The sixth month of pregnancy begins to round out the end of the second trimester, and a rapidly changing body often rounds out, as well. For many women, six months marks a time when many of the joys of pregnancy appear — such as feeling baby’s movements — as well as some pesky side effects due to physical changes. Here’s more on what you can expect in this sixth month of pregnancy.
Your Body At Six Months Pregnant
You can expect that many of the typical pregnancy symptoms you’ve been experiencing thus far — such as mood swings, heartburn, constipation, indigestion, and food cravings — will continue through the sixth month of pregnancy. But, there are additional changes you and your body may begin to experience.
By the sixth month of pregnancy, your rapidly growing baby may be weighing on your comfort. You may find that you are experiencing discomfort in your back, knees, and feet thanks to additional weight gain that your body is adjusting to. It’s important to take breaks and avoid standing, walking, or sitting for long periods of time. Some moms-to-be find that a maternity back brace, which supports your lower back by helping to lift your growing belly, can provide comfort.
More supportive shoes can also help to relieve back and knee strain while reducing foot pain — though know that it’s common for many women to increase their shoe size during pregnancy.
You’ve heard it from caring friends and family members (and strangers at the grocery store): get all the sleep you can before the baby’s here! Unfortunately, the sixth month of pregnancy often brings about restless sleep for many moms. Your changing body shape may make it difficult to sleep in once-comfortable sleeping positions, leaving you to toss and turn all night. In addition, an increasingly active baby may be keeping you up at night thanks to their random sleeping schedule.
If you’re looking for ways to improve sleep this month, consider browsing for a maternity body pillow or wedge, which can help position you in ways that are more comfortable. As for quieting baby’s kicks — there’s not much to do there, but consider using the time for the daily kick counts that many OBGYNs recommend. Changing positions while laying down can also help mask some of baby’s movement.
Itching and discomfort of skin
While you can’t see your baby’s rapid growth, a telltale sign that it’s happening is the condition of your own skin. Many moms find that the skin along their stomachs, hips, thighs, and breasts begins to itch around this time. Pregnant women can tame the itchiness they feel by moisturizing daily, which also helps with skin elasticity. Whether you choose to use spray on lotion, heavy creams, or body oil is up to you, but be wary of purchasing products solely for their claims of preventing stretch marks.
While many women dread these “tiger stripes,” and often swear by a variety of store-bought or homemade remedies to prevent or cure them, know that there’s no scientifically backed product that can keep them at bay. Hydration of your skin — by drinking lots of water, moisturizing regularly, and using a humidifier or vaporizer if the air in your home feels dry — are your best bets at helping your skin’s elasticity and preventing discomfort.
Your Baby’s Development At Six Months
While your body’s changing, so is that of your baby. Within the womb, your baby’s sixth month in utero is a busy one as it continues to develop.
Your baby’s five senses are quickly improving. This month, their eyelids may begin to open, and you may find that they respond to visual stimulation (some parents try putting a flashlight against their belly, and seeing how baby kicks or twists away from the light).
Your little one is likely also beginning to respond to loud sounds that happen in your environment — a good sign that auditory development is occurring. Babies in the womb also begin to develop taste buds during the sixth month of pregnancy, and because the flavor of amniotic fluid depends on what you eat, they’ll begin to experience different taste sensations.
You probably have noticed that those early flutters in your stomach have increased, and are starting to feel different. That’s because by six months, your baby’s size makes it easier to feel — but also because they are now more active in the womb. Kicks, tumbles, and rolls are all common, and while they may feel strange, they’re signs of strong development and a healthy baby.
While it’s still too early for your little one to breathe on their own, their lungs are working at full speed to mature. Right now, your baby’s lungs are producing surfactant, a mixture of proteins and fatty lipids that line the air sacs. This is an important step in the development process because it allows your baby’s lungs to expand easily on their own after birth.
Staying Healthy At Six Months Pregnant
As your pregnancy continues on, it’s important that you stay rested and relaxed for the health of you and your baby. Be critical of your daily activities, especially those that lead to exhaustion, and consider delegating tasks that are becoming difficult — such as heavy lifting, extensive walking or standing, and reaching. Set aside time to put your feet up and pamper your body, because it’s working hard for you and your baby!