Ah, Month FOUR. This is considered, by many, to be the beginning of the “Golden Phase” of pregnancy. You’ve reached the much talked about SECOND TRIMESTER! Congratulations to you and baby.
By the fourth month, any pregnancy-related nausea is probably beginning to fade or may even disappear entirely. You will notice a return of your normal energy levels – although you still need plenty of rest and may feel a little less peppy than your pre-pregnancy self.
Odds are, especially for first-timers, this is the first time you will be able to see a distinguishable “baby bump” – as opposed to the less-inspiring, “my waist just looks thicker…” that you’ll experience during Month One, Month Two and Month Three. You will also hear a crystal clear heartbeat.
Your Fourth Month of Pregnancy: What’s Going On in There Now?
The aforementioned distinguishable bump is the result of your fast-growing uterus, which is now shaped like a soft smooth ball and beginning to encroach on the abdominal cavity. As for your baby, she’s growing fast, but things are still pretty roomy in there. The head is still disproportionately large for her body, but the baby’s body shape is unmistakable.
Eyes are moving from the sides to a more central location on her face, the wrist and ankles have formed. Your baby’s details are so complete that she already has a unique fingerprint. By the middle of this month, your baby will begin learning about herself a little more as she moves and stretches. You might even see her sucking a thumb in an ultrasound picture. Most fun of all, this is the time when baby will begin to respond to environmental stimuli. While the sound of your voice has long been familiar, now baby will begin to wriggle away from a belly poke or may respond physically to a bright light shone outside your belly wall. You can begin to develop another dynamic of your special relationship.
While your baby’s body is covered by a very fine layer of hair, called lanugo, you will also begin to see the eyebrows forming. Hair on the crown of the head is more visible too. By the end of the month, your baby will be about six-inches long and will weigh approximately six ounces.
What’s Going on For Your Body?
You’re very aware of what is happening externally – your belly continues to grow, breasts may be larger and more tender, and your nipples will also begin to darken in preparation for breastfeeding. Pregnancy hormones can cause the bowel muscles to loosen a bit. This is the same type of hormone-induced “loosening” that is occurring in the pelvis area and groin to get ready for childbirth. As a result of loosened bowels, however, you may find you are constipated. Make sure you are drinking ample water, eating lots of vegetables and fruits, and increasing your fiber intake, if necessary. Light exercise at least three to five times a week will also help.
If you haven’t already purchased maternity clothes, now is the time to do it. You still feel pretty energetic (things start to slow down again in the third trimester), so it will be fun to bond with family or friends as you shop for clothes that will expand with you.
Since baby is learning to stretch and move, this is the month you are most likely to feel your baby flutter, kick or swim if you haven’t already. It’s an exciting sensation, but it can also wreak havoc on your sleep cycles. Developing babies are famous for sleeping most of the day and waking at night when your body is at rest. You may want to start sleeping on your left side as much as possible to increase your circulation, and start experimenting with pillows to keep yourself comfortable. Most women enjoy sleeping with a pillow between their legs when lying on their sides or under the knees when lying on their back. Don’t forget to get those feet up as much as you can.
Has life gotten in the way of your first prenatal appointment? Give Overlake OBGYN a call and experience prenatal care the way it should be, surrounded by a supportive team of OBs and Midwives. (425)-454-3366. We look forward to meeting you both.