Pregnancy has likely become very real to you now, with your growing belly, the sensation of regular movements of your baby, and the numerous pregnancy symptoms you’re dealing with – some wonderful and some not so much! Your sixth month of pregnancy marks the end of the second trimester, which means you’re nearly two-thirds of the way toward meeting your baby. You may have some aches and pains, particularly in your lower abdomen as your ligaments continue to stretch to support your uterus. You might also be troubled with “restless leg syndrome” or leg cramps, which can be annoying and might make getting to sleep at night a bit trickier than usual. And as your bump grows, your sleeping positions at night might become difficult too, particularly if you’re usually a stomach sleeper and you’re trying to get used to sleeping on your side and back. Use lots of pillows and build yourself a nest to get more comfortable.
How big is my baby?
At the beginning of this month, your baby is around 21cm long and weighs about 500g, and by the end of the month, he or she will double his or her weight to 900g and height to 38cm. Up until now, your baby has been measured from crown to rump (the top of the head to the bottom of his or her bottom), but from the end of this month, he or she will be measured from head to toe. Your baby can sense light and sound, so might squirm when you’re vacuuming or listening to loud music, or when the dog is barking – and your baby can also hear you and your partner talking, particularly if you’re in a quiet environment. Your baby doesn’t have much body fat, but he or she is continuing to put on weight and grow, and by birth he or she should have a bit of padding which will help keep your baby warm out in the world (with the help of clothing, blankets, and cuddles).
The eyes have it
At this point in your pregnancy you might notice your eyes feel red, dry, gritty, and even a little bit sore or crusty when you wake up in the morning, and your contacts don’t fit well or feel uncomfortable. You may also have noticed that your eyesight has worsened (particularly if you wear glasses or contacts). These eye changes are the result of – you guessed it – pregnancy hormones. Before you resort to over-the-counter remedies, pay
a visit to your GP or optometrist, as some eye treatments are not suitable for pregnant women. If you wear contacts, you might have to switch to glasses for the duration. And pregnancy is probably not the best time to invest in a new pair of glasses or a new contact prescription, as your eyesight will likely go back to normal once your baby is born and your hormone levels normalise.
Your amazing uterus
Your uterus is about the size of a basketball right now – and from the beginning to the end of pregnancy, it will grow from about the size of an avocado to the size of a watermelon. When you’re ready to give birth, your uterus will extend from your pubic area to the bottom of your rib cage. After birth, your uterus will return to its pre-pregnancy size and position within about six weeks – this process is called involution.
One of side effects you might suffer around this time is constipation. Try eating fibre-rich foods like whole-grain bread, cereals, brown rice, and lentils , as they’re high in vitamin B, and talk to your LMC or pharmacist if it isn’t easing.
Trouble sleeping? Many mums swear by pregnancy pillows, which are specially designed to support your growing bump. You can get full-body versions or even belly wedges to help you sleep more comfortably.
WEEK 23: Your baby is the size of an aubergine (21cm, 500g) and his or her lungs are developing and maturing.
WEEK 24: Your baby is the size of an ear of corn (22cm, 680g) and has a fully formed face.
WEEK 25: Your baby is the size of a head of broccoli (23cm, 750g) and has functioning vocal chords.
WEEK 26: Your baby is the size of a head of lettuce (24cm, 900g) and his or her eyes are beginning to open.
WEEK 27: Your baby is the size of a head of cauliflower (38cm head to toe, 950g) and can have dreams.
BUMP & baby is New Zealand’s only magazine for pregnancy and early babyhood. Our team of mums and mums-to-be understand what it’s like to be pregnant in this connected age, and that’s why BUMP & Baby online is geared toward what pregnant women and new mums really want to know.