Fourt h Month
Congratulations and welcome to the second trimester of pregnancy! You have successfully completed the first trimester of pregnancy which is the trial point of whether your body will accept the pregnancy or miscarry. Usually 20% of women miscarry during the first 12 weeks because their body was not ready but after the 12th week the rate in miscarriages decline dramatically. As of now you need not be very concerned about having a miscarriage. While starting the fourth month you'll notice certain symptoms decline. From the fourth month until the beginning of the sixth is what I call the eye in the hurricane. Fatigue seems to go away along with the longing sensation to go to the bathroom often and morning sickness. In half of pregnant women fatigue will slowly start again in very few morning sickness may start again and in most women the urge to pee in the middle of the night will come back with full force. All of this will not be due to pregnancy hormones like before but will be due to the growth of baby and his/her need for more space. Cherish these next few months while you can:).
Confidence in your pregnancy should start to grow from this month on. The rocky first three months are over and your pregnancy is now starting to show its true colors in some form or another. Try your best to accept these changes with open arms and you'll have greater chances of enjoying the benefits of your pregnancy to its fullest.
Chances are by now you feel like most of the energy you once had before you got pregnant has returned. Your body has now pretty much gotten use to its new demands.
Even though the medical world hasn't proven it yet, most pregnant women would swear that pregnancy effects your brain, especially your memory. You may not be experiencing it now but some time later on in your pregnancy slight to moderate forgetfulness will sink in. No one knows if its chemical or whether its just the fact that we have so much on our minds at this time we tend to focus on the most important things in our lives including thinking about the baby and pregnancy often. For me forgetfulness started to slowly sink in as the months went by. For most it only gets as bad as forgetting what others have said easily or misplacing things. Don't worry though its not permanent and does go away some time after baby is born:).
One major rule to being pregnant is to LISTEN TO YOUR BODY! As your pregnancy progresses you will experience signals from your body telling you when to slow down. For example feeling worn out from doing the simplest of tasks such as climbing stairs, feeling slight cramps in your legs or stomach while grocery shopping, or feeling your back hurt just from folding laundry. Each woman has different bodily signs and as your pregnancy progresses and you experience them more and more you'll learn to interpret them and act accordingly. As I went from my fourth month on to my fifth month of pregnancy I found it harder and harder to climb stairs with the quickness that I use to. I found that if I didn't take my time I'd end up out of breath and hurting a little when I got to the top. I also started to find that if I rushed around physically, I would either get a stomach cramp or some part of my body would start to ache which was a sign to me saying "slow down and rest before you hurt yourself". You may not realize it but pregnancy is considered a fragile time because your body, especially your muscles, are adjusting to accommodating to baby's growth needs and slowly preparing for birth. So if at any time you feel a ache or pain, stop and rest for a little bit then go back to what you were doing. If the ache or pain comes back, stop what you are doing all together and rest for a longer period of time or give up on what you were doing all together. That should help in the long run.
Lower Abdominal Pains
Decline In Frequent Urination
By now you should be noticing that you don't have to go pee as often. This is mainly due to your body getting use to the pregnancy hormones and the diminish in the volume of the hormones produced.
Decline In Nausea a.k.a Morning Sickness
Just like frequent urination, morning sickness also declines if not goes away completely because of the diminish in the volume of pregnancy hormones produced. Week by week you should start feeling the urge to start eating a regular healthy diet again. Take advantage of what ever food appeals to you.
If constipation is still a problem, address it with your doctor during your next visit and he/she should be able to give advice on how to get ride of the problem.
Heartburn & Indigestion
Heartburn and indigestion is still common at this time and through out pregnancy. At this time it is caused by pregnancy hormones and can usually be helped by taking TUMS.
Headaches are also common during pregnancy which can be caused more now by your excessive blood flow that starts during pregnancy that feeds to your baby. DO NOT take any pain relieving medication without consulting your doctor first.
