It’s the end of your fourth month, and your baby now weighs 2 1/2 ounces. She’s able to kick her legs, which are measurably longer than the arms that she often swings about as she floats in a sea — actually, 7 1/2 ounces — of amniotic fluid. You may be able to discern some of her movements now; some women say they’re like butterfly wings flapping gently. Some first-time moms don’t feel anything, though, until the 24th week.
Your increasing blood and amniotic fluid volume, growing breasts, expanding uterus, and placenta have caused you to gain weight, but you may not be showing just yet. Give it a few weeks, and then the world will know that your baby’s on the way.
Do’s and Don’ts
Do pamper yourself by taking a steamy shower every morning. Indulging in 20-minute steam showers or using a humidifier can help clear the stuffy head that often plagues pregnant women. If you feel like you’ve got a permanent head cold, it’s because more blood than usual is flowing to your mucous membranes, causing them to swell. Saline drops can unstuff your nose.
Suffering from a headache? Skip the aspirin and ibuprofen, which aren’t safe for pregnant women since they could hurt your baby’s development. Your best bet is acetaminophen, the ingredient found in Tylenol.
Mom to Mom
Worried about weight gain? For many expectant women it is a concern. “Focus on the fact that you are giving yourself and your baby quality nutrition, and let the weight do what it will.”–Kathy Kaehler, fitness expert and Los Angeles mother of three.
Flexibility is key when it comes to maternity wear, so look for knits that stretch or spandex to move with you. Check the label to make sure clothes are machine washable to cut down on trips to the cleaners.
Stand up straight to compensate for your growing uterus, increasingly heavy breasts, and shifting center of gravity, all of which can exaggerate the curve in your spine and put unnecessary strain on your back. Good posture is important, especially when you’re working out, so imagine that the top of your head is being pulled toward the ceiling. You’ll automatically straighten your neck, lift your shoulders, and tuck in your stomach and buttocks.
Give your partner a glimpse of what it’s like to be pregnant by encouraging him to give up alcohol and eat just as nutritiously as you. By the end of the pregnancy, he’ll be healthier, and maybe even leaner, too!
Your curious firstborn may want to know how his sibling ended up in the womb. While spelling out the birds and the bees may not be appropriate for toddlers and preschoolers, an older child may be ready to know the basics. Two good titles: How You Were Born by Joanna Cole and Where Did I Come From? by Peter Mayle, Paul Walter, and Arthur Robbins.
With two babies, placentas, and amniotic sacs to support, your feet are probably extra tired and achy. Treat them right by immersing them in a soothing aromatherapy bath: Just add three drops of diluted tangerine or geranium oil to warm water.