When you get to 6 months of pregnancy you can expect a lot of changes, not only in your body but also in your baby. So, if you want to know everything that will or can happen between weeks 21 and 25 keep reading.
At 6 months the baby is fully formed and starts being more active inside the uterus. At this stage the baby measures about 28 to 35 centimeters and weights around 500 to 750 grams. The development of the baby is significant from week to week. Here are the major changes on your baby during this month:
- Week 21. The growth rate is slowing but the baby keeps developing. The organs are still maturing, fat is starting to develop to keep the baby warm after birth and the oil glands produce the vernix caseosa to protect the skin from the amniotic fluid.
- Week 22. The baby has now eyebrows and eyelids, the muscles are developing and the baby responds to external sound stimuli. The hair and toenails are starting to show and your baby can suck his thumb.
- Week 23. The baby’s skin is covered in fine hairs (lanugo) and is wrinkled to leave space for the baby to grow and gain weight. Meconium, your baby’s first stool, is developing.
- Week 24. The baby is responsive to touch and you can feel the baby’s hiccups. There is production of blood cells from the immune system at this stage.
- Week 25. You can hear the baby’s heartbeat through the belly sometimes or using a stethoscope. The skin still has folds but it turns more opaque by this stage. The baby’s bones also become solid and if it is a girl, the ovaries will develop eggs .
At 6 months the baby’s brain development is intense and it shows, since you can sense that the baby can respond to touch, sound and intense light. You will also notice that there are regular cycles of activity and sleeping with the movement of the baby. You just have to keep in mind that every baby develops differently so there might be a few variations in this process. By now you will be experiencing symptoms that are different from what you felt until now. So what does it feel like to be 6 months pregnant?
Your belly will become more pronounced and if the pregnancy did not show before, it will start to now. This is caused by your uterus expanding upwards and sideways to accommodate the fast growing baby inside you. By now the more common first trimester symptoms, such as morning sickness should disappear. On the other hand you will start experiencing other things such as:
- cramps in the legs
- ankle and feet swelling
- weight gain (around 0.5kg per week)
- increase in vaginal secretions
- back pain
- overheated and sweaty
- shortness of breath and ribcage pain
- drop in libido
- carpal tunnel syndrome
- indigestion, constipation, and heartburn
Most of these symptoms are caused by the physiological changes typical of pregnancy, besides your uterus expanding, causing you to gain weight and compressing your organs, the hormones and the increased blood flow that are required to sustain your baby growth are accountable for most of the discomfort. You should keep in mind that most of this discomfort is temporary and manageable. If you notice something that is out of the normal range of symptoms or causing you serious pain you should contact your physician. You have to remember to be alert for sudden changes that do not appear a regular symptom. For example, if you experience sudden swelling, visual disturbances and fluid in the lungs you have to contact your doctor immediately. These are signs of preeclampsia, a condition characterized by high blood pressure that puts you and your baby in risk if not detected early .
To feel the baby kicking can be a wonderful experience but it might turn uncomfortable too. It could give you a hard time to deal with all these symptoms so there are a few things you can do to alleviate them. For example, eat more calcium and potassium to avoid cramping, hydrate your skin regularly to avoid stretch marks, apply a heating pad to your back to help with the pain and try ice to soothe hemorrhoids. Since you are getting larger on the abdomen at this stage you can start transitioning into maternity wear. Also, you should consider starting to do Kegel exercises to prevent incontinence after childbirth.
There are also a few things you should take care by now:
- Taking childbirth classes can help you to be more prepared and less anxious.
- If you detect that your vaginal secretions change color or odor you should contact your doctor to check for infection.
- You should get tested for gestational diabetes; this is a painless test and can prevent a lot of serious health issues.
You should be prepared for all the changes that will occur at this stage of pregnancy. It is normal to be cautious but try not to worry too much if you see your symptoms changing. If anything worries you, always contact your doctor to expose any doubts.