Mother and Baby

Six months pregnant - everything you need to know

Section: Month by Month
six months pregnant: advice, symptoms and what to expect

You have arrived at month six of your pregnancy (23-27 weeks pregnant). You're probably losing sleep, feeling mega hungry and panic buying things you don't even need. 

How big is my baby at six months?

At the start of the six-month range, around 23 weeks pregnant, your baby should be about 11 inches long and weighing just over a pound which is the same size as a grapefruit. During these four weeks your baby will go through rapid growth, doubling in weight. Near the 27 weeks pregnant mark, they could weigh nearly two pounds and be around 14 and a half inches long - about the size of a head of broccoli.

Should I be eating for two?

Once you’ve rested those swollen ankles sufficiently, it’s time to get all Nigella in the kitchen...or maybe not quite Nigella with all that butter and cake and sweet stuff, because it turns out that pregnancy is not an excuse to eat endless treats...so maybe pick another food guru, but do eat and do eat well. By now, you could eat a horse, all the time, at every meal. Your body is in overdrive and you need fuel.

But, what to eat? You can, of course, treat yourself to tea and biccies here and there but what you and baby need is nutrition so this is a great time to finally embrace kale, or almonds or find out what ‘eating clean’ means (it’s nothing to do with washing up). Now is definitely not the time for dieting, but it’s just a good time to take stock of what you’re eating and to say ‘OK, cakes are not appropriate for breakfast, lunch and dinner.’ Just make sure you get some goodness in there and stick to a good nutritious diet. You could try adding some superfoods to give you an extra nutrient boost.

If you are struggling to control your eating during pregnancy, it is always a good idea to keep up exercise. Exercise is perfectly safe during pregnancy and you can try a calming yoga or pilates session to stretch those aching muscles and make you feel relaxed. If that doesn't grab you, a gentle walk is really all you need to burn a few calories, make you feel good and most importantly, slow down that weight gain.

7 ways pregnancy is changing your body at 6 months:

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1) Baby bump

Until now that bump has gone up and down like an inflatable with an infuriating slow puncture. You get into bed at night feeling huge, admiring that growing tummy in the mirror and then, you wake up as flat as a pancake again wondering ‘erm, where’s my baby gone?’

But, not any more! By six months you're likely to have a definite baby bump going on and it feels good. You’ve probably never been prouder of anything and quite right too. And frankly, everyone else around you is glad of that burgeoning bump as they can finally banish the ‘is she or isn’t she?’ conversations they’ve been having behind your (slightly wider) back.
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2) Swelling

It’s around now that you might notice your ankles, feet and hands becoming swollen. First of all, if you didn’t already have a visible enough excuse to put your feet up, you really do now so get them up whenever you can and rest. Mostly swelling is all part and parcel of the pregnancy process and frankly, if you don’t have at least a short period of looking and feeling like the Michelin Man then you have been short-changed of this glamorous experience. But, do mention any swelling that you feel is excessive to your GP or midwife.
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3) Cravings and increased appetite

At this stage, your baby is really growing and developing so your appetite can go through the roof. Providing fuel for both them and you is a hungry business. Your body needs extra nutrients and vitamins to support your babies organs which can result in weird cravings. Make sure you don't deprive yourself but don't go overboard. Opt for healthy things like fruit, vegetables and whole grains over junk.
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4) Snoring

Pregnant women often experience snoring at this stage of pregnancy because of pesky hormones. High levels of oestrogen and progesterone cause the blood vessels in your nose to open wider as well as the swelling of your mucous membranes - all this contributes to congestion and snoring.
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5) Backache

All that rapid weight gain puts a strain on your back and causes backache. Backache is pretty common throughout pregnancy due to the rapid changes your body is going through - the growth of your uterus can cause your lower back to curve and the hormone relaxin loosens your muscles and joints which can leave you feeling achey.
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6) Itchniness

At the six-month mark you may start experiencing an itchy stomach/abdomen. As your baby is nearly fully developed, your skin is stretching to accommodate the growth of your uterus. This skin stretching can leave you feeling itchy and dry - try a stretch mark oil and drink water to keep yourself hydrated.
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7) Constipation and indigestion

The type of indigestion you suffer during the first trimester is down to rapid hormonal changes. Whereas at six months, indigestion comes because your uterus is expanding and pressing on the bowel. Keep drinking water to aid your digestion.

Are you getting enough (any?) sleep?

Getting a good night's sleep during pregnancy is important but tossing and turning has taken on a new meaning this month. As mother nature gives you a taste of what it’s like to be up half the night, you’re ready to swing for the next person who says ‘get used to it’. It might be a tad early for sleeplessness yet, but it will kick in at some point and the reasons for it are delightfully varied and endless.

If it’s not your bladder nagging you to get up, it’s the simple fact that you no longer have any idea how to get comfortable. If there is one enjoyable part of being kept awake, it has to be the wiggling sensations of your little one in the depths of the night. There’s nothing quite like the moment you find yourself giggling in the darkness as you and your precious cargo share a moment of wakefulness in the quiet of the night.

And then there are all those digs in the ribs - but as the third-trimester rolls in you might have to figure out who’s doing the digging, the baby or your partner?

If it’s the latter then you might be one of those mummies to be who has started snoring. In fact, you might even be waking yourself up with all that racket! It’s another common side effect of hormones and weight gain in pregnancy so don’t worry too much and certainly don’t be embarrassed. If you’re snoring, then you’re sleeping and this is good.

You need to be well rested so that you can shop for all that stuff you’re going to need when the baby comes along. It’s around about now that you’ll really start feeling the need to purchase cots and bottles and gadgets. This is often a consequence of the desperate need to prepare and nest for your little one. You’ll no doubt buy things that will be utterly useless and never see the light of day but how are you supposed to know? If in doubt, check out the Mother & Baby Awards page as it is packed full of products that we know will prove useful!

 

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