Month 8

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At eight months, your baby weighs 4 lb, 7 oz to 5 lb, 8 oz, and measures around 12 to 17 inches.

You baby is starting to become cramped in your uterus, and is usually in a fetal position with its head facing down and the arms along the body and legs folded. Its face is becoming round, the arms and legs are getting plumper, the skin is getting thicker and taking on the reddish hue of a beautiful pink baby. The lanugo, or peach fuzz all over its body, is disappearing. Your baby is covered in vernix caseosa, a thick fatty paste that will make childbirth easier. It’s making more movements, and a hand can grab a foot or hold on to the umbilical cord. The umbilical cord itself is a lot wider so the blood vessels can do their job. You can see your baby mimicking facial expressions, scrunching the eyebrows, or pursing its lips if the sonogram disturbs it. Its heart continues beating at 120-140 beats per minute. In these final weeks, the respiratory system becomes fully functional, and its breathing takes on an automatic rhythm. The lungs secrete an oily substance designed to keep the air sacs open. 

The last sonogram is for the doctor to take a final in-depth look at the baby’s measurements and vital signs, and detect any developmental delays. The doctor will also check how your baby’s organs are functioning.

The baby may change positions after this sonogram, especially if the head is not facing downward. A checkup sonogram may be done before the birth to see if it will be a breech delivery, for example.

  • Your changes: Your figure has changed quite a bit and you may be bothered by some aches and discomfort at the end of your pregnancy. Your belly and breasts are now rather large. You get tired much more quickly and tend to lose your balance. The weight of your baby is throwing off your center of gravity. You get out of breath more easily, your oxygen consumption increases 10-15% during pregnancy. As your uterus grows, it constricts the diaphragm, and makes the rib cage smaller. Try reducing your physical activity.
  • You may feel more contractions, but they are not the kind that dilate the cervix. Consult your doctor if you feel pain or the contractions last too long. As the ligaments stretch, you’ll feel pain in the pelvic area. The body is preparing itself for childbirth. If you are in too much pain, a visit to an osteopath may offer some relief. Otherwise, your midwife may be able to help, or prescribe you B vitamins. You may be more susceptible to headaches, so avoid places that are too confined, hot, or noisy. Women often experience side stitches toward the end of pregnancy, but this is totally natural. Your baby is constricting your blood vessels and soft organs. Your sternum and ribs are raising up, which causes pain and the infamous side stitches. Your bladder has less room, and the baby is pressing against it, so you want to pee very often. Many moms complain about returning nausea, or acid reflux and heartburn. You can stave off these awful side effects by avoiding meals that are too greasy or smothered in sauce, or foods that ferment in the stomach. Eat slowly, chew your food well, and sleep with your head raised. You may feel pain in your pelvis, which is totally normal. It’s getting ready for childbirth by opening up the joints to help the baby pass through.
  • This is also the month when you’ll choose your childbirth method, with or without an epidural. You often stress out about the coming childbirth process, the pain, the arrival of your baby, and the responsibilities of being a mom. Don’t hesitate to talk with your midwife, physician, birth partner, or perinatal coach. Keep doing your preparatory relaxation exercises so the delivery goes as smoothly as possible.
  • You must be careful in order to prevent a premature delivery before the 37th week. Over the last few years, the rate of premature births has actually gone up, usually because mothers-to-be are not paying close enough attention to their bodies and do too much in the last stages of pregnancy (standing up for long periods, housework, taking care of other children, etc.), so they tire themselves out and risk inducing early contractions. Premature childbirth is often plagued by hidden factors, and first-time moms-to-be often don’t see the signs. If you experience any pain like an ache in the stomach or kidneys, do not hesitate to go to get tested at the birthing center, or have your midwife stop by. It is better to check on something that seems like nothing than not notice the beginning of labor.
  • Drink lots of waterRaise your legs up when lying down: Reduced blood flow can lead to blood flowing downward into the small veins, causing them to dilate; Avoid crossing your legs for a prolonged period; Avoid wearing tight clothing, and opt for pants with ample room; Walk on a regular basis, at our own pace, and exercise (swim, light aerobics or cycling) with your physician’s consent; Try to avoid heat as much as possible (hot baths, sun exposure, etc.): heat and excess weight tend to make pregnant women’s legs swell up. At night, give your legs some relief and stimulate circulation with a cool shower; Do some lymphatic drainage (or massages) to make your legs feel lighter and keep the blood flowing. If you have varicose veins, your physician may prescribe you compression stockings or venotonic medications that trigger a localized anti-inflammatory actionconstrict the veins, and protect the endothelial cells lining the veins. Save your back by bending at the knees when you bend down, or get on your knees when doing something at floor level. Get out of bed more gently by starting in the side position. Cross the upper leg over the lower one and sit up by pushing on your hands.
  • The eighth month is also when you’ll decide whether or not to breastfeed your baby. It’s a completely personal decision, but before you decide, talk with other moms who have breastfed, and see why it went well for them to get good idea of what you want to do. Your milk is the best natural food for your baby. It has the tastes and smells that your baby knows, but most of all, it is packed with the vital components it needs for the immune system and growth. No mass-produced formula can imitate mother’s milk. Newborns have a strong urge to suck, and will be more reassured when nursing on mom’s milk during breastfeeding sessions, which last longer than bottle feeding. Nature has it all figured out! It’s a special moment to bond with your infant since it allows you to relax, and creates a feeling of trust for the baby. When breastfeeding for the first time, it’s a good idea to have help to give you confidence and get things off to a good start. It’s totally normal if you run into problems at first. Keep at it because both you and the baby are learning. Stay calm and relaxed, and believe in yourself. 
  • Sixth prenatal exam
  • Third sonogram
  • Plan your maternity leave.
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