Fetal Development: Week by Week Guide: Month 5

By the end of month 4, your baby weighs about 300 grams and is approximately 10 inches in size. The size of your baby can be measured because the fetus starts uncurling by this stage. It is around this time that you start feeling your baby’s kicking. This is when most women get an ultrasound done. By now, your baby’s heart and blood vessels are fully functioning, digestive system has started functioning, fingers and toes have prints, and the details of the face can be distinguished, along with the sex of the baby. As you progress into the 5th month, beginning at 21 weeks, there are many more changes yet to come.

What comes next? Read on…

Week 21

At 21 weeks, your baby is slightly heavier and bigger than the prior period, weighing around 360 grams at about 10.5 inches in length. At this stage, your baby starts growing more than the placenta. From transparency, the skin turns pinkish-reddish due to the formation of blood capillaries in the body. Facial features such as eyebrows and lips become more well-defined and eye movements can be recorded. Now that the baby has started kicking, you shouldn’t expect it to stop anytime soon. If you pay close enough attention to the kicking, it becomes possible to identify your baby’s patterns of sleep as well, which could help you out in the long run.

Week 22

By the end of the 22nd week, your baby is about as big as a small coconut. Baby fat is yet to develop. Eyes are completely formed, save for the pigment in the iris, and fingernails also grow. If your baby is a girl, her mammary glands start to develop in this week. If your baby is a boy, his testes begin their slow descent from the pelvis into the scrotum. It is at this stage that a by-product of the digestive system, meconium, starts to accumulate in the bowel, which is what is excreted as the first bowel movement after birth.

Week 23

At 23 weeks, the fetus weighs approximately 500 grams and is approx.11 and a half inches in length. Your baby is now able to hear and recognize sounds more clearly which is why you might feel more kicks in response to your partner’s or your voice. These kicks and movements can often be seen from the outside, on the surface of the stomach, in addition to being felt inside. With respect to organ function in this stage, the bone marrow starts producing blood cells, which, till now, was being done by the liver and spleen.

Week 24

The last stage of the 5th month is week 24. At this stage, your baby weighs about 600 grams. A baby’s brain development in this stage is rapid, and sleep patterns become more defined than earlier; that is, not to say that they will coincide with your own. You will now feel your baby responding more to sounds. The inner ear is completely developed which means your baby will attain a sense of balance. In addition to all of this, your baby may get hiccups which you might, most probably, be able to feel and notice on the surface.

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