You have now entered into your eighth month of pregnancy. The count-down to childbirth has begun and both you and your baby will are getting ready for the big day. While you are busy preparing baby’s room, and gathering the necessary items for after the birth, your baby is busy too—packing on the pounds and building muscles.
For some women (especially those who have had more than one baby) Braxton-Hicks contractions may be more pronounced in coming weeks. If you aren’t sure if your labor is the real deal, or just a trial run, try moving around. False labor will not continue with movement as true labor intensifies over time. Braxton-Hicks contractions usually start at the top of the uterus and flow down toward the lower portion of the abdomen. True contractions feel like a menstrual cramp and typically begin in the back and work their way around to the front. If you are unsure about your contractions, contact your doctor and follow his or her recommendations.
Right now your baby is filling their days with lots of preparation for birth. At about 16 inches in length and weighing in at around 4-1/2 pounds, your baby is looking more and more like a newborn. As fat stores continue to deposit, baby is taking on a more solid appearance and losing the almost transparent skin they had before. Since about the 20th week, your baby has been secreting a waxy, white substance known as Vernix to protect their skin. Vernix is comprised of oil and skin cells and helps form a barrier between your baby’s watery home and their tender new skin. Some Vernix may still be present at birth, but it will be washed away with the first bath.
Your baby is on target to gain at least 2 more pounds before the end of this month, and the brain is still developing so it is important to continue to eat well and try to get as much rest as possible. You may not feel the baby moving as much as before, but close quarters have your little one pushing, stretching and flexing now—as opposed to those kicks you felt earlier on.
Changes With Your Body
Your uterus is now 5 inches above your belly button, and the intestines are pushed upward, and off to each side—located under the ribs now, as opposed to the abdominal cavity where they were before.
Changes in location, combined with hormonal relaxation of the muscle wall may leave you with some digestive troubles. Just like in the months before, heartburn, constipation, and indigestion may be a normal part of your daily routine. Try eating small, frequent meals and sitting upright for at least thirty minutes after eating to help your stomach contents stay down.
Increasing pressure from the weight of the uterus (and hormones, of course) are also keeping your lower half from circulating blood as it normally would. As a result, you can expect your varicose veins, hemorrhoids and leg cramps to continue. If any of these are causing discomfort, talk with your doctor.
What To Expect
The coming weeks will bring more of the same physical symptoms, but you may begin to feel a tiny bit more nervous as well. As the big day approaches, make sure to talk with those close to you about any concerns or uncertainties that you may have. Sit down with your doctor and your partner and discuss your child birth options and birth plan if you haven’t already done so.
Take it easy, cut back on all strenuous activities if you feel overly tired. Walking is still a great way to get exercise without straining yourself, as is swimming. Some classes are also designed with the mom-to-be in mind—so keep your eye out for prenatal yoga or aerobics classes.