It is your 4th month of pregnancy and your tummy is beginning to show, you are probably getting some attention as other people notice and start asking if you are expecting a baby. The fourth month of pregnancy is also the time when you should maintain a healthy, balanced diet to obtain your nutritional requirements and to allow your baby to grow and develop properly.
What to Expect at the 4th Month of Pregnancy?
During pregnancy, 4th month (about weeks 14 to the begining of week 18), which is the beginning of the second trimester, is a time when many physical changes occur to the expect mom as well as to the baby.
1. The Growth of the Baby
By the 4th month of pregnancy, the fingers and toes of your baby are well-defined. Her hair, eyelids, eyelashes, eyebrows and nails are formed, as well as her bones and teeth. She can suck her thumb, stretch, yawn and even make faces.
By the fourth month of pregnancy, your baby's body systems, like the nervous system, have also started to function. Your doctor may be able to determine whether your baby is male or female by visualizing the genitalia on ultrasound. Her heartbeats may be detected using a Doppler instrument, as it pumps about25 quarts of blood daily. Your baby starts producing bile and hormones like insulin. She even urinates in small amounts into her amniotic fluid.
By the end of this period of pregnancy, 4th month, your baby may weigh about 3 to 4 ounces and is already about 6 inches long. It is an exciting period, too, because you may be able to feel her moving, just like a butterfly in the tummy. This is called "quickening."
2. How About the Expect Mom
This stage of pregnancy, 4th month, you will start feeling your clothes are getting tighter. Your waistline starts to disappear. By the 17th week, the tip of your uterus can be felt below your navel. At this time, it is best to start wearing looser clothes.
You may start experiencing a burning feeling in the chest (heartburn), which is caused by stomach acids coming up the esophagus. This may become worse with the continuous enlargement of your uterus, which pushes on your stomach especially when you are lying down. To reduce this symptom, avoid eating spicy and fatty foods, eat small, frequent meals, prop up your head in bed when sleeping, and drink milk before going to bed.
You may also start to notice a change in your skin texture and color. Tiny blood vessels may become more visible under the skin. These can be reduced with a good skin concealer. Use hypoallergenic skin products, as your skin may become more sensitive.
3. The Monthly Check
On your medical visit on the 4th month of pregnancy, your doctor will check your blood pressure and weight and look for signs of swelling in your feet or ankles. She will also check the size, shape, and fundic height of your uterus, as well as the fetal heartbeat. Urine tests for protein and sugar may be taken.
4. Diet for 4th Month of Pregnancy
The mother's diet for the 4th month of pregnancy is important because of the increased pressure on the digestive system. Digestion may be less efficient and constipation is common. Because of these, your diet must include foods that are nutritious and easily digestible. By this stage, you must have gotten over your morning sickness and you can now eat more fruits and vegetables. These foods provide sufficient nutrients for both you and your growing baby.
However, changes in your diet during the fourth month of pregnancy must be done gradually. You need to eat smaller meals regularly for better digestion. You can also take more fruit juices and shakes to stay well hydrated.
Other diet tips for pregnancy, 4th month:
- Consult your doctor before taking any medication.
- Eat fiber-rich foods and take lots of fluids. Progesterone, a hormone produced during pregnancy, slows down digestion of food in the intestines. So fiber-rich food helps a lot. Examples of these foods include bananas, apples, oranges, broccoli, leafy green vegetables, carrots and cauliflower.
- Experts advise mothers to eat 80g of protein daily. These must come from both plant and animal sources. Your baby needs around 9g of protein every week. Examples of protein-rich foods include poultry, fish, pork, beef, eggs and dairy products.
- Make sure to eat foods with lots of vitamins, minerals and other nutrients. These include most fruits and vegetables.
- Be sure to eat a variety of foods with each meal. And your daily meals must include breakfast, lunch, snacks and dinner. However, avoid eating heavy meals with too much fried, spicy, sugary or salty foods.