You are about to finish the fourth month of your pregnancy and are probably enjoying the time more with your appetite back to normal and the morning sickness almost gone. However, there is nothing to worry about if you continue to experience the early pregnancy symptoms as each pregnancy is unique and each woman has a different experience carrying her child.
The overall growth rate slows down a bit from this week; but, the internal organs and systems continue to mature  as the baby keeps practicing swallowing, sucking and producing urine. Another major change this week is your baby’s bone marrow gradually taking over its job of producing blood cells from the liver and spleen . He is also gaining fat fast to stay warm, but he is yet to be as chubby as you are going to see him at birth .
Your baby is no more swallowing amniotic fluid just for working out his digestive system, but is also absorbing essential energy boosting nutrients from it to support his recent growth spurt. However, the placenta is still the principal source of the necessary nourishment .
He now has properly developed taste buds and can taste the amniotic fluid while practicing swallowing . The taste of your amniotic fluid varies every day according to what you eat. Recent researches have even showed that infants tend to prefer foods with the same taste as they were exposed to while in the womb .
The waxy vernix caseosa continues to protect the fetal skin as the baby soaks in the amniotic fluid, in addition to preventing any scratches and cuts as he starts growing fingernails . The eyelashes and eyebrows are developing fast, while the eyelids remain closed to prevent your baby from poking himself in the eyes .
By the 21st week, his arms and legs are already in proportion, while the rapidly developing muscles and neuron-connections contribute to more coordinated baby movements . This, along with the growing size of your baby, makes those kicks and punches feel like real fetal movements rather than just quickening.
The fetal heartbeat continues to get stronger and louder every day as you can now easily listen to the thumping sound with a regular stethoscope .
Your baby has grown around 10.5 inches (26.67 cm) in length (from crown to ankle), weighing about 12.7 ounces (360 gm) , almost the size of a carrot . In a twin pregnancy, both babies are around 10 inches (25.4 cm) long at this stage .
The body changes from last week, such as the darkening skin (chloasma) , stretching muscles and ligaments due to the growing uterus, your shifting center of gravity and the relaxing joints continue into this week . Your belly keeps growing with your baby while you may notice that you have already added a few extra pounds . It is also completely normal to have your bellybutton sticking outward . You may also notice a yellowish fluid (colostrum) leaking from the nipples as your body prepares for breastfeeding .
An ultrasound scan performed this week will help your doctor evaluate the growth and health of your baby. You can see your baby moving his arms and legs or sleeping in a cozy position in addition to finding out the gender in an ultrasound image .
Published on July 8th 2014 by Pregmed Editorial Team.
Article was last reviewed on 13th August 2014.