4th Month of Pregnancy – Symptoms, Body Changes and Diet

4th Month of Pregnancy

Becoming a mother is welcoming happiness into your life. As parents, the voyage can be full of ups and downs and many milestones. The body undergoes many changes to accommodate the growing child and there are various noticeable signs to watch out for. As parents, you have to prepare for what’s to come next and hence some precautions also need to be taken to bring in a healthy and happy child into this world. Here are some tell-tale signs and tips to ease you into being great parents.

4-Months-Pregnant Symptoms

They say that the first trimester is the hardest in any pregnancy and you have just completed the first three months of your journey into motherhood. Here are some symptoms you may notice.

  • Some women experience hemorrhoids due to the pressure created by the growing baby on the rectal veins, which can be very painful.

  • Bleeding gums occurs in many pregnant women due to the increase in pregnancy hormones, which makes your gums softer and more sensitive. It is the reason why you may brush your teeth and see a little bleeding. This symptom usually disappears after pregnancy.

  • You can expect to run to the washroom quite often as there will be pressure on the bladder leading to frequent urination.

  • Some women experience shortness of breath due to the 4 months baby in the womb. This is because the uterus is expanding to make space for the baby to grow thereby putting pressure on the surrounding environment and organs.

  • Heartburn is a common symptom for a lot of pregnant women. This is mainly due to the fact that digestion slows down during pregnancy, leading to heartburn. The way to avoid this is to have lots of water and not have too many heavy meals in a day, making it easier for the body to digest food.

  • Your skin also undergoes many changes during pregnancy. Some women may see blotchy skin due to the increase in pregnancy hormones. It is important to take care of your skin at this point by using mild moisturisers and lotions.

  • The nipples and the areola will acquire a darker shade and the veins of the breasts will also be more pronounced during pregnancy.

  • At this stage, the foetus can cause a lot of changes to the mother’s body. Nosebleeds are one of them. Bleeding is never a good sign, but during pregnancy some women experience mild nosebleeds. These mainly occur because of a high volume of blood being pumped by the body to manage the pregnancy. If it persists, consult a doctor.

What to Expect During the 4th Month of Pregnancy?

Your emotional, physical, and psychological characteristics will change a lot once you finish your 3rd month. 4-month-pregnancy care will vary greatly and will involve a lot more medical assessments as you go along. A few things you can expect in the 4th month of pregnancy are

  • Your doctor will give an ultrasound recommendation to be conducted to know the growth of the baby.

  • Some women can notice thin, reddish lines on the thighs, which are superficial varicose veins. After birth, these lines will fade and completely vanish.

  • At 4 months of pregnancy, your belly will be the size of a cantaloupe.

  • Morning sickness will disappear, but you may still feel tired and irritable.

  • Your appetite will change and it is important to take nutritious, delicious food, as you are now eating for two.

Changes in Your Body When You’re 4- Months-Pregnant

Changes in Your Body When You’re 4- Months-Pregnant

The biggest thing you may notice is the 4-month pregnant belly. But there are more changes happening inside your body as much as on the outside.

  • As the uterus expands, you will feel pain in your back, thighs, abdomen, and groin area. This ache will continue for the next 5 months.

  • The breasts increase in size and fullness during pregnancy. This is due to hormonal changes.

  • Constipation occurs in some women due to higher levels of hormones in the body, which slows down digestion.

  • Urinary frequency and leaking is also fairly common due to the pressure on the bladder and urethra as the baby grows.

  • Some women experience tingling hands or carpal tunnel syndrome, which is mainly due to swelling of tissues around the wrists. This usually disappears after delivery.

  • Due to the increase in blood volume in the body, veins on the legs enlarge, causing varicose veins. This too will disappear after delivery.

  • Heartburn is another common change, as digestion slows down during pregnancy.

  • You may also notice an increase in vaginal discharge due to the hormonal changes in the body.

Common Concerns during the Fourth Month of Pregnancy

When you are pregnant, you may have some worries and concerns that are bothering you and your partner. When you visit your gynaecologist, make sure to discuss anything that is worrying you.

Here are a few common concerns:

  • Increase in appetite is very common, and so is weight gain, during the fourth month of pregnancy. This is because the mother is eating for two and needs to nourish the baby and herself. The 4th-month- pregnancy diet  may also differ from your regular diet.

  • Heartburn and constipation are common during this time. If you need any medical advice about it, ensure to consult a doctor.

  • Doctors will also recommend taking a tetanus vaccination during pregnancy– the first within the first three months and the second a month before delivery.

  • It is safe to have sex during pregnancy unless the doctor advises otherwise in cases where there is a medical history of miscarriage or if it’s a high-risk pregnancy. Couples should discuss this with their doctor before going ahead.

Baby’s Development

An ultrasound scan at 4 months

While you experience changes in your body, the foetus is also developing and undergoing its own changes.

The top things that happen are:

  • The foetus starts developing facial features.

  • Eyelids, eyebrows and lashes also develop in the baby.

  • At 17 weeks the baby is nearly 13.1 cm (5 inches) from crown to rump.

  • The baby also has his/her own unique fingerprints.

  • Starts developing slight movement and will start kicking.

