You're now in your penultimate month of pregnancy. This is definitely the home stretch! Before you know it, you'll have a bouncing bundle of joy in your life. Let's talk about what's happening in your eighth month of pregnancy.
- If your baby is biologically male, their testes will begin descending into their scrotum at this stage.
- Lanugo, the soft, fine hair covering your baby, will begin to fall off.
- The baby will be crowding your lungs, stomach, and bladder at this stage. This can cause shortness of breath, incontinence, and difficulty eating large meals.
Your Baby's Growth in Month Eight
Rapid brain growth is continuing in month eight of your pregnancy. The fetus can kick strongly and roll. The bones of the head are soft and flexible to make it easier to fit through the birth canal.
The lungs may still not be fully developed. If born before 37 weeks pregnant, the baby is premature but has an excellent chance for survival. The baby is now approximately 18 inches long and weighs about five pounds. In a biologically male fetus, the testes will descend into the scrotum between 30 and 34 weeks. This process will be complete by 40 weeks.
At this stage, lanugo, the soft, fine hair covering your baby, will begin to fall off.
Your Body's Changes in Month Eight of Pregnancy
Stronger contractions may start this month. Your breasts may leak colostrum (the fluid that will feed your baby until your milk comes in) as they begin to produce milk. You may have trouble sleeping as your belly grows and your discomfort increases. If this is the case, try a pregnancy pillow for added support and comfort.
You may also develop shortness of breath as the baby crowds your lungs. The baby may also crowd your stomach, so eating five or six smaller meals during the day can help. The top of your uterus now lies just under your rib cage. You may get varicose veins or hemorrhoids at this stage. The baby is putting pressure on your bladder, so you may experience incontinence when you sneeze, cough, or laugh. Practice pelvic floor exercises to help manage this.
One cool thing you may notice at this stage is that your hair looks fuller and healthier; this is due to elevated hormones in your body.
Prenatal Care at Eight Months Pregnant
After the 32nd week of pregnancy, you'll need to visit your doctor every two weeks for prenatal check-ups. You should gain one pound a week this month. Call your health care provider right away if you have:
- Blurry vision, or spots before your eyes
- Bleeding or a gush of fluid from your vagina
- A noticeable decrease in your baby's movements
- Cramps, stomach pains, or a dull backache
- More than five contractions in one hour
- A feeling that the baby is pushing down
It's important that you maintain a healthy diet at this stage. If necessary, your doctor will put you on dietary supplements to ensure you and your baby are getting enough of whatever nutrients you might need. Do not take nutritional supplements without a doctor's recommendation; taking them when you may not need them can quickly lead to you overdosing on certain nutrients. This can cause health problems.
Continue with your low-intensity, low-impact exercise as much as possible. If you have questions or concerns about any form of exercise, talk to your doctor. Walking regularly will help you lower your stress levels and avoid gaining too much weight while pregnant.
Manage your stress as much as possible. Extreme stress levels can cause preterm labor if left uncontrolled. Even more moderate levels of stress can have negative effects on you and your baby. If you're finding that your stress is unmanageable, talk to your doctor or to a mental health professional. Practice meditation or deep breathing techniques to manage stress. Set boundaries for yourself and in your personal relationships.
Do not take the content of this article as professional medical advice. It's important to exercise due diligence when obtaining relevant information in matters pertaining to your health. Always consult with your healthcare provider before making any medical decisions.