DDizziness is very common during pregnancy and is often caused by the sudden shift in blood movement which can for a short time deny your body the blood flow it needs. Its basically exactly what happens when you get blood drawn at the doctor's office. This occurrence in no way harms your baby. For tips on how to "cure" this and even prevent it from happening visit Symptoms To Expect During The Second Trimester & Tips To Help Make This Trimester More Comfortable.
Bleeding gums after you brush your teeth is very common during pregnancy and is also do to a greater blood supply.
Nasal Congestion And Nose Bleeds
Unfortunately nasal congestion and nose bleeds are also due to a greater blood supply. You may or may not run across either of these two problems. With my first pregnancy I had no problems at all but with my second pregnancy I had a few stuffy noses but woke up almost every morning from my fourth month until my sixth month with a nose bleed. If you run into either of these problems go to Symptoms To Expect During The Second Trimester & Tips To Help Make This Trimester More Comfortable, for relief.
Increase In Appetite
At the beginning of the fourth month a few women may start experiencing an increase in appetite and maybe even food cravings. Don't be concerned if you still feel like you're eating the same amount you've always have been or you don't crave certain foods. A lot of women don't start feeling like they want to eat more until the beginning of the sixth month and you slowly start your food cravings from then on as well. Also very few women find pickles and ice cream to be a appealing combination while pregnant. I still have yet to figure out were that came from. You may experience a craving for a few odd food combinations such as French fries with ranch dressing or a peanut butter potato chip sandwich. My excuse for odd food combinations is don't worry about what kind of combinations you make, you're pregnant, that should be a reason enough for anyone to explore new tastes:). Besides many restaurants now serve French fries with cheese, bacon and ranch dressing and chicken wings with other types of dressing. I bet you they got those ideas from someone pregnant and they're a success with the nonpregnant crowd:).
Whitish Vaginal Discharge
During the fourth month you should start
to notice a white, thin, kind of creamy, mild smelling vaginal
discharge that is called leukorrhea. This discharge is very
common during pregnancy and gets heavy as the months go by. If
you start noticing the discharge smelling stronger, it kind of
has a cottage cheese texture, your vaginal area itches or burns,
or the discharge is yellowish or greenish in color, contact your
doctor. You may have an infection which if is treated right away,
won't cause any problems with the pregnancy or your baby.
Possible Fetal Movement
Depending on your body structure you may
or may not start to feel baby move this month if this is your
first pregnancy. With my first pregnancy I was pretty thin and I
was able to feel movement as early as the 15th week. Don't worry
if you don't feel anything this month though. Most don't feel
movement until the 20th week.
If this is your second or more pregnancy then you'll most likely be able to feel the baby move from the 13th week on. Your body and mind never forget the wonderful feeling of baby moving which is why you'll be able to detect things earlier. With my second pregnancy I was able to feel baby move as early as the 13th week.
Unfortunately moodiness is something that lasts until baby is born. Don't worry if you haven't gotten use to it by now, you will.
Feelings Of Joy, Fear Or Uncertainty
Chances are by now, because you are further along in your pregnancy, and things seem more real, feelings of fear and/or uncertainty are starting to diminish if not a lot then ever so slightly. If your feelings of fear and uncertainty haven't changed then that's ok too. Pregnancy is a big step in life and it takes more time for others to feel more comfortable with the idea.
Frustration Because You Feel Like You Aren't Pregnant
Feelings of frustration because you don't feel pregnant can last until the fourth month. The best thing to do is keep your chin up, you'll start growing within a few weeks and the feelings of frustration over not feeling pregnant should melt away.
A Few F.A.Q.
Am I Growing?
Usually the fourth and fifth month are
the months when most women start to notice their tummy is getting
a little bigger and maybe even growing a bit more week by week.
Each woman is different and each body is different so some may
start noticing tight clothes and a slightly growing belly by the
fourth month and some may not start to notice changes until the
middle of the fifth month.
If this is your second, or more pregnancy, chances are you've already noticed clothes starting to get tight and your stomach is starting to grow. With my second pregnancy I started to notice change the middle of the fourth month.