  • The baby’s skin is covered in fine hair called lanugo.

  • Ears are starting to develop, hence the baby can now start hearing the sounds outside.

  • The tail has completely disappeared from the foetus at this stage.

How to Take Care of Yourself in the 4th Month of Pregnancy

As you move into the second trimester in your pregnancy, 4-month- pregnancy care must be taken to see a happy and healthy baby by the end of the journey. Here are some do’s and don’ts.

Do’s

  • A growing baby needs a lot of nourishment, and so does the mother. So, it’s important to ensure that you are taking enough vitamins. If you aren’t getting enough, ask for supplements from your doctor.

  • Exercise regularly. It is important to continue your normal routine, go for yoga and walks when you are pregnant, as mobility helps during delivery.

  • Get plenty of sleep. Your body is working for two people, and hence, ample rest of 7-8 hours is a must.

  • Eat a lot of seafood. Fish is rich in Omega 3 and other minerals. Hence, a portion of cooked fish is a must. Make sure it is fresh and thoroughly cleaned. Avoid eating raw fish and fish with a high mercury content.

  • Do have sex. It is important to keep the intimacy between you and your partner alive, as your body prepares for the next adventure. However, consult your doctor first.

  • Make sure you get a flu shot, so that you do not contract any diseases while you are pregnant.

  • Gaining weight is natural, but make sure you gain weight smartly by eating healthy.

  • Make sure you go to your dentist for a regular checkup to avoid bleeding gums or any other dental complications.

Don’ts

  • Do not have too much caffeine, as it can increase your baby’s heart rate.

  • If you have pets like cats, do not clean the cat litter as you could contract a parasite from the litter.

  • Do not sit in a hot tub or a sauna, as the high heat environment can cause complications in pregnancy.

  • Avoid eating meat cooked outside, as you do not know if it is cleaned and cooked properly.

  • Don’t drink alcohol, as the foetus can develop fetal alcohol syndrome (FAS).

  • Do not smoke, as expectant mothers who smoke can deliver babies with low birth weight and are at a greater risk of disabilities.

Diet

Iron, calcium and folic acid are extremely important for pregnant women. Since the mother is eating for two, she shouldn’t worry about weight gain, as long as the food is healthy and nutritious. It is also important to talk to your gynecologist and take any supplements necessary, such as Vitamin D, to keep your vitals up. Food should typically be home-cooked to keep it hygienic and can include grains, fruits and vegetables. Food that is rich in protein, like fish and chicken, can also be consumed. Every meal should include all the three things mentioned above to ensure optimal foetal development.

Tests and Checkups Recommended in the Fourth-Month of Pregnancy

You will see your doctor more frequently from the fourth month onwards to ensure that you and your baby are healthy. The top tests and check-ups that are necessary are,

  • A Physical Check-Up– Your gynecologist will physically check parts such as vagina, breasts and abdomen.

  • 4th-Month Pregnancy Scan– An ultrasound will be conducted to see the changes to the fetal development.

  • Fetal Heartbeat– Your doctor will check if the baby’s heartbeat is too slow or too fast using a Doppler Ultrasound.

  • Edema Test– Your doc will check for swelling in the legs, ankles and feet. Abnormal swelling may indicate preeclampsia, gestational diabetes, or a blood clot.

Dangerous Signs to Watch Out for

There are some signs which are out of the ordinary for pregnant women, and women need to stay alert and cautious to take the right action at the right time.

Keep an eye out for the following signs, and consult a doctor if you see any of them.

  • If you are having sex after consulting with your doctor, and you bleed, contact the doctor immediately.

  • If you notice bleeding, and it is like menstrual blood, you could be in danger of a miscarriage or an ectopic pregnancy.

  • Severe nausea and vomiting, especially if you cannot eat or drink without throwing up.

  • Your baby will start being active now, so if that activity declines, then its cause for concern.

  • Contractions too early in the third trimester.

  • If your water breaks.

  • If you have persistent abdominal pain and headache.

  • If you have persistent flu i.e. fever or cold or a cough, which doesn’t seem to go away.

Tips for To-Be-Dads

As the mother undergoes changes, even the father has several things to understand and cope with. Fatherhood is an important journey as well, and here are a few tips to keep in mind to help along the way.

  • Right Balance

When it starts getting difficult to manage work and home and the preparation for the newborn, take a break. It is okay to feel overwhelmed. What’s important is to channel that energy and give it a rest. You will be able to find the right balance when you take a break.

  • Family Comes First

No matter what is going on at work, the family is always a top priority. Make time to spend quality hours with your partner to avoid missing out. You don’t want to look back and regret all the things you could have done.

  • Communication

A lot of things are going to change when the baby arrives. So, when your partner is pregnant, try to build an open and honest communication, so that you can be in sync once the baby arrives. Be extra patient and caring during these crucial months and go on dates to keep the spark going.

  • Talk to Other Dads

Build a network of dads, either online or offline, and have a conversation to understand how to care for your baby better. Make sure to discuss your fears, worries and feelings, and get tips from other dads.

It’s time to start preparing for a baby shower now, as many women say that this is the happiest time in the entire pregnancy journey. Once the fourth month is over, you will be a step closer to the birth of your baby.