Welcome to month 4: you are officially in your second trimester of pregnancy now. Somewhere around this time, you may feel your baby move. Read our post and learn about the highs and lows of 4th-month pregnancy here.
Symptoms Of 4th Month Pregnancy:
Hopefully, some of the early signs of pregnancy like nausea and vomiting may have reduced, and your energy quotient is up. Now is the time to plan a mini vacation if you and your partner would like some quiet time together before the baby arrives. Some symptoms that you are likely to experience in this month include:
Just when you were relaxing about being able to eat without having to throw up, there comes the heartburn. From now to the right until delivery, they’re going to be your constant companion- so get used to them! Heartburn refers to the burning feeling, and general discomfort felt from the mouth to the stomach and bowel. The pregnancy hormones that your body produces during pregnancy allow the digestive acids to leak causing an acid reflux. These hormones also cause muscles to the gastrointestinal tract (GI) to relax. Thus, food moves slowly within the body. When you eat too quickly, it becomes difficult for the digestive system to process food, leaving you with heartburns. While you cannot eliminate the symptoms, you can ease your discomfort. Certain foods trigger heartburns- avoid rich and spicy food and cut down on caffeinated drinks (tea, coffee and cola). And cut down your visits to the corner greasy spoon! Eat small quantities at regular intervals instead of three large meals also helps. Eat slowly and sit up straight to take pressure off your stomach while eating. Milk relieves heartburn. Contact the doctor if symptoms persist- she may subscribe medications.
- Increase In Appetite:
They don’t call the second trimester, the ‘happy season’ for no reason. With morning sickness gone, you can now finally manage to eat. In fact, you feel hungry all the time! That’s because your baby is growing and needs more nourishment. If you’ve lost or haven’t gained weight in the first trimester, now is the time to do all the catching up. But remember, along with a ravenous appetite, you’ve also got heartburn to cope. Fried and greasy food is off-limits and so is eating too much too quickly. A pregnant woman needs only about 350 more calories every day. Fries and burgers are filling, but they’re empty calories. On the other hand, whole-grains, fruits, nuts, and cheese are nutritious and easy on the stomach. The mind often confuses thirst for hunger- so remember to hydrate your body. And don’t fall prey to the ‘eating for two’ myth.
Indigestion is another common complaint during the second trimester. It usually begins at around the 4th month and stays until delivery. Hard stools are a usual byproduct of the pregnancy hormones progesterone and estrogen. These hormones slow down muscle contraction around the GI tract and cause food to move slowly. As much as it causes distress, slow digestion is good for the baby because it allows the body to absorb better nutrients for the baby. As the baby grows, your uterus expands and presses against the bowel. To allow room for easy digestion, eat plenty of fiber-rich foods like fruits and green leafy vegetables. Prunes and kiwi juice are also good for constipation. And if the symptoms worsen, doctors may recommend laxatives like Isabgol (psyllium husk) or prescribe a stool softener.
- Increased Energy:
Another positive change that takes place during the 4th month of pregnancy is the increase in energy you experience. You will now be less fatigued than you were, and your baby bump begins to show. It is the most exciting phase of pregnancy, as it is the time when you finally announce your pregnancy to the world.
Many changes occur within your body this month. For one, you don’t have to visit the bathroom as often as you did earlier. The uterus starts to rise into the abdominal cavity, relieving you from the urge to urinate frequently. As the weeks progress, your clothes begin to feel tighter than earlier, your breasts continue to grow, and the waistline seems to vanish- now is the time to invest in some maternity clothes. Pregnancy hormones also affect your hair- it becomes thick and strong. But, some women experience dryness and hair loss. Stretch marks appear on the ski, and tiny blood vessels beneath the skin begin to show.
Is it alright to have sex during the fourth month? What are the chances of miscarrying in the second trimester? Answers to questions like these often perplex mothers-to-be. Here’s a list of some common concerns of pregnant mother:
- Weight Gain:
Earlier, we saw how you are likely to be constantly hungry during the second trimester. The constant hunger is a cause for concern, a concern called ‘weight gain.’ Women usually gain around half a kilo every week. That’s around 2 kilos by the end of the month. It is normal and even desirable. Most women gain weight in the second trimester, which is when the baby undergoes rapid development. But it’s important that you gain weight by eating healthy food. Putting on too much weight could lead to complications in the later stages.
Doctors recommend tetanus vaccinations twice during pregnancy- the first within the first trimester and the second four to eight weeks after the first. Some doctors administer the second dose, a month before delivery. The WHO recommends a third vaccine, six months after the second one for protection to up to 5 years. Tetanus is a deadly bacterium that’s likely to enter the body through open wounds and scratches on the skin. Besides these, other vaccinations aren’t used during pregnancy as they can harm the baby.
- Sex In The Fourth Month:
It is safe to have sex in the fourth month unless the doctor tells you otherwise. He may ask you refrain if you have a previous history of miscarriage or if he considers yours to be a high-risk pregnancy. Do experiment with positions because deep penetration may become uncomfortable. Similarly, if you experience bleeding after sex, consult your doctor immediately.