Even if you feel your stomach is starting to grow, don't rush out and buy maternity clothes just yet. With most women, maternity clothes won't look right until the middle to end of the sixth month. If this is your second pregnancy maternity clothes won't really be needed until the fifth month. With my second pregnancy, I jumped the gun because there was a sale and bought a winter maternity wardrobe. I spent twice a week until the middle of my fifth month trying the clothes on. Because my stomach hadn't grown enough to show I was truly pregnant just yet, the clothes either looked too big or I just looked like I was a heavy set woman wearing maternity clothes. That pretty much caused a lot of unwanted tears and frustration.
How Do I Tell My Child/Children That I Am Pregnant?
Breaking the news to a child that he/she
is going to have a younger sibling can be a difficult task
depending on age. If the child is too young he/she may not
understand what the concept of having a baby around means. While
having a older child may mean problems such as feeling left out.
If you have a child six years or younger, now is a safe time to start getting that child use to the concept of a younger brother or sister. Usually from one to six it's best to introduce the concept by reading him/her books about a little boy or girl having a new arrival in the family or finding a children's movie about it. Even though he/she may not be able to understand some of what you are saying, the pictures can speak a thousand words. Most book stores have some sort of section for that purpose. I find buying the books that have your child's favorite character in helps greatly too. If your child is a Arthur fan there is a big cardboard book about when baby Kate was born. Along with reading to your child, as your pregnancy progresses, you may want to gradually explain to your child that mommy has a baby growing in her tummy and once he/she was a baby growing in your tummy as well. Explain that one day when the baby is ready, he/she will come out and your child will have a little brother or sister and if you'd like you can even go as far as reading your child books about what brothers and sisters do together. When you get into the eight month and start baby shopping, try to have your child help with picking things out such as furniture, bedroom decorations and clothes. This will give your child the feeling that he/she is apart of the process as well and he/she is doing an important job. Once others are able to feel baby's kicks and punches, allow your child to feel his/her brother or sister kick, punch and move around. These experiences will make things seem more real to your child.
If you have a child that is older than seven years hopefully you discussed the possibility of having a sibling before you conceived. If not then the best way to break the news is very gradually. Find a quiet alone time with your child and explain the benefits of having a younger sibling. Give him/her the option of helping to shop for the baby and help decorate the baby's room. After the baby is born give your child the option to help you out with things around the house and with the baby. Your child will feel more like he/she is apart of the whole process and won't feel left out or like he/she is a burden.
How Do I Tell Others I Am Pregnant?
Now that you are in the fourth month and
the pregnancy is pretty much fully established, now is the best
time to tell others you are expecting. The best thing to do if
you are able to is throw a party. Don't tell others what the
party is for or about but in the middle of the party make a toast
and announce the joyful news. If you are unable to throw a party
then the best way to spread the joyful news is to start with
telling family and then friends. Don't be concerned if there is
someone or a few people in the bunch who aren't exactly sharing
your enthusiasm. The most common problems people seem to have is
they feel you're too young, you aren't financially stable, you
haven't been married long enough or you're too old. The best
thing to do about these people is to hear their concerns but know
that having a baby is something both you and your partner agreed
upon and something both of you feel confident in handling not to
mention the fact that you are already pregnant and there is no
When I found out I was pregnant with my first child it was a total disaster as far as spreading the news. I was already way into my second month and at the time too young to know when the best time to tell others would be. My mother, who at the time lived in another state, was shocked but was kind enough to realize that it had already been done and I was grown up enough to handle things. I was taking care of my grandparents at the time and when I told my grandmother she ended up giving me the third degree. I had just turned twenty so she thought I was too young and was messing up my life because she felt that now it was too late to go to college. I wasn't married and had only been engaged for four months. Plus she had no idea how I was going to support a child. Needless to say I was shamed and harped on to pieces in a time when I really didn't need it and had very little joyful support. My poor mother in-law guessed the news on her birthday but the good thing was their reaction was "well you've made your bed, now you have to lie in it." Needless to say my grandparents had gotten to a point were they didn't need anyone to help them keep up the house. So my husband got a job, we got married, moved into a great apartment and started a life on our own and had no problems we couldn't handle after the baby was born. That was three years ago, we're happily married, expecting our second child and looking into buying a house. So all in all don't go by other people's concerns. Now is suppose to be a happy time and not a time that you need negativity.
