With the beginning of the 4th month (14-17 weeks) into pregnancy, the mother enters the phase of second trimester which is more pleasant than the first three months. The hormonal production is taken over by placenta, which gives relief to the body of the mother. There is slight increase in heartbeat as the body demands more blood at this stage.
The most wonderful moment of the whole nine months of pregnancy happens when the mother feels the kick of the baby inside her womb.
Changes in the baby
The baby continuous to grow and the organs which have formed in the first trimester of pregnancy develop and mature for proper functioning. Besides spontaneous movements, the baby will now go through periods of being awake and asleep.
- Facial features appear with development of ears, and setting of eyes in front of face.
- The baby can blink now as the eyelids have formed.
- Thick downy hair called lanugo covers the skin.
- The fetus can produce bile, insulin and urine on its own.
- The baby begins to harden with development of bones.
- The umbilical cord is still growing so as to carry enough nourishment to the fetus.
- All teeth are formed.
- The heart pumps about 25 quarts of blood every day.
- Gender becomes predictable.
- The baby starts sucking the thumb, swallow the amniotic fluid and pass it out as urine.
- By the end of 4th month, the baby weighs 85 grams and measures 16 cm in length.
Changes in the mom to be
The changes in the abdomen are visible now, if it was not in the third month of pregnancy. The mother will be able to feel the child nurturing and growing inside her womb with the first kick it throws at her, which will take her mind off all the anxiety and worries she had in the beginning.
- The energy level goes up as meals stay down with subsiding nausea.
- The placenta is fully functional and provides nourishment and oxygen to baby.
- There is weight gain of nearly 11 -15 pounds during this month.
- Appetite increases.
- Mild shortness of breath is observed.
- Increased blood supply along with hormone alterations will cause bleeding gums, nasal congestion and nose bleeds.
- The prominent visible changes in the body can overwhelm the mom-to-be.
- Increased pressure on the rectal veins may lead to hemorrhoids.
Tips for the 4th month
As most of the problems arise due to disturbed digestive system in the fourth month of pregnancy, it becomes more important to concentrate on healthy diet in order not to further aggravate the problems. Plenty of water, exercise and high fiber diet can help prevent constipation, heartburn and hemorrhoids.
- Eat small meals more frequently to avoid feeling full.
- Take in plenty of water and other fluids.
- Eating lots of fruit and vegetables can help ease constipation and other digestive system related problems.
- Try sleeping on the left side.
- Take iron supplements.
- Make use of pillows to support your body.
- If needed, go for prenatal testing using amniocentesis, or alpha-fetoprotein (AFP) testing for neural tube defects.