You’re officially 4 months pregnant? Welcome to the second trimester! This is the fabled sweet spot of pregnancy, when you can put all the yuckiness of the first trimester behind you and coast for a little while. (But not too long, because months 6 and 7 are coming, and they’re a bit more uncomfortable, to put it mildly.)
Four months is usually reason to celebrate: You’re feeling better, people know you’re pregnant and are asking you a million exciting questions, and you may even be seeing the beginnings of a bona fide baby bump. What else can you expect at 4 months? We’ll clue you in.
You may be starting to actually feel pregnant — not just bloated and cranky — around 4 months. After all, your uterus is growing by the day and things are getting just the slightest bit cramped in your midsection.
Here are some other symptoms you might notice:
- heartburn and indigestion
- stretch marks
- spider or varicose veins
- shortness of breath
- nasal swelling and congestion
- irritated or bleeding gums
- round ligament pain
Many of these symptoms, like vein changes and nasal congestion, are because you have so much extra blood pumping through your veins. Your body ramps up production around 4 months and
Other symptoms — like heartburn, constipation, and shortness of breath — are because your growing uterus is shifting your other organs around. We would tell you it gets better, but … these things tend to persist until delivery. Sorry! (The joys of pregnancy, right?)
Most people have started gaining some actual pregnancy weight at this point. You’re not throwing up all the time and are probably having some intense food cravings, so this is normal.
The amount of weight you’ll gain is totally individual. If you have concerns about whether you’re gaining too much or too little, run the numbers by your doctor — they know your medical history and your body size, so they should be able to give you a ballpark number for healthy weight gain in the second trimester of pregnancy.
Regardless of how much weight you have or haven’t gained, your baby belly is likely making an appearance. If this is your first pregnancy, it may still be super small or even non-existent (that’s normal, too!). But if this isn’t your first rodeo, you’re probably well-acquainted with your bump by now as it likely made an early showing.
Hello, little avocado! At 4 months, your baby is between 4 and 5 inches long and may weigh up to 4 or 5 ounces. They don’t have as much fat as an avocado, though — they’re still pretty scrawny, and their skin is mostly translucent.
They may have some hair growing, their reproductive organs are developing quickly (if you wanted to find out your baby’s sex, you probably already know it!), and they’re gaining some muscle strength, too.
Most importantly, their eyes and ears have been developing, and baby can now hear you from inside the womb! You can start talking and singing to your little one so they get to know your voice. It’s also a great way to bond with your baby.
Depending on where your placenta is located, how your baby is positioned in your uterus, and how much body fat you have, you may or may not have started feeling your baby moving around in there. It’s normal if you’ve been noticing tiny kicks and flutters, but also fine if you haven’t felt much of anything yet.
It’s also possible that you may notice some movement one day and then not feel much again for a little while. Again, baby is small enough to be nestling into different parts of your uterus where you may not sense much movement.
You don’t need to start officially counting kicks and keeping track of your baby’s movements until about 28 weeks, so at this point you shouldn’t worry if you’re not noticing any consistent pattern to baby’s bouncing.
Also? Appreciate those sweet little barely-there bumps and nudges. The muscles your baby is working hard to build are going to give them one heck of a right hook pretty soon, and your bladder will be baby’s prime target.
At 4 months pregnant with twins, you — and your babies — are actually very much aligned with a singleton pregnancy. Your twins are also avocado-sized, they’re developing along the same growth curve, and you may or may not be noticing your babies beginning to move around.
The only slight difference is that you may have gained more weight and your baby bump is probably pretty noticeable because there are two avocados in there, not one. (Hey, almost enough to make guacamole!) Otherwise, you’re not at a point yet where your twin pregnancy is going to distinguish you much from a singleton one.
You still have plenty of time to prepare for your baby’s arrival (and decorate the nursery … and take a childbirth class … and reject all of your partner’s name suggestions), but here are some things you can do at 4 months:
- Start building up your maternity wardrobe. The days of looping a hair elastic around the button on your pre-pregnancy jeans are numbered: You’ll have to give into the sweet, cozy embrace of a stretchy panel sooner or later, so you might as well look around for chic but comfortable pieces while you still have the energy.
- Settle on a birthing location. If you don’t know yet where you’ll be giving birth, this is a good time to commit. You want to make sure your insurance covers the location, that you’re comfortable with the staff there, and that you have enough time to schedule a tour before delivery.
- Enjoy healthy eats. Many women gain a lot of their pregnancy weight during the second trimester, because they don’t have morning sickness anymore but they’re not so cramped and swollen yet that they’ve lost their appetite. This is fine. You should eat about 300 extra calories per day during the second trimester! But there’s a healthy and a less-than-healthy way to gain pregnancy weight. Choose foods that are:
- rich in fiber, whole grains, vitamins, iron, and antioxidants
- full of healthy monounsaturated fats, like those found in nut butters and avocados (not the unhealthy kinds found in fast or fried foods)
- high in protein and calcium, for extra bone- and muscle-building power
- Stay hydrated. Your body’s working overtime and needs all the fluid it can get. It’s easy to become dehydrated during pregnancy, which can cause fatigue, headaches, and dizziness.
Usually you’re feeling pretty good during the 4th month of pregnancy but, if you experience any of these symptoms, you should give your OB a call ASAP:
- any new spotting or a significant increase in spotting
- bleeding that soaks through a pad
- severe back or abdominal pain
- fever of 102 or higher
- pain with urination
- blurred vision or extreme dizziness
- watery vaginal discharge (as if your amniotic sac has broken)
- severe or persistent headache
- persistent vomiting or diarrhea
Having one of these symptoms may not be a sign that something is wrong with your pregnancy — you could have picked up a run of the mill virus, or simply be dehydrated. Still, your doctor will want to hear from you to rule out anything serious.
This is the time to sit back and soak up all the good stuff pregnancy has to offer: more energy, less nausea, tiny baby flutters, and dressing that cute little baby bump up in even cuter maternity clothes.
We’re not saying it’s all downhill from here, but when you’re struggling to bend over and put shoes on in a few months, you’re going to miss the 4-month milestone, we promise.