How Do I Tell My Boss I Am Pregnant?
You shouldn't be concerned about telling your boss you are pregnant. A lot of women have a fear that if they tell their boss they are pregnant then things will change in the work environment or there is a fear she will get fired. A woman should never have to fear those things. By law your employer is not allowed to fire you or downgrade you because you are pregnant. Such an act is considered discrimination and is illegal. You are also entitled to a number of weeks maternity leave at the end of your pregnancy so you are not stressed out by work, your body can prepare for birth and after baby is born you have time to recover and establish a schedule with your family and baby. Usually maternity leave is not taken until the beginning of the ninth month, and may even begin a week or two before due date. Depending on your company's policy, most companies allow six weeks of maternity leave. Check with your company's Human Resources Department for details on maternity leave. If you feel you are being discriminated at work because you are pregnant, notify your boss and human resources. If it is your boss who is doing the discrimination, notify his boss. You should not feel ashamed you are pregnant.
WHAT DO I NEED TO DO THIS MONTH?
Now is the time to start gradually pacing
yourself and relax. Start putting the most important priorities
in your daily work first and leave the little things for last
incase you don't have any energy to do them. If you want a fun
project to do, start a daily or weekly journal about your
pregnancy or start taking month by month pictures of yourself as
your tummy grows and changes. Trust me after baby is born these
will be valuable memories to look back on. Believe it or not
months after baby is born you start to really forget about how
your pregnancy was.
If you have time check out your local store's discounts and sales in the Sunday newspaper, such as K-Mart and Wal-Mart. I've found that at least once a every few months they will have sales on Maternity clothes. Even though you may not be able to wear maternity clothes now it's a good idea to take advantage of sales. When buying maternity clothes on sale keep in mind the seasons you'll be wearing them in. Don't buy a lot of summer clothes if you're mainly going to be wearing maternity clothes during the winter. For a better example: My pregnancy started in September and would last until June but I didn't really start to show until December. I bought five winter maternity shirts and a few pairs of maternity pants to last during the winter. Since I am a stay at home mom I mainly wore my husband's shirts at home and wore the maternity clothes out but if you work you may want to buy clothes to suit your needs. When it started to get warmer in late March I figured I only had two to three months to be able to wear summer maternity clothes so I only bought three summer maternity shirts for going out and wore mainly over sized t-shirts I already had at home. Keeping a strategy like this helps a lot budget wise since maternity clothes can get expensive.
What You Should Expect This Prenatal Visit
basically get this every time you go in for a appointment. All
you need to do is pee in a cup provided by the office. If you're
like me and have trouble going to the bathroom in public places,
I find the easiest way to provide a specimen is to take a pee cup
with a top home with me and pee at home in the cup a hour or less
before my appointment.
Weight and Blood Pressure:Your weight and blood pressure will be taken at every appointment.
Heartbeat: If this is not your first
pregnancy, the nurse may want to check to see if he/she can hear
the baby's heart beat. You will be asked to lay on your back on
the exam table, pull your pants down to your hips and raise your
shirt. The nurse will squirt a jell like substance on your
stomach and what looks like a little microphone hooked up to a
box over your lower stomach. This device picks up the baby's
heart beat kind of like a ultrasonic microphone. Don't be
concerned if the nurse can not find a heart beat. In most cases
the heart beat won't really be able to be heard until the 14th to
Checking The Size Of The Uterus: A lot of doctors like to start checking the size of the uterus and how it is growing by the third month. The doctor will ask you to lower your pants to your hips and he/she will do a external palpitation and just lightly push around your lower abdomen a little to feel the size of the uterus is.
Checking Hands And Feet For Swelling: Most pregnant women at some point in their pregnancy tend to retain water which can cause the swelling of hands and feed known as Edema. This is quit normal especially in warm weather but doctors like to check mainly because if it happens too often it maybe a sign of preeclampsia which from what I understand doesn't happen to often. Preeclampsia can cause problems with the pregnancy but is something that can be easily caught early and treated.
