At six months, you may feel as though you'll be pregnant forever, but the final trimester will come and go before you know it. Take some time this month to savor pregnancy and treat yourself to some of the indulgences that only a mother-to-be can pull off.
Month Six Checklist
- Take a day off and pamper yourself.
- Start putting together your birth plan.
- Think about who you want in the delivery room.
- Begin listing baby names.
Feeling a rhythmic lurch in your abdomen? Your little girl probably has the hiccups, a common phenomenon thought to be brought on by drinking and/or breathing amniotic fluid. They'll go away on their own, eventually.
The once-transparent skin of your baby is starting to thicken, and sweat glands are developing below the skin surface. She's over a foot long now, and by the end of the month she may weigh up to two pounds.
Your Body's Changes
Your uterus extends well above your navel now. You may actually be seeing fetal movement across your abdomen as your baby gets comfortable in her shrinking living space. You will also notice that your feet have begun to swell. This is a result of the dramatic increase in blood volume you've experienced, which is feeding excess fluids to surrounding tissues, resulting in edema (or water retention). To make matters worse, the weight of your uterus is requiring the veins in your legs to work double time to pump all that extra blood back to your heart. Estrogen also increases the amount of fluid your tissues absorb.
The result of all this is puffy and sometimes aching feet. Putting your feet up when you can, wearing comfortable low-heeled shoes, and soaking your feet in cool water are all good ways to ease the discomfort. Special compression stockings, available at medical supply stores, may also be helpful.
If you experience sudden and severe swelling of the face and hands, call your doctor or midwife immediately. It may be a sign of preeclampsia, also called toxemia, a condition that is potentially hazardous to both you and your baby. Other signs of preeclampsia include:
- High blood pressure
- Visual disturbances
- Sudden excessive weight gain
- Protein in the urine
Symptoms on the menu yet again this month include the following. Check off any that you are experiencing so that you can ask your doctor or midwife about them and to track the progress of your pregnancy:Nausea
Tender and/or swollen breasts
Excess mucus and saliva
Increase in vaginal discharge
Mild shortness of breath
Lightheadedness or dizziness
Skin and hair changes
Round ligament pain or soreness
Lower back aches
Mild swelling of legs, feet, and hands
On Your Mind
As you sidle up to the third trimester starting line, try to take advantage of these final days of relative comfort and sit back and savor your pregnancy. Try each of these ways to pamper yourself:
- Splurge for a day spa treatment.
- Spend a lazy afternoon curled up with a good book.
- Cool off with a dish of your favorite Ben & Jerry's flavor.
- Enjoy a nice, relaxing soak in the tub.
- Take a scenic weekend drive with no deadlines or particular destination.
- Use the valet service to park instead of hiking from the lot.
- Order healthy carry-out fare from your favorite restaurant.
At the Doctor's or Midwife's Office
There will be more of the same this month as your provider checks your weight and fundal height, listens to your baby's heartbeat, and finds out about any new pregnancy symptoms you may be experiencing. Your doctor or midwife will also require the usual urine sample and blood pressure check.
If you weren't given an oral glucose tolerance test to screen for gestational diabetes last month, it will probably be administered now.