Month Six! Wow. We bet time is flying by now, and where nine months seemed far, far away when you first got pregnant, your due date may now feel like it’s approaching at a rapid fire rate. Month Five of your pregnancy sure brought some exciting changes, didn’t it? Now, your baby looks like a “real” baby in there – no more tails, divided faces, or super-disproportionate anatomy.
Things are really shaping up for Baby, and you are really shaping out! Here’s what all that shaping up and out is leading to during your sixth month.
Your Sixth Month of Pregnancy: What’s Going On In There Now?
Prior to this month, your baby was a lump of developing skin, organs and bones – without a whole lot of cushion. During Month 6, baby will start to put on fat. Even so, his skin will appear with wrinkles and folds in an ultrasound because it takes a bit more fat to fill out completely. You’ll also notice that your baby’s transparent skin will become more opaque this month, hiding all of his internal bones and organs. He will continue to develop vernix, that waxy-creamy substance we talked about last month, that helps to protect his skin from constant exposure to amniotic fluid.
Although you won’t see any signs of them for many months, your baby is starting to grow all of his teeth – the baby teeth that will begin to emerge a few months after he’s born, as well as his adult teeth. His eyelids and brows are completely developed and this month he will also begin producing white blood cells, which are critical in fighting off disease and infection when he enters the real world.
His ability to see changes in light and recognize sounds is growing sharper. In fact, you may even feel like you are beginning to form a closer relationship with your baby as he moves, kicks and pushes in response to your own talking, singing or belly play.
Have you felt your baby hiccup yet? If not, you probably will soon. Some babies hiccup more than others and it simply means that they ingested or breathed in a little amniotic fluid. It’s nothing to worry about and hiccups will go away on their own, just like yours do (they can make for restless sleeping when they happen at night, though…). Your baby’s heartbeat is much stronger now and, if your tummy and the room are quiet, your partner may be able to hear the baby’s heartbeat by placing an ear to your belly.
By the end of this month, his finger and toe prints will be visible and his eyes will begin to open for the first time.
What’s Going On In Your Body?
And that brings us to the subject of your beautiful, round and ever-growing belly. And no wonder! Your baby is growing so fast, and your body is accommodating that with additional amniotic and blood, that you are expected to gain about a pound each week this month.
Isn’t it amazing to watch your skin and abdominal muscles stretch before your very eyes? We’d all like to wish there was a magic “stretch mark” solution. In fact, there isn’t. Stretch marks have more to do with skin elasticity and genetics (if your mom or sister had them, you are more prone to get them as well). However, all that tight belly skin can be awfully itchy, so a heavy body cream, like cocoa butter, can feel wonderful rubbed on a few times a day to keep the itching at bay.
Increased pressure from your expanding uterus can also cause hemorrhoids. You can use donut-shaped pillows and occasional ice packs or witch hazel to provide relief. Sitz baths – shallow baths with warm water – can also help. Medicated pads or over-the-counter hemorrhoid creams are fine but do not use laxatives or mineral oil. Are your legs and feet cramping? Talk to your OB or Midwife about increasing your calcium, magnesium and potassium intake.
This may be the month when you notice your feet begin to swell and ache more frequently. Drink plenty of water and get those feet up whenever you can. If your swelling seems dramatic, it comes on very suddenly, you notice it’s spreading to your hands, feet or face and/or it’s accompanied by a headache, give your doctor a call and check in as this can be a sign of pre-eclampsia.
Have questions about your pregnancy changes? Interested in speaking with a birth team that uses both OB/GYNs and Midwives? Contact us at Overlake OB/GYN.