- Vaginal Thrush:
Vaginal discharge that’s thick and itchy with a foul smell is an indication of a thrush infection. Thrush is an infection that’s caused by a fungus Candida albicans. Pregnant women are ten times more likely to get the infection because of the abundant glucose in the vagina. Consult your doctor if you suspect an infection or if it feels itchy around the vagina. The doctor is likely to prescribe pregnancy-safe medications and creams.
It is safe to exercise during the fourth month unless the doctor tells you not to. But there are some workouts that aren’t safe. For example, avoid exercises where you have lie on your back or the right side. This position compresses the uterus veins and may interfere with blood flow. Similarly, the heart rate should always be measured and should not exceed 140 beats per minute i.e. if you are unable to speak while exercising, you should stop immediately. Weight loss should not be the aim while exercising. And before you take up any physical exercises, consult your doctor.
The Baby During 4th Month Of Pregnancy:
As the month progresses, you may experience your baby’s first movement. There may be many high points in your pregnancy, but it has to be the most memorable one yet, especially for first-time moms! By the end of the month, your baby is around 8 to 10 inches long. Her sex organs are developed and can sometimes be seen during an ultrasound- prostate glands are developed in the male fetus, and ovaries are developed in the female fetus. Nails begin to grow, and the neck is formed. The baby’s mouth begins to form, and so do the outer ears. Her kidneys begin functioning and produce urine; the gallbladder too begins producing bile.
Folic acid, iron, and calcium are the holy trinity that women need during their pregnancy. People living countries without sunlight need Vitamin D as well to help the body absorb calcium. Although doctors prescribe prenatal vitamins to supplement to ensure that you are getting enough of these nutrients, nothing can compare to a well-balanced diet. You can divide food into five different food groups. The foods typically include grains, fruits, vegetables, protein, and calcium-rich foods. Your meal should include a combination of these food groups to ensure optimum fetal development.
On Your Mind:
Right from the time you know you’re pregnant to up to delivery, a thousand thoughts cross the mind. Will I be a good mother? How does one bond with the unborn baby? Would my career take a backseat because of the baby? If you are going through these doubts at the moment, then you aren’t alone. Change isn’t easy- it takes time to accept the fact that you are now responsible for another individual. Rather than worrying, you can use this time to bond with the unborn baby. Research proves that babies can hear their mums from inside the womb. When the mom is happy, her unborn baby is happy; when the mom-to-be is anxious, her baby is anxious too. Probably, the first thing that you ought to do is to keep your mind relaxed and focus only on the pregnancy. Take time to rest and enjoy all the attention. Talk or sing to the baby and share your thoughts with him or her. If the first trimester was difficult, it’s time now to kick your shoes off and relax.
Tips For Dads-To-Be:
Now that your wife regains her appetite (even compensating for the loss of it) you may notice that her waist seems to have disappeared. But dare you mention it to her! She might even tempt (read, goad) you into answering a yes, but, don’t yield to the temptation. Here are some other tips to help you sail through month 4 of pregnancy:
This advice applies to you as much as it does to your wife. Fatherhood affects men in many ways- for one, they’re suddenly aware of their mortality. ‘What if something happens to me- my partner and baby need me!’ Some become super-cautious (especially if they’ve been the daredevil type); others begin to save like crazy (especially if they’ve been spendthrifts all their life). Some turn into fitness maniacs. As the old saying goes, too much of everything is bad. So, relax and enjoy the pleasures of life.
- Be Patient:
Patience is a virtue that you’ll have to practice for the entire nine months of your partner’s pregnancy. If your partner is beside herself, it’s her hormones that are to be blame. She’s going through a lot of changes, both, physically and psychologically. The best thing to do is to be patient.
- Spend Some Time Together:
As the pregnancy progresses, your partner may have to deal with a lot of unpleasant symptoms like backache, urinary incontinence, etc. She may have little or no energy to have fun activities. If you are the fun loving couple, plan an outing (seek the doctor’s prior approval) or start an exercise plan together.
To Do List:
At around 4 months, you’re probably thinking about possible baby names or planning to take up activities like knitting. Except for those who live in India, this is the time when your ultrasound is likely to reveal the baby’s sex. Whether you’d like to keep it a secret until delivery, or not, is a decision that you’ll take after discussing with your partner. You may also have to decide on sharing the secret with friends and family.
At The Doctor’s Office:
The doctor will ask for urine and blood samples for routine tests (to check for diabetes and infections, etc.). He will also check your blood pressure and examine your hands and feet for signs of edema. The size of the uterus is also measured- either through an ultrasound or by measuring the belly. The doctor monitors your baby’s heartbeat using a Doppler Monitor.
Are you 4 months pregnant, but have a different experience to share? We’d love to hear your story. Tell us below.
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