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If you have hit the eight-month mark of your pregnancy, you are almost there! The feeling of being fully pregnant is most likely to hit you this month. You must have started shopping for your baby already but it is around eight months of pregnancy that you will consider making your house ready for the arrival of your baby. You are in the third trimester of your pregnancy and you must have realised that it is not easy. Your little one will gain more weight during this time and will prepare himself to come out into the world. If you are curious to find out what is going on with your body (and your baby) right now, read this article!
8 Months Pregnant – Symptoms
The eighth month of pregnancy is not easy. There will be significant changes in a pregnant woman’s body during this time as well. Some typical symptoms that mark the beginning phase of the third trimester are as follows.
1. Shortness of Breath
The growing baby and the consequently growing baby bump will add up a few extra kilograms to your body. Internally, the expansion of the uterus starts putting pressure on the lungs and compresses it. These bodily changes can cause breathlessness. This condition improves when the baby positions in the cephalic position during this month.
2. False Contractions
You are likely to experience false contractions during this month. False contractions are also known as Braxton Hicks contractions, that resemble the real labour time contractions. They usually last for a few seconds only. This is a natural step the body takes towards preparing the uterine muscles for delivery. However, less water intake during this time can trigger false contractions even more.
Constipation is a common problem during pregnancy and it can start as early as the first month of pregnancy. But constipation will trouble you even more in the third trimester of your pregnancy. As the growing uterus constricts the space available for the bowels and other internal organs in the pelvic region, you may likely experience difficulty in bowel movement during this month. If you put excess pressure while passing stools, you may also notice some blood in the stool. This condition is easily treatable with a laxative, so, consult your doctor when you experience constipation.
4. Leakage of Breast Milk
As a preparatory step for breastfeeding, the mother’s body prepares the colostrum much in advance. During this month, you may notice that small amounts of this colostrum or yellow milk leaking from the breasts. Not all women will face this issue though. If your breasts leak, you can wear breast pads to prevent your bra and other clothes from getting spoiled.
5. Back Pain
The increasing baby weight and tummy put pressure on the lumbar region of the back. It also changes the centre of gravity. Consequently, many women, during this phase experience back pain, especially after long hours of sitting or standing. If you experience back pain, you can correct your posture by sleeping on hard surfaces and by practising some simple pregnancy-safe exercises.
Physical Changes in the Eighth Month of Pregnancy
Eight months of pregnancy is the time when your baby gains significant weight and grows quite rapidly. This directly brings about a number of changes in the mother’s body. You may start noticing some of the following changes during this time.
- Your baby bump will obviously grow bigger.
- Around this time, urinary incontinence may kick in. A small amount of urine leakage may happen every time you sneeze, cough, or even laugh. It can be quite embarrassing and annoying. Consult your doctor if it interferes too much with your day to day life. Also, practice Kegel exercise to tighten the bladder muscles.
- Heartburn, especially during the night can give you sleepless nights. Try home remedies or consult your doctor for simple and safe medications for heartburn.
- Water retention and swelling of extremities are common during the third trimester.
- Leakage of the amniotic fluid may happen from the vagina for some women. It can be differentiated from urine based on the stronger smell and texture of the fluid.
- Breathlessness and dizziness can occur due to the growing baby bump.
- Watch out for false contractions, also called the Braxton-Hicks contractions that occur during the third trimester. These are not the real contractions that occur during the delivery but may feel similar. Braxton-Hicks contractions may last for about 30 seconds to a few minutes. However, you should consult your doctor if they last longer or you experience pain.
- Your breasts might also start leaking around this time. The first breast milk which is called colostrum may leak from your breasts.
- Hot flashes occur for some women during the third trimester.
- You may get anxious, irritable, and impatient during the eighth month of your pregnancy as the due date would seem near yet it will be far. Getting anxious is very common during this time.
Common Problems That Arise in the Eighth Month of Pregnancy
Each trimester of pregnancy comes with its own set of challenges. Typically during the 8th month, these are some of the concerns affecting the mother and the health of the baby.
Preeclampsia is a pregnancy complication characterised by high blood pressure and protein in the urine. Women tend to have high blood pressure during this time. It is termed as gestational hypertension and can occur due to stress or other health conditions. If this hypertension is coupled with high protein in the urine, it is termed as preeclampsia. Undetected or untreated preeclampsia can be quite harmful to the foetus as it decreases the blood flow to the baby. This concern should be addressed as early as possible.
2. Preterm Birth
Preterm labour is a risk factor in the eighth month as some babies are in the cephalic position and get ready for birth sooner than the full term. Other health conditions like preeclampsia and placental abnormalities can result in the emergency birth of the baby. Babies born in the 8th month have a good chance of survival but require intensive care for many days.
Baby Development During the Eighth Month of Pregnancy
As soon as the third trimester starts, the last leg of development in the foetus starts too. Here are some of the important changes in the baby that happens at eight months.