What To Bring With You To Your Appointment
If you have any questions or concerns about your pregnancy, I find it best to write them down on a piece of paper as soon as you think of one and bring the paper in with you at your next appointment so you can talk them over with your doctor. Don't be concerned if you feel like you are asking too many questions or you feel your questions are embarrassing or odd. Your doctor has had many patients and I'm sure has heard them all. Besides your doctor is there to help you as much as possible and make you feel as comfortable as possible about your pregnancy. That's a big part of their job.
What Should Be Covered At This Appointment
When your doctor comes in to see you
he/she should ask you how you feel. He/she should discuss any
previous problems you have encountered so far such as feeling
light headed often and see if anything is helping you. This is
also a good time to discuss any new problems or concerns about
your pregnancy and find out what can help you.
Your doctor should also start to discuss whether your weight gain is normal. Don't worry if you haven't started gaining weight yet or if you've actually lost weight. With most women you really won't start rapid weight gain until the beginning of your third trimester. Your doctor also may start measuring your stomach with a special measuring tape that goes from your pubic bone to the top of your stomach. This tape will tell how many weeks along you measure and whether you are growing correctly.
At this time before your appointment is finished, your doctor should ask you to schedule your 20 week ultrasound appointment before you leave. Most women get a ultrasound at 20 weeks to check up on baby's growth, measure the baby's length, see how far along you really are and to make sure everything is going ok, and if you're really lucky you'll be able to see whether it's a boy or a girl. Make sure when you schedule this appointment that you tell the nurse how far along you are now. I've learned from experience that scheduling a ultrasound before you hit 20 weeks does no good because there are some things the technician can not detect until the 20th week and you have to do it all over again.
When you schedule the 20 week ultrasound most nurses will instruct that you drink 32-40 oz of fluid before you come in. This will cause a full bladder which will allow the technician to document some information needed by your doctor. Don't worry the documentation only lasts a minute or so and you are allowed to go to the bathroom before you continue with the ultrasound. When you do drink the fluid make sure you do not drink tea or soda. I have found from personal experience that the tea and soda are diuretics which can cause you to have a painfully full bladder before you even get half way to the doctor's office. Basically you won't be able to sit down or even walk because your bladder hurts so bad. I've found that drinking just water works a lot better. If its ok with your doctor you may also want to drink a little bit of soda before your appointment so your baby is awake and active so you can see things better during the ultrasound.
Your 20 week ultrasound is not the same as your monthly check up. You will most likely only see a technician and will just get a ultrasound done. You will still have a scheduled monthly check up.
If you feel you have run into a major problem with your pregnancy and are at home, do not wait until your next appointment to address that problem, call your doctor's office as soon as possible. Your doctor's office should have a exchange number you can call when your doctor's office is not open.
What Does My Baby Look Like Now?
This month your baby is between four to six inches long. Four inches would be about the size of a measuring spoon, six inches would be about the size of a pen. Your baby has finished developing his her fingers, toes, eyebrows, eyelids, eyelashes, and finger nails. He/she can suck her thumb and make facial expressions as well as pass amniotic fluid through his/her system. Your baby is covered in a fine hair called lanugo which protects him/her from the amniotic fluid and should disappear closer to your due date.
Above are four ultrasound pictures of my son when I was 16 weeks pregnant. In the upper left picture you can see his face as well as nose and eye sockets. Unfortunatly these days ultrasounds only show mostly bone but there are few ultrasound machines coming to the medical world that can show a 3D color picture of your baby. The upper right picture shows the top of the baby's head. The lower left picture shows the baby's back. If you look carefully you can see a line that looks like a line of pearls that is his spine. The lower right picture shows his foot although you can really only see his toes and heel.
These two pictures of my son were taken at 18 weeks. The left picture shows mostly his upper body and head and the right picture shows most of his body as he's curled up.
Other Graphics Coming Soon!
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