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4 Months Pregnant: Symptoms, Baby Development And Diet Tips

4 Months Pregnant

The fourth month will mark the beginning of your second trimester, that spans between weeks 13 and 16. You will experience a lot of changes as you get closer to the big day. You feel more energized, while the chances of miscarriage diminish during this period. In this MomJunction post, we tell you what is going on with you and your developing baby, and things to keep an eye on in the fourth month of pregnancy.

What Symptoms Do You Experience In The Fourth Month Of Pregnancy?

As you enter the fourth month, most side effects of the first trimester reduce and new symptoms and changes occur (1) (2):

  • Constipation: The increasing progesterone levels alter the digestion process causing delayed bowel movements and constipation. Drinking lots of water and including a high fiber diet will alleviate this discomfort and eases digestion.
  • Frequent urination: Your expanding uterus applies additional pressure on the bladder. You will, therefore, have a frequent urge to urinate.
  • Shortness of breath: Your growing belly will also apply pressure on the lungs, making it difficult to breathe properly. It is therefore common to experience shortness of breath or rapid breathing.
  • Heartburn: With the growing bump, there is additional pressure on the digestive system. This will also push the stomach acids upward, causing heartburn. Dietary changes can help reduce the stress on the digestive tract.
  • Bleeding gums: Pregnancy hormones soften the gums and increase their sensitivity. This would cause bruising and bleeding while brushing the teeth.
  • Nosebleeds: Increased blood supply in the nose puts more pressure on the tiny blood vessels inside the nose. This will make them more susceptible to rupture, resulting in a nosebleed.
  • Morning sickness: Although common in the first trimester, nausea and vomiting can be experienced in the later months of pregnancy too.
  • Vaginal discharge: The hormonal changes in the body will also lead to increased white vaginal discharge.

[ Read: 5th Month Pregnancy Care ]

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Body Changes During Fourth Month Of Pregnancy

The most evident change you will notice is a bigger belly or a visible baby bump. Here are the other physical changes you will notice in the 4th month.

  • Skin changes: Your skin is also likely to undergo some changes during pregnancy. The increasing pregnancy hormones will cause blotchy skin in some. Take care of the skin using mild cleansers, moisturizers, and lotions.
  • Breast changes: From the beginning of the fourth month, the nipples and areola will become darker. Also, the veins will become more prominent as the blood circulation increases.
  • Edema: Swelling in the feet, ankles, and face is likely to develop from the fourth month of pregnancy that will last until your due date. Taking frequent breaks in between, avoiding standing or sitting for extended periods will help alleviate the swelling.
  • Varicose veins: Increased blood volume in the body will enlarge the veins in the legs, thus causing varicose veins.

There is no need to worry about mild changes, which are common during this time of pregnancy.

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How Big Is Your Belly In The Fourth Month?

By the end of the fourth month of pregnancy, your uterus is about the size of a head of cabbage. The top of the uterus lies just below the belly button.

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Baby’s Development in the Fourth Month of Pregnancy

While you experience the above changes, your developing baby also undergoes many changes that are listed below (3) (4).

Body PartsDevelopmental Stage
Facial featuresEars, eyes, nose, hair and other facial features become more pronounced
EarsEar bones begin to get hard; outer ears develop
NeckFormed
SkinTransparent skin with visible veins; fat cells start to form under the skin
LungsBegin to develop but not functional as respiratory organs
Musculoskeletal systemBones and muscles are developing
HairLanugo covers the body that offers protection to the soft skin
EyelashesStart developing
FingerprintsBecome unique
TailCompletely disappears
Arms and legsCan flex
KidneysFunctional

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How Does A Fourth Month Baby Look Like In The Womb?

By the fourth month, your baby is the size of a large orange that weighs about six ounces and measures 6 to 7 inches in length (5).