- A baby’s position changes from breech to cephalic during the eighth month of pregnancy. It means that the baby moves around and fixes its head inside the cavity formed between the pelvic bones. This is a very important step in the preparation of the baby for vaginal delivery. Once the head is fixed, the baby stops moving around in the amniotic fluid and stays put in the cephalic position until delivery.
- The neural connections in the baby’s brain happen rapidly and the brain of the baby starts processing the sound/light from outside the womb.
- During this month, a baby gains considerable weight. The baby’s height also increases in this month.
- The amniotic fluid levels measured during every antenatal visit reduce around this time. It is a sign of development of the baby’s kidneys.
- Displacement of the baby’s testicles (in baby boy) or the development of vulva (in baby girl) happens during this month as part of the development of their genital organs.
- The soft hair that covered the baby’s skin during the first and second trimester begins to shed and the baby’s skin starts maturing.
Do’s and Don’ts
It’s your 8th month of pregnancy and you are almost there. You should be careful during this time. Here are some do’s and don’ts that you should follow as part of the 8th-month pregnancy care and precautions.
1. Eat Healthy Food
You are in the eighth month of your pregnancy and you must be eating healthy foods already. But this is just a reminder to encourage you to keep going. Have a balanced diet and have small but frequent meals. Choose from a list of healthy snack options to satisfy your mid-meal hunger pangs.
Practise Kegel exercises regularly to counter the urinary incontinence. It will also help in strengthening your pelvic muscles after delivery. If you are not into exercises, you can simply walk or practise yoga. Walking or some kind of simple workout every day can increase the flexibility of your pelvic area.
3. Stay Hydrated
Remind yourself to drink lots of water regularly to keep the body hydrated. Drinking water will keep you energized. It might also prevent cramps during this time.
4. Get Enough Vitamin D
Vitamin D is very important for the bone health of your baby and for you as well. So bask in the sun in the morning hours or in the evening.
5. Learn About Breastfeeding
Equip yourself with the knowledge of breastfeeding and other baby care techniques. Join classes or online forums that will give you an idea of basic techniques. These techniques will come in handy once your baby is born.
6. Prepare Your Hospital Bag
Make a checklist of things that you will need to carry to the hospital. Also shop for things that you will require after the delivery like soft cotton sanitary pads, feeding gowns, breast pads, feeding pillows, etc. Plan your travel arrangements for reaching the hospital in case you get your labour pain. Also, purchase the basic gender-neutral essentials for your little one. You will be left with very less time once the baby arrives.
- Don’t eat processed food or junk food. Eating junk food can lead to indigestion and even heartburn. So avoid eating junk completely.
- Don’t forget to take your vitamin and mineral supplements regularly.
- Avoid practising yoga poses or exercises without consulting a doctor or a trained instructor.
- Don’t stress yourself with the thought of delivery and labour. You can cross the bridge when you come to it. Worrying much ahead of time will affect your health unnecessarily.
- Avoid stressing because it won’t make things better for you. Slowly take a back seat from any stressful works as it is likely to affect your baby’s health.
As with every month of pregnancy, even the 8th month of pregnancy diet needs to be balanced and healthy. Additionally, include foods with lots of fibre to overcome the problem of constipation that is likely to hit you this month. Eating foods rich in Omega-3 fatty acids or supplements at this stage will greatly aid your baby’s brain development. It is better to avoid raw, uncooked food, raw shellfish, processed food, coffee and unpasteurised milk at this stage to prevent food poisoning or allergic reaction.
Tips for Father-to-be
As equal partners in the parenting journey, fathers also have a very important role to play both before and after the birth of the baby. Here are some things that soon to become dads have to keep in mind.
1. Reassurance is The Key
Through the entire journey of pregnancy, the mother goes through a lot of uncertainties about her health, her baby’s health, her looks, her future, etc. As a spouse, the best thing that you can do is to keep reassuring your wife positively. Catering to her emotional well-being is also very important at this stage.
2. Lend a Helping Hand
With the growing weight and physical challenges, household chores that require a lot of hard work can become very difficult for the expecting mother. Helping her around with tasks at home can give her some downtime to relax and pamper herself.
3. Pamper Her
Give your spouse’s legs a good massage or even better, book her a spa appointment and pamper her. Time and self-care are going to come to a screeching halt as soon as the baby comes out. Make sure you give her the well-deserved pampering before she takes on the daunting task of childcare.
4. Plan Your Finances
Childbirth and neonatal care can be expensive. Plan your finances to support all the hospital bills. Talk to your insurance company and understand how the claim procedure works.
Eight months is the perfect time to celebrate it as much as possible. As you inch towards your big day, your body will change to suit your growing baby. Take the time off to get pampered and feel special, as you are left with very few days to meet your bundle of joy!
Also Read: 16 Best Fruits To Eat During Pregnancy