The seventh month marks the beginning of your third and final semester. From now until delivery, you may have to visit the doctor every two weeks. Read our post here and learn about the different changes that your baby and the body will go through at seven months of pregnancy.
7 Months Pregnant Symptoms:
Now that you’ve begun the homestretch, things get a little different. For instance, somewhere around this month, you may experience a slight tightening of the muscles around the uterus. Some of the other symptoms common to 7th month pregnancy include:
- Braxton Hicks:
As you pregnancy progresses, you may observe that the muscles around the uterus tighten. The condition will last for anywhere between 30 seconds to a minute. Braxton Hicks, or ‘false labor,’ contractions are a precursor to the actual labor pain. They’re irregular, infrequent, and often painless. In fact, pregnant women, especially first-time moms rarely notice them. No one’s sure about the actual reason for these muscle spasms- sometimes it’s your hormones at work sending signals to the body to prepare for impending labor. And sometimes, they occur due to a full bladder. Some women experience contractions after an orgasm or sexual activity. The next time you have these contractions, try drinking water because dehydration also causes false labor. Changing your position (stand if you’re sitting, or vice versa) also helps. Ideally, there’s nothing to worry about Braxton Hicks contractions. But, contact the doctor immediately if you notice four or more contractions in an hour or if the contractions are accompanied by vaginal discharge.
[ Read: Difference Between False And True Labor ]
- Increased Vaginal Discharge:
Vaginal discharge is common and occurs due to various reasons (depending on your stage of pregnancy). In the earlier stages, they help to prevent infections traveling from the vagina to the womb. As the pregnancy progresses, your baby’s head presses against the cervix causing a discharge. Sometimes, it can be heavy and even be mistaken for urine. To avoid discomfort, wear a pantyliner or a sanitary napkin, but not a tampon. Similarly, do not douche the vaginal area as it upsets the natural flora around the vagina leading to an infection. Vaginal wipes and washes should also be avoided. The discharge should be clear and odorless; contact the doctor if you the discharge is colored, smelly, or itchy. These are symptoms of thrush- a common infection during pregnancy.
- Leaky Breasts:
Some women may observe that their breasts leak a thick and creamy substance called colostrum. It is normal and no reason to worry. In fact, your body is preparing itself to nurse the baby. While leaking usually occurs in the third trimester, some women observe them from as early as the 5th month onwards. And some women continue to leak milk almost two years after they stop feeding. Breasts pads or nursing pads can help prevent an embarrassing situation.nine times out of ten, leaky breasts are harmless. But, you may have to contact the doctor if the leaked milk appears bloodstained.
It is one symptom that begins from day one and continues until the last stages of labor. Your pregnancy hormones are to blame- they loosen muscles around the GI tract and food digests slowly. While you may feel discomfort, it is good for the baby because it allows good nutrient absorption. As your pregnancy progresses, the growing uterus puts tremendous pressure on the stomach causing the digestive juices to splash back up leaving you with a burning sensation. Remember to eat slowly, chewing every morsel before swallowing. Eating six small meals instead of three square meals also helps. Fiber-rich foods like green leafy vegetables, fruits, etc. are effective against indigestion. If constipation is a problem, speak to the doctor about prescribing laxatives and stool softener. As for home remedies, kiwi juice is a good laxative.
It is not easy to walk with a cantaloupe tied around your stomach 24×7. And there’s also the trouble of managing your growing weight. Pregnancy hormones slow down the brain, making you susceptible to forgetfulness. Lack of sleep also contributes to the problem. If you worry about pregnancy inducing these problems, remember to take a deep breath and relax. It is normal and not a reason for worry. What you can do, however, is to note important things that you are likely to forget. Also, remember to walk slowly to avoid falling.
[ Read: Forgetfulness During Pregnancy ]
As we’ve discussed above, your body continues to gain ample weight. It is normal and in fact, desirable. Burning fat at this stage also harms the baby. Blood circulation also increases to provide enough nutrition for the baby. As the fetus continues to grow, your burgeoning uterus pushes other organs leaving you breathless and uncomfortable at times.
Although uncommon, premature labor can be a real threat at this stage. Babies delivered this month have a fair chance of survival, but, they’ll still need extra care at a neonatal intensive care unit or NICU. That’s because your baby’s organs (especially the lungs) are yet to mature to be able to function without support. Depending on the week, that the baby is born, he’ll be classified as premature or severely premature. For example, babies born before 36 weeks are termed premature, and those born before 28 weeks are termed severely premature. Some of the early warning signs of premature labor include severe bleeding accompanied by or without abdominal pains. Bleeding in this stage could indicate placenta previa, a condition where the placenta completely or partially covers the cervix or placental abruption, a condition where the placenta separates from the uterus. Rather than guessing, it makes sense to contact the doctor immediately if you observe any of the following symptoms:
- Severe bleeding
- Four or more contraction within an hour
- Severe abdominal pain
- Puffiness in your face and hands
- A dull backache or dizziness
- Continuous and severe vomiting
[ Read: 7th Month Pregnancy Care ]
The Baby During 7th Month Of Pregnancy:
At seven months, your baby weighs around 1.5 kilos and measures around 16 inches from head to toe. He can hear and react to sound. Unlike earlier, he now has a set pattern of sleep. His hands and fingers are developed and can be moved. In fact, he may suck his thumb- it is good because it helps strengthen his jaw muscles. And when he’s not thumb sucking, the baby’s probably busy kicking and stretching. By the end of the month, his eyelids may open allowing him to blink or move away from bright light. The hair on his head is now thicker than earlier. He continues to gain fat, especially around the arms and legs. The fat helps him survive the change of temperature outside the womb. But the baby isn’t yet ready to be born.
Your diet should include foods that not only supply nutrients to the baby but also offer relief from some of the unwanted pregnancy symptoms. For example, include lots of fiber-rich fruits and vegetables in your diet to help you cope with hemorrhoids. Doctors recommend that your diet should include at least five portions of fruits and vegetables. Protein is another essential ingredient that helps the baby to grow. Fish, lean meat, and eggs are good sources of meat. As for vegetarians, consider cottage cheese, nuts, and lentils, because they’re loaded with proteins. Contrary to popular opinion, seafood is good for pregnant and lactating women- but remember to steer clear of mercury rich fish like Swordfish, King Mackerel, etc.
As for fats, not more than 10% of a pregnant woman’s daily calorie intake should come from saturated fat (less than 10% for polyunsaturated fat). Doctor’s suggest that monounsaturated fat (peanut oil, olive oil, sesame oil) is the best.
[ Read: 7th Month Pregnancy Diet ]
On Your Mind:
For those of you who live in countries where fetal sex determination is allowed, the 7 month pregnancy could be the time when you know, it’s a boy or a girl. It’s probably time for your partner and you to discuss circumcision (if the baby’s a boy). While certain religions mandate this, for others, it is a matter of personal choice. The American Academy of Pediatrics suggests that the benefits of circumcising exceed the risks associated with the practice. But the benefits are marginal and not significant enough. If you are doing it, doctors recommend that you do it early to avoid complications (1)
Among other things that are likely to keep you occupied, include thoughts about cord blood banking. Again, it is a personal choice that parents need to consider after weighing in their family (health) history. Cord blood contains stem cells that can reproduce themselves and even turn into another type of cells. These can be injected into patients undergoing chemotherapy or those suffering from leukemia to replenish the blood with healthy cells. But the cost of banking these cells is prohibitive, especially when stem cells can be sought through bone marrow transplant (2).
Working moms and those planning to work after delivery may be thinking about child care. Now is the time to look for day care centers around your place. They’re not cheap; so naturally, you’d want to weigh the benefits before deciding on child care.
[ Read: Risks of Preterm Labour ]
Tips For Dads-To-Be:
By now, the doctor would have told you that the baby at 7 months can recognize voices. You don’t have to wait until he is born to connect with your son – sing a song or read a story aloud. Tell him that you love him a lot and can’t wait for him to arrive. And if you are shy to do all this, simply rub your partner’s tummy- babies inside the womb can recognize your caresses. Besides, it makes your wife happy as well. Some of the other things that you could do this month include:
- Help Her With The Chores:
She’s now more tired than ever and needs help with chores like cooking and cleaning. If you can’t cook to save your life, at least offer to clean up after she’s done cooking. You may also have to take the lead in tidying up. With all her energy drained after cooking or managing herself, your partner may have little time to clean the house. If your skills aren’t polished on that front, try hiring a maid.
- Be Patient:
Patience is what you’ll need in abundance throughout the pregnancy, especially during the last trimester. Hormones are making your partner forgetful, clumsy and irritated. She may have forgotten to add salt to the food, or the veggies may seem slightly undercooked. Rather than grumbling or complaining, add whatever you think is missing or simply eat without making a fuss. And if she’s in a mood for a good laugh, try and bring some humor into the situation (remember about her mood swings though).
- Ask Her About The Kind Of Help She Needs:
This is especially true for women who’re house-proud and expect things to be done systematically. If she wants the house to be cleaned in a particular manner, follow her instructions. It may sound strange to you, but there’ll surely be a method to her madness.
- Cherish Your Time Together:
Of course, her friends and family are planning a baby shower, but how about having ‘your special shower’. It need not be too grand. And it need not be about the baby as well. A simple dinner with some roses or a perfume is enough to make her feel appreciated. Speaking of baby showers, check with her friends and gently drop hints if you think she’ll be uncomfortable about something they’re planning.
[ Read: Protein Rich Foods During Pregnancy ]
At The Doctor’s Office:
This month as well your doctor will examine you to determine the baby’s growth. She’ll check your weight, blood pressure, fetal heartbeat, size and shape of your uterus, and test urine to look for signs of a bacterial infection. If you’ve been diagnosed Rh-negative, you’ll be given a shot of an anti-D product.
So these are the general experiences of a woman in her seventh month of pregnancy. Were your experiences when 7 months pregnant any different? Share your stories with us here.
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