[ Read: 13th Week Pregnancy ]

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Baby’s Movement In The Fourth Month

The baby tends to move four or more times in an hour at this stage. You will feel the movements as light sensations along your lower abdomen. They are called quickening movements that are similar to a fluttering or bubbling in the abdomen (5).

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What Do You Need To Know In Your Fourth Month Of Pregnancy?

Here are a few things to remember as you enter into your second trimester (6).

Dos during the 4th month of pregnancy

  • Continue to perform regular exercises after the doctor’s approval. Go for regular walks, yoga, swimming or any other workout of your choice to promote safe and easy delivery.
  • Sleep on your left side using cushions around your side and between your legs for comfort. It will also improve blood circulation to the developing fetus.
  • Nosebleeds, stuffy nose and blocked ears are common during the 4th month. Carry enough tissues, and keep the needed medication with you at all times.
  • Buy some maternity clothes as your abdominal muscles start to stretch rapidly. Your regular clothes will be tight and uncomfortable now.
  • Indulge in sex as maintaining intimacy with your partner is very important. However, take your doctor’s advice beforehand.
  • Go for a regular dental check-up to avoid oral complications with bleeding gums.

Don’ts during the 4th month of pregnancy

  • Stay away from alcohol as the fetus could get fetal alcohol syndrome (FAS).
  • Avoid cleaning cat litter as it could increase the risk of allergies.
  • Do not use hot tub baths or saunas as high temperature might be dangerous for the growing fetus.
  • Quit smoking as those who smoke are likely to give birth to low weight babies that are at a higher risk of disabilities.

Diet tips for the 4th month

  • Be careful of what you eat and how much you include. Include enough vitamins and supplements in your diet since the growing baby requires proper nourishment (7).
  • Include iron-rich foods such as fish, meat, liver, tofu, soybeans, nuts and seeds, brown rice, dark green leafy vegetables, eggs, and dried fruits. They help in meeting the increasing iron requirement.
  • Eat fiber-rich foods such as oatmeal, barley, flaxseeds, chia seeds, almonds, pistachios, pecans, broccoli, green peas, sweet corn, raspberries, strawberries, apples, bananas, figs, and pears.
  • Calcium foods including milk, yogurt, cheese, kale, watercress, okra, broccoli, and almonds are essential for fetal bone development.
  • Zinc-rich foods include lamb, beef, wheat germ, spinach, mushrooms, squash and pumpkin seeds. They help in the development of healthy immune and nervous system.
  • Vitamin C foods include bell peppers, sweet potatoes, tomatoes, cauliflower, broccoli, leafy greens, and cabbage. It is a key nutrient for iron absorption.
  • Have foods rich in omega fatty acids including vegetable oils, soybeans, walnuts, almonds, sardines, chia and flax seeds.
  • Have at least five portions of fruits and vegetables every day.
  • Include protein foods such as nuts, seeds, legumes, meat, chicken, soybeans and quinoa, and carbohydrates including rice, bread, pasta, and potatoes.
  • Avoid refined flour (maida) as it can increase blood sugar levels.
  • Avoid ocean fish such as king mackerel, white tuna, and swordfish that contain mercury. Include freshwater fish (trout and salmon).
  • Avoid soft cheeses (Brie) and blue cheese (camembert) as they might cause food listeria poisoning. Include only hard cheeses such as cheddar and parmesan.
  • Do not include raw or undercooked eggs. Eat only properly cooked or pasteurized eggs.
  • Avoid having excess tea or coffee as overindulging in caffeine is harmful.
  • Drink enough water – pregnant women need to have at least two to three liters of water every day.
  • Avoid spicy foods, fried foods, and foods containing excessive salts and sugars.

[ Read:  4th Month Pregnancy Diet ]

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What To Expect During Your Visit To OB/GYN?

You should visit your doctor more frequently from the fourth month to check up on the health and development of the baby. Your doctor will usually recommend the following tests (4) (8).

