To accommodate your growing fetus which would have doubled in size in the last four weeks, the uterus will now be the size of a watermelon resting above your belly button. As a result, your belly button will most probably pop. The uterus now pushes against the veins going to your legs. This compression along with the wider veins may lead to varicose veins. These should improve after pregnancy if you did not have them before.
The skin on your stomach may start to itch as the skin around your womb needs to stretch. Using a lanolin-based, moisturizing stretch mark cream may assist with keeping the skin more smooth and supple during the stretching process, minimizing the risk of getting stretch marks.
As the uterus and fetus continue to grow they may put strain on the ligaments around the uterus that keeps it supported in your abdominal space. Think of the ligaments as two rubber bands, one on each side of the uterus stretching and becoming longer and thinner over time as the strain on them increase. This can cause a sharp, stabbing pain on both sides of the lower abdomen. This is normal and not a sign of concern. Rapid movements such as coughing, sneezing and getting up too quickly can cause this round ligament pain. Avoiding these movements or modifying them by bending your knees up to your chest (or as close as you can get them with your growing belly getting in the way) before coughing or sneezing can help minimize the occurrence of round ligament pain.
EXERCISE OF THE MONTH: SUPERMAN IN FOUR POINT KNEELING
1. Kneel on all fours, with your knees directly under your hips and hands below shoulders with the head held in a neutral position.
2. Lift your tummy up and away from the floor, setting the spine into a neutral position.
3. Lift your opposite leg and arm to the horizontal position, keeping the spine in its neutral position.
4. Focus on stretching the arm and leg away from each other, creating a gentle pull over the spine.
5. Hold the position for 5 seconds before slowly returning to the starting position and repeat.
6. Continue breathing throughout the exercise. Do not hold your breath.