Once you enter your fourth month, your risk of a miscarriage is greatly reduced. The fetus is comfortably floating in its safe little world.
Your fetus measures about 8 inches and weighs around 7 oz. You will soon be able to feel it moving!
The sensory and cerebral organs are developing alongside one another.
This is the month when all the glands that control the body begin to function. The pituitary gland oversees the other glands and is directed by the hypothalamus at the base of the brain.
The fetus is now fully formed, but not all of its organs can function on their own.
Its hearing is relatively attuned at this point and will continue improving. It hears different noises, and the brain can decipher them. With all the gurgling noises mommy’s organs make, it lives in a constant world of sound.
Then comes the senses of taste and smell. Amniotic fluid takes on the taste of what the mother eats. The entire nervous system is in place to send an odor to the brain and record a partial memory of it. Babies can recognize the smell of the amniotic fluid a few hours after birth. As early as the fourth month, the taste buds can sense, and the fetus is able to identify the four basic flavors: bitter, sweet, salt and acid. It is already more receptive to sweet tastes. One experiment demonstrated that babies nurse more vigorously when glucose is injected into the amniotic fluid. Babies are also introduced to the flavors their mothers eat the most, like spices and aromatic herbs.
Your fetus sleeps 16-20 hours per day, so it’s normal to not feel it moving all the time.
It can now suck its thumb, and we can see little nails appearing on its fingers.
Your fetus begins growing a bit of hair on its head, and the body is covered in a protective fuzz called the lanugo.
Its heart is beating much faster than normal: 120-160 beats per minute. The heart is very different before birth because the two atria and ventricles are connected.
There are no longer four layers in the epidermis. The skin starts getting thicker, but is still transparent; you can still see its circulatory system.
The skeleton is taking shape with muscles forming alongside it, and the bones are getting harder.
Starting at 16 weeks of pregnancy and as the weeks pass, the fetus’s body grows larger than its head. The arms and legs are longer and more defined. The baby can move them but you may not feel it yet. The brain takes control of movement, which allows the fetus to respond to stimulus.
It is sensitive to touch. You can feel it moving around when you touch your belly. It stretches its limbs and can separate its fingers. This is a sign that it’s interacting with the surrounding environment. The fetus is in the process of developing proprioception. It may even begin developing reflexes. At 16 weeks of pregnancy, it can grab its hands, feet, and the umbilical cord.
It might sound incredible, but it is starting to sense light. It also moves its chest as practice for what will become breathing.
- Your changes: You’re 16 weeks into your pregnancy, and your uterus keeps getting bigger and bigger. It’s starting to show at your waist and tummy. Your baby is growing at a good pace.
- If you feel your belly harden all over, that’s what is called a contraction. At this stage of the pregnancy, they are neither painful nor very common. If you experience painful contractions that become stronger and more frequent, or that last more than one minute, it’s best to consult your doctor. Late-term miscarriages usually happen when the cervix opens. In such cases, the doctor may do a cervical cerclage procedure to prevent a premature birth, and order you to stay in bed as long as possible to reduce pressure on the cervix. You are having dreams and maybe even nightmares. It’s a normal mental process that will prepare you for becoming a mother. You are frequently stressed out at this stage and maybe have fears of birth defects or having problems during your pregnancy. This is completely natural, and you should not hesitate to share your feelings and fears with your physician, who will try their best to reassure you with your baby’s test results.
- Did you know? Amniotic fluid tastes differently depending on the mother’s diet.
- Second prenatal exam: Additional tests may be suggested, which will be covered by Assurance Maladie.
- Early prenatal meeting: Make an appointment to talk about you and your pregnancy, and how you’ll prepare to become a mom.
- Keep all of your test results and sonograms for the follow-up visits. Gather information about birthing centers.