At the beginning of your pregnancy your endocrine system worked feverishly to make the hormones your uterus and baby needed to grow. Around halfway through your pregnancy your placenta takes over the production of most of these hormones. This explains why you feel better physically; placental hormone production does not have as many side effects on mother as maternal hormone production does.
Nevertheless, you are still likely to find that your emotions are more intense than before you were pregnant. Many moms-to-be are surprised at how easily they weep – even McDonald’s commercials can make them cry. Luckily, month five typically is filled with many good feelings, or at least less ambivalence. Here are some common feelings moms-to-be have in the fifth month:
Now that it’s obvious to the world that you are growing a baby, you can enjoy the perks that may come with your observable status. The clerk at the supermarket may offer to help you load your groceries into the car. Passers-by may glance your way with a look of admiration. It may seem to you that you’ve gone up a few notches in the eyes of many people whose respect; admiration, awe, and tenderness suggest they know you are doing the most important job in the world – growing a baby.
Last month, hearing swooshes of the heartbeat and perhaps also seeing the tiny body on the ultrasound screen were reassuring signs that there really is a baby inside you. Now finally you feel baby move – unquestionable proof that you really are going to be a mother.
The nesting instinct, so much a part of the folklore of later pregnancy, often shows itself for the first time around the fifth month. Coincident with a spurt of energy, you may have a sudden urge to clean house, even to extremes you’ve never tackled before (wall-washing anyone?). You may find that where you once were outgoing, you now prefer to keep to your nest, like a brood hen.
Just as your body is focused on nourishing a new life, your mind may become preoccupied with the little person you share space with. You may want to be alone to meditate or just think about your baby. You will probably enjoy long periods of doing nothing more than feeling baby’s kicks. These mental digressions are normal and necessary, as they help you prepare for the reality of being somebody’s mother.
Many women feel what we label the “mommy brain” – you can’t quite get a fix on what you want to say, you fight harder for simple vocabulary sometimes. You can be forgetful or “spacey.” If you don’t know about this it can be quite alarming, especially if you aren’t sure if you will get your old brain back later. If you do know, you can make allowances for it, even laugh at it. These momentary memory lapses rarely interfere with a pregnant woman’s ability to carry on her job.
The whole world wants to help you grow your baby. Seeing a pregnant woman seems to bring out the busybody in everyone. (Wait till you have a new baby – it gets worse!) This is a good time to learn to ignore unhelpful advice and become more discerning about whose opinion you value.
Anytime during pregnancy, especially during the middle trimester, some women have panic attacks: gasping for air, difficulty breathing, fast heartbeat (palpitations), and feeling like your chest is closing up. These may awaken you in the middle of the night. If one of these comes on, check into relaxation mode, and convince yourself “I’m o.k.” These episodes pass quickly, reassuring you there’s really nothing to panic about.