This is the eight month of your pregnancy and some of you might be experiencing early contractions which could indicate false labor symptoms in most cases as the body starts practicing for true labor. You could practice a few things to reduce the contractions which become quite uncomfortable after some time. Changing positions is very useful in most cases and tend to reduce the discomfort. Taking a warm water bath can help some women, drinking water or eating small meals might also reduce the contractions. You can by now start discussing about what can happen when you go into labor with your family or partner as this will help in preparing you mentally for the oncoming period. The third trimester symptoms will still exist and as the weight of the uterus increases with the weight of the baby you can feel rather uncomfortable especially while breathing, sleeping, sitting or walking. You need to be careful of feeling faint as in the last few weeks the blood tends to pool in the lower limbs resulting in low blood pressure. You need to change your body position slowly and carefully to avoid falling or feeling faint. The baby’s brain develops rapidly in this stage and the bones also continue growing and becoming stronger hence you need to continue eating a healthy diet to make sure the baby gets the proper nourishment it needs. The folds in the baby’s skin start disappearing and the baby begins to look chubby. Try to be relaxed during this period as the nearing of the delivery period can make some women quite nervous.
Your Symptoms: It is probably hard to get comfortable sitting or lying down due to your large size. You may also be experiencing heartburn and shortness of breath.
Baby’s Development: Baby’s stomach now fills and empties every 40 minutes, and the intestines are mature enough to digest milk and absorb nutrients.
Baby’s Size: 39.9 cm, 1.3 kg.
To Do: Run errands and purchase items that you will need in the first few weeks such as thank-you cards, diapers, wipes, and other baby items.
The baby keeps maturing as weeks go by. There is a 50% chance of surviving if the baby is born during this time. The baby can change its position to a head down position at this time getting ready for the delivery. The baby’s length is around 16 inches and the weight about 4 ½ pounds. The skin is red and wrinkly with less of downy hair and more of vernix which is the protective layer covering your baby. The baby’s brain is developing well so be sure that you eat well at this stage. The baby will gain at least two pounds before the end of the eight month. The movements of the baby might reduce because of its increasing size and its tight fit in the uterus. The baby’s lungs are still developing though the rest of the body is pretty well formed by now. The eyes start functioning and are able to focus and blink by now. The umbilical cord is coated with a gelatinous substance so even if the baby turns and twists the cord is protected from kinks and knots. The baby’s skeleton is completely formed by now but the bones are soft and flexible and will harden later. The baby’s toenails and fingernails have formed and the baby might even scratch itself. Experts have found that the baby now develops sensitivity to temperature and you can a swift kick if you place a hot pad on your growing belly.
Changes with your body
You will feel the Braxton Hicks contractions quite regularly now but there is no reason to worry as the uterus muscles are exercising to get stronger for the actual delivery. The baby might have dropped into the pelvis in preparation for the birth. This could cause the pelvis to stretch and increase the pressure in the lower abdomen. The increasing size of the baby might be pushing it in your ribcage making you rather uncomfortable. Your estrogen levels keep rising making your uterus more sensitive to oxytocin which is the hormone needed by your body to cause contractions. The top of the uterus will be about 5 inches above the belly and this can cause difficulty in breathing due the pressure of the uterus on the diaphragm and can even create heartburn. The most common pregnancy symptoms felt by women by this stage would be fatigue, breathlessness, backache, constipation, faintness, leg cramps, insomnia, and mood changes, swelling in breasts, leaking breasts, bleeding gums, contractions, vaginal discharge, nosebleeds, stretch marks, frequent urination, varicose veins, hemorrhoids, heartburn and indigestion. You will mostly be gaining about a pound per week and your blood volume must have increased by 40% to 50% by now to allow your body to accommodate your baby and you. This increased volume of blood is important at this stage considering the amount of blood you will be losing during delivery. You will also be concerned about the oncoming labor and start reading or finding out more about labor skills and the method of dealing with them.
What to expect
You can expect to find out more about the signs to look out for in case of true labor. Your body might already be going through periods of contractions that can be regular or irregular. These contractions can be mild or strong and some women might not even notice them. The major difference is that true labor contractions will not slow down or space out when you change activities and will in fact increase with a change in activity. In true labor the contractions will build in intensity and length and will become shorter in durations or frequency. There are some self tests which can be done by you to find out if you are experiencing true labor. Sometimes hunger or dehydration tends to increase the intensity of contractions so you can try drinking water or eating food to see if the symptoms reduce. Try to change your activities to see if there is a change in the intensity of the contractions. Try and watch the contraction pattern and if the patterns are not regular or getting closer then there is no reason to panic as yet. You can follow several techniques to keep you relaxed for the oncoming delivery. Meditation, breathing techniques, aromatherapy, basic gentle massage, pedicure and manicure can help you feel relaxed as well as give you the chance to pamper yourself before the due date arrive.