Welcome to the month of relief! If you’ve been suffering from an unhappy stomach, you may begin to feel better any day now. If you’ve been feeling emotional, you may become more grounded. Energy increases, along with an eagerness to be around people, and maybe a strengthened desire for lovemaking.*
If you’re of the natural mothering bent, it’s encouraging to spend time with other naturally-minded mothers, both expectant and experienced, to share information and form a support group for yourself (it doesn’t need to be formal). Places to find like-minded individuals may be your natural food store, a La Leche League meeting, on Pregnancy Awareness Month’s Facebook Page, or through Mothering.com’s forums.
One of the most exciting parts of the fourth month is the fact that your growing tummy begins to show. The baby begins to grow rapidly.* It’s time to begin gathering maternity clothing. Consider what the season will be in the last three months of your pregnancy, and focus on purchasing the bulk of your clothing for those temperatures. You may also notice a need for bigger shoes. Many clothing stores have recently moved away from selling pregnancy clothing, or only sell limited work casual maternity clothing (and for a high price). If you’re looking for something to wear while not at the office, try Old Navy, Kohls, and Amazon.com for fair deals on everyday items. If you don’t have a lot of money to spend on a new wardrobe, check out Goodwill or ask your recently-pregnant friend if you can borrow some clothing. Some women even wear their husband’s clothing. It’s about what makes you feel the most comfortable.
One of the downsides to “showing” is that people feel this is their signal to share birth stories, and many may be negative. Some people may even question your own birth wishes or plans. Stay strong and remember all the ancestors who have successfully birthed babies before you. What has been someone else’s bad experience does not mean this is the norm, neither does it have to be your reality. Forming a “protective bubble” around yourself and letting people know you only want to hear positive stories is OK and completely justified.*
Unless you are under special care, you will probably visit your care provider for a checkup once this month. While you’re feeling great, now is the time to prepare the nursery and register for baby items or get your old ones out to inspect and clean. It’s also time to explore the vast array of birthing and breastfeeding classes available out there. Since these classes often fill up quickly, register now. Choices range from mainstream classes held at your local hospital, to Hypnobirthing or Hypnobabies, to the Bradley method, to Lamaze, and more. It’s also a great time to begin attending La Leche League meetings to make friends and get a primer on newborn breastfeeding. Breastfeeding can be surprising easily, or extremely challenging. Being equipped with the basics of latching, positioning and pumping before the baby arrives will help reduce stress later.