At 5 months pregnant -- about 20 weeks -- you are halfway through your pregnancy and in the middle of your second trimester. Most women experience fewer pregnancy symptoms in this trimester than in the first and third trimester. Your baby is large enough to feel moving, but not yet big enough to put pressure on your organs and joints. Symptoms during your fifth month vary among women and may differ from one pregnancy to the next.
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One of the most exciting symptoms of pregnancy occurs between week 16 and 20 -- you begin to feel your baby move. First-time moms might have more difficulty identifying the sensation -- which feels like a feather stroking your insides or gas bubbles -- than moms who have other children. Experienced mother generally feel movement a few weeks before first-timers. Your baby's position in the uterus can also determine how early you feel that first flutter.
Heartburn is one of the few symptoms of pregnancy that can stay with you from beginning to end. At 20 weeks, your growing baby is approximately at the level of your navel and beginning to push upward on your stomach. This combined with relaxation of the lower esophageal sphincter -- the muscular band between your esophagus and stomach -- allows acid in your stomach to rise into your esophagus, resulting in heartburn. Some over-the-counter preparations antacids are considered safe during pregnancy, but talk with your doctor to be sure.
Your breasts continue to enlarge throughout pregnancy. At about week 20, your breasts will start producing colostrum -- the thick, yellowish fluid that will nourish your baby initially after birth, until your milk comes in. It usually does not flow freely, like breast milk will later on, but you might be able to express a few drops from your breasts. Your nipples will continue to darken, while the small bumps around the nipples, called Mongomery's glands, will enlarge. You may also notice prominent veins just under the skin, and stretch marks may develop.
Pregnancy affects all body tissues, including those inside your mouth. Between 16 and 24 weeks gestation is the best time to seek dental care, because the baby has formed all its major organs and has not yet grown large enough to make you uncomfortable when you lie back for an exam. Pregnancy gingivitis -- an inflammation of the gums related high levels of estrogen -- can cause your gums to bleed at around 20 weeks. Good oral hygiene and brushing with a soft brush can help decrease gum bleeding. Despite what you might have heard, it is not common for women to lose teeth during pregnancy.
Increased estrogen and progesterone levels along with increased melanin production cause darkening of various areas of the skin in around 90 percent of pregnant women, according to the medical text "Foundations of Maternal-Newborn and Women's Health Nursing." Around 70 percent of pregnant women develop darkened areas around the cheeks, forehead and nose, a condition commonly known as the "mask of pregnancy." You might also notice a dark line forming that extends from your pubic bone to your navel.
- Sex and Society; Marshall Cavendish Corporation
- Journal of Cinical and Dignostic Research: Dental Considerations in Pregnancy-A Critical Review on the Oral Care
- Breastfeeding Management for the Clinician; Marsha Walker
- Foundations of Maternal-Newborn and Women's Health Nursing; Sharon Smith Murray and Emily Slone McKinney