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What you need to know about the fifth month of pregnancy?

The Vessel:  By now you are adapting to your pregnancy – the symptoms you were experiencing are now lessening or have stopped altogether.  Your appetite has returned and some women find themselves making up for lost time as they begin craving certain foods.  Be sure to get all the nutrients you need as your baby has started to grow at an alarming pace and would require certain nutrients such as calcium, iron and magnesium.

The first time mother may now experience fetal movement but an experienced mother may have felt those little twinges sooner as she would have known what to expect.

The Passenger:  Your baby is about five inches long and growing fast.  At this time you’ll be able to feel more fetal movement as the baby’s bones are hardening.  Her ears have now matured and can detect sound and this will be a good time to start singing or reading to your baby if you haven’t starting doing so already.  An ultrasound may show your baby making faces and well-defined fingers and toes.

What you need to know:

Swelling of limbs and joints or edema:  Edema, a normal part of pregnancy, is the swelling of the soft tissue in the legs and hands.  It can sometimes be accompanied by pain in the heel, arch and balls of the feet.  This is caused when the uterus presses up on the major vein that transports blood to the lower extremities, slowing the circulation and resulting in the accumulation of blood in the legs.

It can also be caused by excess water being retained in the body, which is also normal during pregnancy.  If the face becomes puffy and excessive swelling of the hands are also present consult a doctor immediately as this may be a symptom of preeclampsia or high blood pressure.

Drinking more fluids that will help to flush out excess fluids can prevent edema.  Avoid sitting for long periods of time and when you do keep your feet elevated.  It will also help if you take short walks regularly and avoid crossing your legs or ankles.

What you need to know about the fifth month of pregnancy?

Wear support hose during the day or at periods when you’re on your feet a lot – knee high ones are more comfortable.  Edema can also be prevented by eating a balanced diet, steering clear of excessive salt (some salt is recommended though not excessively) and some doctors recommend including flax seed in your diet as this can help lower your blood pressure.

Preeclampsia:  Preeclampsia or toxaemia is pregnancy induced high blood pressure and can be detected by a high blood pressure reading and protein in the urine.  Additionally, preeclampsia can cause swelling of the face, hands and legs.  Your doctor, in addition to checking your blood pressure, will check you legs and hands for signs of swelling.  Women who have a history of hypertension or are carrying multiples, are over forty or are of African descent are at a greater risk for the condition.

If you are receiving regular prenatal care, preeclampsia can be detected early and will be treated with few negative side effects.  If left untreated preeclampsia can progress resulting in headaches with blurred vision, abnormal kidney function and abdominal pain.  Hypertension in pregnancy will be alleviated by delivery of the baby so doctors will induce some women who are close to their delivery date.  If you are not close to delivery, you will be prescribed bed rest (lie on your left side) or meds to help manage the condition.  If any of the above symptoms increase contact your doctor immediately as this may be a sign that your symptoms are worsening.