little ones and for cute seasonal outfits.

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