Your Pregnancy: The Fourth Month
THE FOURTH MONTH (Weeks 13-16)
Welcome to the second trimester! You are probably feeling more energetic and less morning sick. Even better, now that you are past the first trimester, your chances of miscarrying have decreased significantly.
By the end of this month your baby is about six inches long – the size of a large orange. His bones are starting to harden, though his skin is still thin and translucent. His body is covered with the fine downy hair called lanugo that will stay with him for most of the pregnancy. He is also growing hair on his head as well as eyebrows and eye lashes. His outer ears are developing. Inside his ears, tiny bones are starting to harden and he may be able to hear some sounds. At this time, baby spends a lot of his time sucking and swallowing – skills he will need when he leaves your womb.
The second trimester is often the easiest. Your morning sickness has probably gone away and you are probably not feeling as tired as you were before. Although you are starting to show, you aren’t so big that it is hard to move around. Thanks to an increase in estrogen, you may notice that moles and freckles are darker. Some women get the “mask of pregnancy” which is just dark blotches that show up on your cheeks, forehead, and the bridge of your nose. Estrogen also swells the membranes in your nose, so you may feel congested or get nosebleeds. Unfortunately some women also get varicose veins or hemorrhoids during this period. On the upside, you may feel your baby move toward the end of the month. It can be subtle at first, like something lightly brushing the inside of your abdomen or like tiny bubbles.
What You Need to Know
Eating healthy may be easier now that the morning sickness has passed. Protein is essential for growth and development, so try to eat a lot of it, along with plenty of whole grains, fruits, and vegetables. Don’t forget to take your prenatal supplement.
Doctor visits will be focused around making sure your baby is growing normally and that you are healthy. Your doctor will take several measurements, listen for baby’s heart, and perhaps do an ultrasound. If you are at risk for birth defects, your doctor may want you to have an amniocentesis test.
This is a great time to start talking or perhaps even singing to your baby since his ears are developing. In addition, you can also listen to your baby. With a personal fetal heart monitor, you can hear your baby’s heartbeat anytime you want. This is a wonderful way to bond you’re your baby and may be especially beneficial if you are having a high-risk pregnancy.
Read More About the Different Months in Pregnancy:
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