  • Physical examination: Your weight and blood pressure are checked. Also, parts such as breast, abdomen, and vagina are examined.
  • Ultrasound scan: This is conducted to analyze the baby’s development.
  • Heartbeat: Doppler ultrasound is used to check the fetal heartbeat.
  • Alpha-fetoprotein screening: This is done around 16 weeks of pregnancy to screen the presence of Down’s syndrome or spina bifida.
  • Triple test: Also referred to as Bart’s, triple test screens for hormones such as oestriol and hCG in the blood
  • Edema test: The measure of swelling is examined as abnormal swelling indicates gestational diabetes, preeclampsia, or blood clotting.

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Ultrasound During The Fourth Month

The ultrasound scanning determines the fetal gender as external genitals would have developed by this stage (9). It will also show the facial features the baby had developed, including the forehead, eyes, and nose. It will, therefore, determine the major physical defects in the baby.

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What Are The Common Concerns During The Fourth Month Pregnancy?

Certain changes can be worrisome for you and your partner. To better understand them, discuss with your doctor sooner.

  • Increase in appetite and weight gain is common, and also your likes and dislikes for foods may change starting from this period.
  • Constipation and heartburn are common, but you should consult your doctor before using any medicines for it.
  • You should be careful with the sex if you have a history of a high-risk pregnancy or a miscarriage.

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Tips For Dads-To-Be

The dad-to-be also has to do certain things to understand what the pregnant mom is going through. A few things he can do include:

  • Help with household chores, as it might get difficult for you to manage home and work.
  • Understanding the physiological and psychological changes that you go through. Understand how the baby progresses over the period, and talk to your doctor for any suggestions.
  • Communicate with your partner to ensure you are both on the same page about the pregnancy.
  • Discuss with other dads or dads-to-be about his fears and feelings and get some helpful tips.

[ Read:  Is It Safe To Bend During Pregnancy? ]

The fourth month marks your advancement into the second trimester. Make sure you talk to your doctor and your loved ones to ease and erase any fears that you may hear. You are now in the beautiful part of the pregnancy phase where your baby is slowly undergoing a complete transformation. You will find yourself excited, worried, and scared all at the same time. Understand that mixed emotions are completely normal during pregnancy and try to enjoy this phase.

How was your fourth month of pregnancy? Share any exciting or insightful experiences you’ve had in the comments section below.

References:

1. Pregnancy: Signs, Symptoms and Health; REGIS
2. Stages of pregnancy; U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (2018)
3. How Your Fetus Grows During Pregnancy; American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (2018)
4. Pregnancy by Trimester; UCSB SexInfo (2017)
5. Normal Growth of a Baby During Pregnancy; RelayHealth and/or its affiliates (2008)
6. Emily Hughes; The Do’s and Don’ts of Pregnancy: A Pregnant Woman’s Guide to Birth a Healthy Baby; Developmental Psychology at Vanderbilt (2013)
7. Nutritional Needs; PREGNANCY & BREASTFEEDING; Clemson Cooperative Extension (2008)
8. Common Tests During Pregnancy; University of Rochester Medical Center
9. Z. Efrat et al.; First-trimester determination of fetal gender by ultrasound; Ultrasound Obstet Gynecol (1999)

Recommended Articles:

14th Week Pregnancy:  Symptoms, Baby Development And Body Changes
15th Week Pregnancy: Baby Development And Body Changes
16th Week Pregnancy: Symptoms And Body Changes
Fetal Development Week By Week

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Rebecca Malachi

She is a Biotechnologist with a proficiency in areas of genetics, immunology, microbiology, bio-engineering, chemical engineering, medicine, pharmaceuticals to name a few. Her expertise in these fields has greatly assisted her in writing medical and life science articles. With 8+ years of work experience in writing for health and wellness, she is now a full-time contributor for Momjunction.com. She is passionate about giving research-based information to readers in need. Apart from writing, she is a foodie, loves travel, fond of gospel music and enjoys observing nature in silence. Know more about her at: linkedin.com/in/kothapalli-rebecca-35881628
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