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Month 4

What’s happening with you

Many pregnant women will start to use maternity clothing at this point. The body shape is changing to accommodate the growing fetus and some women experience broadening of the hips. The abdomen begins to bulge with the blossom of pregnancy. Weight gain is healthy and averages about 3-5 pounds per month from here to birth.

Linea Nigra

You may develop a dark line, called the linea nigra, down the center of your abdomen. This is a normal skin change and is common in pregnancy. This dark line will continue to fade after you’ve given birth.

Oral hygiene

Your increased estrogen production during pregnancy “plumps up” the vascular network of blood vessels in your mouth and nasal passages. You may notice a little blood when you brush your teeth, or blow your nose too hard. Although this is a normal response during pregnancy, your care and oral hygiene are important. Be certain to make an appointment for a check up with your dentist and follow a healthy regimen of brushing your teeth in the morning, after meals, and before bed. Regular flossing and care of your teeth and gums is especially important in pregnancy.

Stuffy noses and Nosebleeds

Some women, because of increased blood volume and hormonal activity, also experience a stuffy nose or nosebleeds. Steam inhalation, like a warm shower, or humidified air may help reduce this nasal irritation. Avoid using decongestants or nasal sprays without talking to your clinician. Resist the temptation to blow your nose really hard or you may experience a nosebleed. Swelling in the sinuses sometimes causes cheek or eye pain and headaches.

If you get a nosebleed, lean forward and pinch the bridge of upper sides of your nose to stop the bleeding. Nosebleeds that occur frequently, or with excessive bleeding, or cannot be stopped after 15 minutes of pressure, require medical evaluation. Consult your physician or clinician  immediately.

How you may feel

By the end of your third or fourth month, your breasts will be prepared for nursing. Your breasts will stop growing, easing breast tenderness. Your heart is still working twice as hard to meet the increasing needs of your organs. Your skin and uterus need twice as much blood as usual and your kidneys need 25% more.

Around this time, some women can feel the baby moving inside. It will feel like butterflies in your abdomen, or a bubbling sensation. Often these first movements aren’t felt until the fifth month or week 20.

How baby is growing

The fetus’ heartbeat is now stronger and it has active periods during the day, alternating with rest and sleep. This becomes a predictable cycle of waking and sleeping. The fetus swallows the amniotic fluid and is able to eliminate this by urinating. The body is covered with a fine downy hair called lanugo, which protects the skin. Growth has been amazing and the fetus is now almost 3 times the size and 5 times the weight of last month -- measuring about 6 inches long and weighing about 5 ounces.

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