Sandwiched in the middle of the third trimester is month eight of your pregnancy, though delivery day is inching closer and closer. The eighth month of your baby’s gestation is a great time to begin preparing for labor — and what many parents are most excited for: getting to meet their baby for the first time.
Your Body At Eight Months Pregnant
While the eighth month of pregnancy brings along the normal bout of pregnancy-related symptoms (such as heartburn, indigestion, mood changes, and weight gain), there are additional changes that you may have noticed.
Increased vaginal pressure: Overnight, it may feel like you went from carrying a basketball in your belly to a bowling ball. This heavy sensation is caused by baby “dropping” — a term you may have heard to describe the movement of their head toward your pelvis. This additional weight and pressure on your pelvis can cause some discomfort, sometimes irritating the sciatic nerve that runs from the lower back through the leg. Many moms experience vaginal swelling and tenderness due to the weight of their babies.
For some women, a phenomenon dubbed “lightning crotch” occurs, where jolts of nerve pain in deep in the vaginal area can occur. If you feel that the pressure is extensive, speak with your health practitioner for pain relief options.
Clumsiness: Your body creates the hormone relaxin to help you do just want the name implies: relax, stretch, and prepare for delivery. Unfortunately, this beneficial hormone also leads to loosening of the joints and ligaments throughout your body. You may notice that your movements feel wobbly and uncoordinated. This is normal, but can lead to dangerous falls and accidents, so be sure to keep walking areas uncluttered and be cautious around tripping hazards, like stairs.
Increased urination: A growing baby means you’ll feel like your bladder is shrinking. As your baby’s size increases, they’ll put more pressure against your bladder, making it feel as if you have to urinate constantly. Don’t worry, you’re not over-exaggerating — it really is happening more frequently! Unfortunately, this additional pressure can also lead to situations of urinary incontinence.
Unexpected leaking can happen when you sneeze, laugh, cough, or even just on its own, but don’t stress about it. It’s something that happens to all moms-to-be, and nothing a thin pad or pantiliner can’t protect against.
Anxiety: It’s common for many pregnant women to begin feeling anxious as delivery inches closer. The idea of labor and delivery can be scary, especially for first-time moms who aren’t familiar with the process. You can work to alleviate some of this anxiety by taking a Lamaze or childbirth course through a nearby hospital or parents’ support group, or even online.
Practicing labor positions with a partner can also help you feel more confident and prepared. In any case, remember to relax and enjoy activities that help ease your nerves, such as taking a warm bath, reading a book, or spending time with friends.
Shortness of breath: Are you feeling out of breath even after the smallest of activities? That’s a normal side effect of the eighth month of pregnancy. As baby is close to maxing out his or her growth inside the womb, their larger size continues to compress your lungs and reduce their capacity. Remember to take regular breaks, especially when feeling out of breath, and approach strenuous activities cautiously.
Your Baby’s Development At Eight Months
By month eighth, your baby has gone through much of the growing and developing process. At this point, your little one’s major organs are prepared and fully operating on their own (excluding the lungs, which are in the final stages of development). If you’ve noticed additional pelvis pressure, it’s likely that baby’s beginning to or already has moved into the correct delivery position with their head down toward your pelvis.
While baby is slowing down their movements simply because of a lack of space, it’s still important to make note of their daily movements. If you feel that your baby hasn’t moved in some time, you can try drinking a cool glass of water or a slightly sweet beverage (such as a cup of juice) and laying down to jumpstart some activity. If you become concerned over fewer movements, don’t be afraid to call your doctor, midwife, or health practitioner. Your health provider will be happy to confirm that everything is as it should be.
Staying Healthy At Eight Months Pregnant
If you feel that the house isn’t clean enough or baby’s nursery isn’t quite ready, don’t worry — you’re probably nesting. Preparing your space for baby’s arrival is a common activity for women who are eight months pregnant, and can be a great way to alleviate pregnancy-related nerves. Throughout the process, be mindful of what you are able to physically accomplish, and consider delegating tasks such as heavy lifting (most pregnant women are restricted from lifting more than 25 pounds).
As the eighth month of pregnancy progresses, continue moving and exercising — and that includes kegels. Healthy movement benefits both you and your baby, and research shows that even light exercise can help keep pregnant women from gaining too much weight or having too high of blood pressure.
This month, your doctor will continue monitoring your glucose levels, blood pressure, and other health indicators. In the eighth month, they may also begin cervical checks to determine if your body is slowly beginning to prepare for delivery. Follow your health provider’s suggestions for reducing stress, eating a balanced diet, and staying active. They may also review signs of labor with you, and it’s great information to share with a spouse or birthing partner as delivery inches closer.