You didn’t ask us, but we’re going to tell you anyway: The fifth month of pregnancy is totally the best one. Ridiculously cute baby bump? Check. Newfound energy? Check. Baby kicks, a new ultrasound pic, and a rosy pregnancy glow? Check, check, and check.
You’re sitting pretty in the VIP box of your pregnancy, feeling mostly good and finally able to enjoy the few small pleasures being an expectant parent brings (like binging on carbs and wearing stretchy maternity leggings sans judgement). Here’s what else you can expect this month.
If your belly has been expanding along a typical trend, at 5 months it should be noticeable to other people — but not so big that it gets in your way.
It’s totally fine if you’ve been measuring a little bigger or smaller, though, so don’t stress if strangers in the supermarket aren’t calling you out on your pregnancy yet — or if they’re already asking when you’re going to pop, in which case you totallyhave our permission to ignore them.
There’s no official statement on how much weight you should have gained by month 5 since that’s a pretty subjective measure, but during the second trimester you can expect to gain about a pound or two per week. Many people don’t gain a ton of weight in the first trimester thanks to morning sickness, so you may be starting to play catch-up now.
The recommended weight gain for someone with a normal pre-pregnancy weight is
As far as the rest of your body goes, your belly isn’t the only thing growing: Your appetite is probably kicking into overdrive and your hair and nails may be growing longer and faster than ever before.
In terms of symptoms, at 5 months you can expect:
- leg cramps and/or varicose veins
- swollen feet and ankles
- increased dizziness
- back pain
- skin changes (especially darkening of the nipples)
- nasal congestion
Oh, and one more thing: As your stomach expands, you may start noticing changes to your belly button. If you had an innie before, it may be turning into an outie. (And if you already had an outie, you may just have a more prominent outie.)
Right now, your baby is about 6 or 7 inches from crown to rump and around 10 ounces, which puts them squarely in the “small banana” section of the fetal development produce aisle.
The big news about baby’s development is that they’re growing their vernix caseosa — the thick, milky covering that protects their skin from the amniotic fluid they’re swimming in 24/7. They’re also sprouting some lanugo, i.e. the downy hair that some babies are born still sporting. (They shed it pretty quickly after birth.)
Baby is also getting pretty dexterous at this point, learning how to suck their thumb, twist and turn in the uterus (more on that in a sec), yawn, blink, and react to outside stimuli like super loud noises.
You may have felt your baby moving around by now, fluttering and bubbling in their cozy little uterine home.
But maybe you haven’t felt anything yet — that’s OK, too. In most first-time pregnancies you’ll notice those initial movements, called quickening, around 16 to 20 weeks — but all babies are different. (And it’s not always easy to recognize that’s what you’re feeling if you’ve never felt it before.)
If this isn’t your first rodeo, you may recognize quickening as early as 13 or 14 weeks, although it’s not always the case. The size and position of your baby and the placement of your placenta can also make it harder to feel movement.
Either way, by the time you get to month 5, you can expect to start feeling something any day now if you haven’t already. You don’t have to officially count kicks yet (that starts around 28 weeks), but if you’re worried for any reason about your baby’s movements, talk to your doctor. That’s what they’re there for!
Your twins are still measuring about the same length as singleton babies (so you’ve got two bananas in there — almost enough to call it a bunch!). They may weigh a little less than singletons, but that’s normal for twins, who have to work extra hard at packing on the baby fat.
In terms of your size, it’s not likely anyone has to guess at whether or not you’re pregnant — it’s probably pretty clear. Hopefully, though, you’ve still got enough flexibility and range of motion to be able to sleep comfortably, exercise, and do your usual daily tasks without too much discomfort.
If you were relatively fit and healthy pre-pregnancy, it’s usually safe to maintain some kind of exercise routine throughout all 40 weeks of pregnancy. The more you use your body now, the better it will serve you during labor and the faster it can recover after birth.
Obviously this changes if your pregnancy is high risk or comes with certain complications, so you should always run your plans by your doctor.
While pregnancy doesn’t have to slow your active lifestyle down, you shouldn’t necessarily ramp it up, either: If you were completing triathlons before pregnancy, your doctor may allow you to continue, but pregnancy isn’t the time to start any kind of intense exercise.
Whatever your habits were before you got pregnant, it’s usually safe to:
- walk or jog
- do yoga (especially prenatal!)
- hike outdoors, as long as you do it safely (e.g., with a fellow hiker, on familiar trails)
- take low-impact aerobics or dance classes
- lift light weights (tip: focus more on reps for strength training)
- do stationary cycling
- do stretches and leg lifts
As far as diet, it’s recommended that you get about 300 extra calories per day in the second trimester to keep baby happy and fed. It’s usually not recommended that you get those extra calories via fast food burgers and nightly milkshakes, but the occasional indulgence is totally fine as long as the majority of your diet is loaded with:
- lean sources of protein, like chicken, fish, and beef
- low-fat dairy (cheese, milk, yogurt)
- whole grains (brown rice, quinoa, rolled oats)
- fresh fruits and veggies
- monounsaturated fats, like the kind found in nuts, seeds, olive oil, and avocados
We reserved a whole special section for this checkup, because it’s a big one! It may not happen exactly at 20 weeks — the recommended range is 18 to 22 weeks — but whenever it occurs, it will involve performing your baby’s all-important anatomy scan via ultrasound.
Yup, this is when you get to find out your baby’s biological sex (if you haven’t already).
At 20 weeks, your baby’s genitals are developed enough to be interpreted on an ultrasound. Of course, that doesn’t mean you’re guaranteed a peek: Babies are nothing if not fickle, and your little one may decide to be uncooperative during the scan.
If this happens to you, it’ll be super frustrating — but there will be other opportunities to check in with your baby via ultrasound during this pregnancy.
Plus, there’s more to the 20-week anatomy scan. Your technician will also be taking important stock of your baby’s body systems, checking for everything from correct spinal alignment to the right number of heart chambers. (Spoiler: It’s four.)
The technician will also evaluate your anatomy as well, making sure your placenta, umbilical cord, and amniotic fluid levels are AOK.
You’re probably pretty familiar with the pregnancy red flags at this point, but in case you need a refresher, call your OB right away if you have any:
- vaginal bleeding
- severe cramps or back pain
- painful urination
- severe vomiting
- bad smells coming from your urine or vaginal area
They don’t call the second trimester of pregnancy the honeymoon period for nothing — this is your time to shine. Stay active while you still can, watch out for those first signs of movement, and wave hello to your baby for us at your 20-week ultrasound!