Your Pregnancy: Month 8
Feel that weight in your lower back, in your hips, pressing down on your pelvic floor? Your baby is busy packing on the pounds!
You’re nearing the home stretch, mama! Here’s everything you need to know about the eighth month of pregnancy, including:
What to expect during weeks 31, 32, 33 and 34 of pregnancy
Common symptoms during the eighth month of pregnancy
- Emotions during month eight of pregnancy
- To-do list in the eighth month of pregnancy
- Self-care during month eight of pregnancy
- Your partner during the eighth month of pregnancy
Pregnancy weeks 31 and 32
Your baby is the size of: a coconut
You might think your baby is heavy enough at three-plus pounds, but be prepared for them to pack on three to five more pounds before birth! The brain is developing very quickly and your little one is now receiving signals from all five senses. Skills such as swallowing, sucking and breathing are also being perfected. Don’t panic if you feel out of breath, you experience Braxton Hicks (“practice”) contractions and your breasts start leaking colostrum (a yellowish substance known as pre-milk) – these are all normal occurrences.
By week 32, your baby’s digestive system and skeleton are completely formed. The skin is becoming opaque as fat accumulates underneath it. Other preparations your baby is making for its grand entrance include assuming the head-down position in your pelvis (unless yours is in the five percent who prefer bottom-down) and practicing sleep cycles of 20 to 40 minutes.
Pregnancy weeks 33 and 34
Your baby is the size of: a honeydew melon
Weighing in at four and a half pounds and measuring between 17 and 19 inches, your baby is really getting big! There is less movement in your belly now that your little melon has started running out of room and is forced to curl up on itself. Your baby is starting to differentiate night from day and has developed its own immune system. The bones are beginning to harden except for those in the skull because they need to stay flexible for the delivery.
At week 34, the organs are almost all fully developed. If your baby was born now, it would have a good chance of surviving. Fingernails reach the ends of the fingers and in some babies the hair is quite thick. Baby boys’ testicles descend from the abdomen to the scrotum this week.
Common symptoms during the eighth month of pregnancy
This month, you might experience:
- Faintness and dizziness
- Bloating and gas
- Increased vaginal discharge
- Leg cramps
- Round ligament pain
- Frequent urination
- Shortness of breath
- Varicose veins
- Stretch marks
- Blurred vision
- Increased fetal movement
- Braxton Hicks contractions
Emotions during the eighth month of pregnancy
If you feel like you’ve been pregnant forever and you’re a little (OK, a lot) over it, you’re not alone. By this stage, many women feel heavy, tired and ready to get it over with. But you might also be worried about childbirth and how it will go for you. These mixed emotions are entirely normal. Chat to veteran mamas for some reassurance and to get a morale boost from their funny anecdotes. Every mom has a few good ones!
What to do during the eighth month of pregnancy
Try to get these tasks done this month so you’re prepared for the arrival of your baby:
- Attend all your prenatal appointments – which are probably every two weeks at this stage – to make sure your health and your baby’s growth are on track.
- Write a birth plan that includes any pain-relief options you might wish to use and any other requests you have for your labor. Discuss it with your partner and your healthcare provider to ensure you’re all on the same page. You may also want to write a postpartum plan outlining your wishes for the first few months after the birth.
- Make sure your baby’s car seat is correctly installed in the rear-facing position in your car. You won’t be able to take your baby home without it!
- It’s a good idea to put together your baby’s crib and finish setting up the nursery so you can put your feet next month (or be ready if your baby comes early!)
- Towards the end of the month, pack your hospital bag to ensure you’re ready to go at any time. Not sure what to pack? Check out our list.
- You may be able to prevent varicose veins by avoiding sitting or standing for too long, exercising regularly, elevating your feet as often as possible and wearing support hose.
- While some swelling is normal (and can be kept in check by drinking plenty of water), you should talk to your doctor immediately if you notice sudden facial swelling. It can be a sign of preeclampsia, especially if it’s accompanied by visual changes or headaches.
- Have you decided whether you want to give breastfeeding a crack? If so, now is a good time to take a breastfeeding class.
- Belly feeling full… of baby? Eat small, regular snacks instead of big meals to avoid that overfull feeling.
- It’s important to know the signs of preterm labor – cramps, a dull backache, spotting or bleeding, water breaking and tightening in the uterus – so that you’re prepared if it happens to you.
- Feeling frisky? It is safe to continue having sex until the end of your pregnancy unless your doctor has advised otherwise. But if you don’t feel like it, that’s completely normal and OK too!
Self-care during the eighth month of pregnancy
Even though you may feel like pregnancy will never end, the finish line is almost in sight! Try to keep your spirits up with a solid self-care routine. Rest as much as you can, exercise regularly (gentle walks or yoga are enough), snack often, watch funny movies or TV shows, and chat to positive friends who make you feel good about yourself.
Your partner during the seventh month of pregnancy
Your partner should make sure their immunizations are up to date before the baby arrives – especially the Tdap shot for whooping cough and the flu shot. Make sure your partner knows all about your birth plan and labor wishes. And don’t forget to tell them where you’ve hidden your hospital bag!