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THE FOURTH MONTH (Weeks 13-16)
Welcome to the second trimester! Now that you're in the fourth month of pregnancy, you're probably feeling more energetic and less sick. Even better, now that you're past the first trimester, your chances of miscarrying have decreased significantly.
Let's explore what's going on with your baby and body—and some things you should know going forward—in the fourth month.
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'll need when he leaves your womb.
The Good News:
The second trimester is often the easiest. By this month, your morning sickness has probably gone away, and you're probably not feeling as tired as you were before. And although you're starting to show, you aren’t so big that it's hard to move around.
Toward the end of this month is when you can expect to feel your baby move. It can be subtle at first—like something lightly brushing the inside of your abdomen or like tiny bubbles.
The Not-So-Good News:
Thanks to an increase in estrogen, you may notice that moles and freckles are darker. Many women get the mask of pregnancy—dark blotches that show up on your cheeks, forehead, and the bridge of your nose. To prevent the mask of pregnancy, use a pregnancy-safe sunscreen to prevent the UVA/UVB rays from causing the hyperpigmentation.
Estrogen is also to blame for swelling the membranes in your nose, causing congestion or nosebleeds. Unfortunately some women also get varicose veins or hemorrhoids during the fourth month of pregnancy. Consider investing in a good pregnancy hemorroid cream now—you'll have them after birth, too.
Eating well and keeping down your prenatal vitamins may be easier now that the worst of your 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.
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.
The fourth month of pregnancy is a great time to start talking or even singing to your baby since his ears are developing. You can also listen to your baby at home with a personal fetal doppler. You can hear your baby’s heartbeat anytime you want, record it, and even send it to far-away family members. This is a wonderful way to bond with your baby and may be especially beneficial if you're having a high-risk pregnancy.
Read More About the Different Months in Pregnancy: