8 Months Pregnant: Symptoms, Baby Development And Diet Tips

8th month pregnancy care what to expect, do’s & dont’s

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You are in the eighth month means that you are just a few weeks away from delivering your bundle of joy. This is the period of anxiety and excitement, especially now that you can see your fully grown baby on the screen during a scan.

In this post, MomJunction tells you about the changes that you experience, your baby’s development, and the precautions to take in the eighth month of pregnancy.

Symptoms You Experience In The Eighth Month Of Pregnancy

Here are the symptoms you may experience this month (1), (2), (3):

  • Weight gain: It should increase as per your BMI (4)

 

Pregnancy monthBMI < 25BMI 25 – 30BMI > 30
8th8-9 kg5-6kg4-5kg
  • Breathlessness: The pressure put by the growing uterus on the diaphragm makes breathing difficult.
  • Tiredness: The body has to work more to meet the demands of the growing fetus, which causes fatigue.
  • Nasal congestion: Nasal membranes expand as the estrogen levels increase and cause more mucus to pass through, resulting in nasal congestion.
  • Heartburn: The growing uterus pushes the stomach upward, causing the gastric acids to go into the esophagus and triggering a burning sensation.
  • Bloating: The process of digestion is slowed down due to an increase in the progesterone levels. It makes the tummy gassier and leaves you bloated.
  • Constipation: As the digestion process slows down, the food tends to stay longer in the intestine, leading to constipation.
  • Braxton Hicks contraction: These are painless contractions felt in the lower abdomen. They are normal and prepare the body for labor.
  • Hemorrhoids: The pressure exerted by the growing uterus on the inferior vena cava (largest vein in the body) restricts the blood flow, causing the blood pool in the veins. This results in the expansion of the blood vessels near the anal region, which can be painful and itchy.
  • Varicose veins: The pressure put on the inferior vena cava due to the expanding uterus restricts the backflow of the blood through the veins near the legs. It causes swelling of the blood vessels, also called varicose veins.
  • Edema: The water retention in the body causes swelling of the ankles and feet.
  • Backache: The growing uterus exerts pressure on the lower back, causing pain.
  • Insomnia: Frequent trips to the bathroom and the physical discomforts deprive you of a sound sleep.
  • Leg cramps: The extra weight, vitamin deficiency, or being too active or inactive are likely to cause leg cramps (5).
  • Increased vaginal discharge: The cervical wall and the vaginal wall soften during pregnancy, causing white discharge. It helps prevent any bacteria from traveling to the uterus through the birthing canal (6).
  • Abdominal pressure: The baby drops down into the pelvis by this month, due to which there will be extra pressure in the lower abdomen.

[ Read: 8th Month Pregnancy Diet ]

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Physical Changes In The Eighth Month

By now, you may have experienced several physical changes due to the pregnancy. Here are some more that might become prominent this month.

  • The pregnant belly is more prominent and leans slightly downward as the baby moves to the head-down position by this time.
  • Hair fall reduces due to the hormonal changes, which makes your hair look fuller.
  • The breast starts leaking a yellow fluid called colostrum, which is the first milk your baby will feed.
  • The hormonal changes cause pigmentation that results in darker nipples and areola.
  • The growing uterus causes tearing of the skin tissues causing stretch marks.
  • The line between the belly button and the pubic hairline, referred to as the linea nigra, becomes darker due to pigmentation.

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Emotional Changes In The Eighth Month

Emotional changes that could take a toll on you this month include:

  • Mood swings and anxiety
  • Stress as you may be worried about the delivery and the upcoming responsibilities

As you experience these changes, the baby continues to develop and get ready to come into the world soon.

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Baby Development In The Eighth Month Of Pregnancy

The eighth month spans from weeks 29 to 32 (1). By this time, your baby grows from the size of a butternut squash to a jicama (7).

  • Baby weight (8): 2.54 – 3.75lb (1.153 – 1.702kg)
  • Baby’s CRL (crown-rump length): 15.19 – 16.6in (38.6 – 42cm)

[ Read: 9th Month Pregnancy Care ]

Here is how your baby is developing this month (2), (9), (10), (11):

Body partsDevelopment
LanugoBegins to fall off.
EyesStarts to open and close.
LungsNot fully matured, but breathing practices start.
BonesFully formed but are soft.
KidneysMatured
SkinLess wrinkled
NailsThey extend till the fingertips and toe tips.
Digestive systemStill developing
EarCan hear sounds, prefers mother’s voice or female voices to other voices
Nervous systemIt is almost developed and starts controlling the body functions.

As you are closer to the delivery date, this is also the ideal time to learn about all the possible positions that your baby can or will attain.

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Baby’s Position And Movements In The Eighth Month

Position: By this month, the baby attains a head-down position, which is the ideal position for labor. It helps the baby’s head to properly fit into the pelvis for a smooth movement through the birthing canal during delivery.

However, the baby might sometime attain the bottom-down position, which is also called as a breech presentation. But, there is nothing to worry about because your baby has still enough time to flip the position and get back to the ideal one just in time.

Movement: As the baby has grown bigger, there is not much space left inside the womb for free movements. Therefore, you may feel a decrease in the frequency of movements. Also, the kicks are not as stronger as they used to be earlier.

A healthy pregnancy is possible with a healthy lifestyle and diet. Next, we give you a list of dos and don’ts for this month.

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Pregnancy Diet For The Eighth Month

Here is the list of foods that you must add to your diet (12):

  • Calcium promotes healthy bones and teeth in your baby. According to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG), a pregnant woman should take 1000mg of calcium/day. Add a lot of green leafy vegetables, bread, milk, and fortified cereals to your diet.
  • The ACOG recommends a daily intake of 600mcg folic acid for pregnant women. It is necessary for preventing birth defects of the brain and spine in the baby. Leafy vegetables (spinach, broccoli, romaine lettuce, and kale), kidney beans, lentils, nuts, citrus fruits, and beans are rich sources of folic acid.
  • Iron is necessary for the production of red blood cells that carry oxygen throughout the body. The recommended intake is 27 mg/day (including the supplement). Whole grain products, green leafy vegetables, dried fruit, beans, lean pork and beef, and sardines are a good source of iron.
  • Orange or yellow vegetables (sweet potatoes or carrots), leafy vegetables, liver, and milk are a rich source of vitamin A. The ACOG-recommended daily intake of this vitamin is 770mcg for promoting bone strength and healthy eyesight.
  • Salmon and milk are a good source of vitamin D that promotes healthy eyesight and strengthens the bones and teeth. According to the ACOG, the recommended intake is 600IU per day.
  • Protein is necessary for muscles and brain. It can be obtained from lean meat and poultry, eggs, seafood, peas, soy products, beans, milk, and unsalted seeds and nuts.
  • Vitamin C promotes healthy gums, teeth, and bones. Add citrus fruits, strawberries, tomatoes, and broccoli to your diet. The average daily recommended intake is 85mg.

[ Read: 29th Week Pregnancy ]

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Foods To Avoid During The Eighth Month

Here is the list of foods you need to avoid:

  • Avoid eating raw or uncooked food. It can cause listeriosis, a foodborne disease caused by bacteria (13).
  • Avoid taking too much caffeine, i.e., more than 200-300 mg/day (14).
  • Avoid eating swordfish, tilefish, king mackerel, and shark as they contain a high level of mercury.
  • Women with celiac disease should avoid food containing gluten (15).
  • Avoid unpasteurized milk and cheese.
  • Avoid deeply fried and spicy foods as they can aggravate heartburn.

Considering that you’re so close to labor, make sure you do not miss the gynecologist appointment this month.

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What To Expect During Your Visit To Ob/Gyn?

Here are some of the tests that will be performed during when you visit the doctor:

Physical examinations:

  • Blood pressure check
  • Weight check
  • Measurement of fundal height

Ultrasound is carried out to

  • Monitor the fetal heart rate and growth of your baby in terms of weight and CRL (crown-rump length).
  • Check the position of the baby and the condition of the placenta.

Pregnancy is a delicate phase when you need to be careful and be aware of things that indicate when something is amiss with your or your baby’s health.

[ Read: 30th Week Pregnancy ]

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What Do You Need To Know In Your Eighth Month Of Pregnancy?

Here are some symptoms that may warrant a trip to the doctor (16):

  • Vaginal bleeding
  • Belly or pelvic pain
  • Fever of 100.4°F or higher
  • Dark-colored urine
  • Painful or reduced urination
  • Vomiting that worsens and lasts for more than 24 hours
  • Dizziness
  • A nosebleed that doesn’t stop
  • Persistent headaches even after taking acetaminophen (Tylenol*)
  • Constant leg cramps

Preterm Labor In The Eighth Month

In case of any of the following symptoms, get medical assistance immediately (17):

  • Five or more contractions in an hour or one every 10 minutes.
  • Menstrual-like cramps
  • Any vaginal bleeding (pink or bloody in color)
  • A sudden increase in vaginal discharge
  • Vaginal fluid leak
  • Abdominal cramps with or without diarrhea
  • Pelvic pressure
  • A dull, low backache

If you experience any of the following symptoms, then:

  • Drink a lot of fluids
  • Keep emptying your bladder
  • Lie to your left side for an hour and check the contraction timing

The better you take care of your health, the lesser the risk of any complications.

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Precautions For The Eighth Month

Here are some precautionary measures you can follow during this month of pregnancy:

  • Avoid standing for a long time.
  • Make a note of the number of times the baby kicks or moves. If you do not feel any movement for some time, then eat something sweet because sugar rush makes them move (18).
  • Keep your stress at bay.
  • Avoid smoking and drinking alcohol.
  • Drink plenty of fluids to stay hydrated.
  • Give enough rest to your body.
  • Do not lie on your back.
  • Maintain oral hygiene.
  • Have smaller meals at regular intervals.
  • Do not lift heavy objects.
  • Try walking and Kegel exercises to strengthen the pelvic muscles.
  • Avoid taking any medicine without the doctors’ advice.
  • Wear comfortable, flat footwear and loose, breathable clothes.
  • Avoid cleaning cat litter as it can cause toxoplasmosis.
  • Avoid exposure to chemicals

At this time, your partner can also help make your life more comfortable and safe.

[ Read: 31st Week Pregnancy ]

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Tips For Dad-to-be

  • Help you with household chores
  • Accompany you during the appointments.
  • Plan an outing to make you feel refreshed and relaxed.
  • Give you a good foot massage.
  • Help you in packing the maternity bag.
  • Start shopping for baby essentials.

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Now is the time to wait, while taking care of your health. All your pains will wane once you hold the little one in your arms. Take time out to pack your hospital bag and stay prepared for the little one’s arrival.

References:

1. Pregnancy: Hemorrhoids and Constipation, HealthLinkBC
2. Stages of pregnancy, womenshealth.gov
3. What happens in the eighth month of pregnancy?, Planned Parenthood Federation of America Inc. (2019)
4. Fact Sheet Gestational weight gain, NSW
5. Leg cramps during pregnancy, healthdirect
6. Vaginal discharge in pregnancy, NHS
7. Week by Week Fetus Size Demonstrated by Fruits, EPAOA (2014-2019)
8. Fetal Development, UNSW Embryology (2018)
9. My Baby’s Growth, Sutter Health (2018)
10. Prenatal Form and Function – The Making of an Earth Suit, The Endowment For Human Development, Inc (2001-2019)
11. Fetal development, NIH (2019)
12. Nutrition During Pregnancy, ACOG
13. Listeria Infection (Listeriosis), Organization of Teratology Information Specialists
14. Pregnancy Precautions: FAQs, The Nemours Foundation (1995-2019)
15. How Celiac Disease Affects Pregnancy, Celiac Disease Foundation (1998-2018)
16. When to call us, Kaiser Foundation Health Plan, Inc (2018)
17. Premature Labor, Sutter Health (2008)
18. Fetal Movement Counting, Stanford Children’s Health (2019)

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shreeja pillai

Postgraduate in Chemistry and content writer. She has worked as a research analyst with a leading multinational pharmaceutical company and also holds a diploma in pharmaceutical regulatory affairs. Her interest in the field of medical research has developed her passion for writing research-based articles. She is a writer for MomJunction and aims at providing informative articles based on health and wellness. Apart from writing, she takes a great interest in music and traveling. know more about her at https://www.linkedin.com/in/shreeja-pillai/
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