This month is the final month of your pregnancy! The baby will “drop”, or move down towards the birth canal. This allows you to breathe a little more easily, although walking may be a challenge. Controlling that bladder may be challenging, too, with all the extra weight on it! Your breathlessness may also be replaces with sciatica as the weight shifts, once again, stretching your pelvic region.
The baby’s head will probably engage in the pelvis this month, if it is your first baby. If you’ve already had one, the engagement will occur closer to delivery. You’ll also get some odd feeling in your vagina, similar to electric shocks. Your breasts will also leak colostrum.
This is also the stage where your cervix will begin to soften and get thinner. The cervix is the opening to the uterus.
The ninth month of pregnancy will usually see the mother start her nesting activities. You may want to clean house, make curtains, wash walls – just be sure to take it easy. With your loose ligaments and relaxed muscles, you can easily overdo it.
The baby is nearly here. It has a good grip, and responds to light. The circumference of the baby’s head and abdomen are about equal. At 37 and 38 weeks, the baby will not grow as fast. At birth, the baby will be a bluish-pink color, regardless of race. The baby’s chest will be prominent, and regardless of gender, the baby will have barely protruding breasts. The baby’s intestines are full of meconium, which will be passed a couple of days after it is born. By now, the baby’s lungs should be well coated with surficant. This will keep the lungs from sticking together, enabling the baby to breathe when it is born. If the baby is full term, the boys will have testes in the scrotum.
With the baby settled down into your pelvis, any movement the baby makes may cause you a sharp pain. The cervix will also “ripen”, meaning it gets thinner and softer. This may happen over quite a few days, or rather quickly.
You probably will have conflicting emotions during this last month of pregnancy. You are excited to have the baby here, but you are tired of being pregnant. You may dread the upcoming birth. Some women become depressed at this time. Some feel this way because they have enjoyed the process and it is nearly over, others are dreading the birth itself, or are not ready for a baby.
Make sure you are seeing your doctor regularly. Pamper yourself, and find positive, supportive companions who will encourage you and build you up during this time. You and your partner should have a birth plan, by now. Also, though, plan for notification to family and friends. Constant daily phone calls by well-meaning friends and family can become discouraging and stressful. You also may want to plan a rotation system for visitors after the baby is born, so you can get some rest.
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During the eighth month of pregnancy, you’ll continue to get bigger, meaning that the baby is growing well. This does, however, tend to make you even more breathless. It will be hard to eat much, because there’s not so much room in your stomach, and heartburn may be worse.
In addition, your breasts will be heavier and perhaps start leaking. You may, at this point, develop pelvic pain or pain in your lower back. All of this is due to the extra weight and the relaxed tendons and muscles.
Braxton-Hicks contractions are part of your daily routine, now, and you may not even notice them. Your skin may begin to itch, especially over your abdomen, due to increased stimulus to your nerves. Your feet may swell, and your ankles, too. You’ll probably also find that it’s hard to sleep. About the time you relax, the baby starts to do gymnastics. Warm milk and a lavender pillow may help you to relax and drift off to sleep. But, even if you can’t sleep, focusing on relaxing your body will help.
Your baby is pink and chubby, with smooth skin. It also has eyebrows and eyelashes. The baby will also frequently get the hiccups. During this month, the baby will rotate into a head down, or cephalic position.
Be really careful with your posture, because the weight distribution, along with the loosened pelvic bones, can really strain your back. If the itching of your abdominal skin is not relieved with lotions, tell your doctor, because it could indicate a medical condition that he needs to treat.
Watch for pre-eclampsia this month. If you have sudden swelling of your extremities or changes in your vision, or if you see flashing lights or have terrible indigestion, contact your doctor immediately.
By now, you’ve been pregnant for about 36 weeks, and you may be getting a little tired of being pregnant. During this month, many women leave their jobs in preparation for the arrival of the baby. This alone is a major change in your life! Be prepared to feel like you’re not contributing, once you don’t have a salary. You may also miss the schedule of responsibilities to a job. Other women miss the freedom of their life BB – Before Baby.
Women sometimes are afraid of labor. If you are, share this with your partner and your doctor, and with your lady friends. When you know what to expect, it helps to feel like you’re in control. Take some pre-natal classes so that you are prepared for the arrival.
Prenatal classes are good for you during this time. Take your partner with you. It often can trigger conversation, and help you to plan for the arrival of the baby.
Try sleeping on your side, and wear a good bra during this time. Check on your maternity leave before you leave work, and make a birth plan with your partner and doctor.
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During the seventh month of your pregnancy, you’ll certainly be aware of weight gain. Some women purchase their first maternity clothes during this month. You’ll keep getting bigger, and those aches and pains you’ve had will get a little more nagging. You may still experience dizziness, and you’ll probably be breathless. The baby is requiring more oxygen, and your lungs are more crowded than ever, so you’ll breathe harder.
You’ll still have trouble with varicose veins and constipation too, or they may appear during this month. Hemorrhoids may also appear during this time.
A new development may be Braxton-Hicks contractions. While mildly uncomfortable, they aren’t usually painful. The abdomen will tighten and feel hard, then it will relax. You may also have vivid dreams during this time, or have nightmares. Your eyes may become dry, making it difficult to wear contact lenses.
The baby itself will continue to develop healthy lungs so that it can breathe air when it’s born. It can open and close its eyes, too, and will respond to outside light. Usually, babies will move their face toward the source of the light. It may also respond when you sing or talk to the baby.
The baby is also developing its own sleep and wake patterns. It is also getting fatter, and its little spleen is forming blood cells. Later, its bone marrow will take over this task.
With baby boys, the testicles will start their descent from the abdomen. They will drop into the scrotum this month. With baby girls, the clitoris may be quite prominent, making some sonograms look like you’re having a boy. However, the clitoris will be covered with the labia before birth.
Among the expected weight gain and breathlessness, you’ll experience some dizziness when you stand up, especially if you normally have low blood pressure. The softening of your muscles and ligaments will continue, making varicose veins and hemorrhoids more likely and uncomfortable. Your eyes, too, will change, with fluid retention in even your corneas. This may affect your vision. However, if you have blurred vision, or if your vision becomes distorted, contact your doctor. You may be developing pre-eclampsia or diabetes.
You will start getting a lot of information from your doctor at this time. The next three months will see a great increase in activities getting ready for the birth of the baby. You’re still gaining weight, but if you’ll reduce your intake of sugars and fats, it will make it a lot easier to lose weight after the baby is born. Keep a journal, so that you have any questions ready for the doctor.
Some women are afraid of labor, and some anticipate it. Talk to your partner and keep him involved, and talk to your doctor. Talk to the baby, too, because it can hear you, and will know your voice and your partner’s voice when it is born. You may need to wear breast pads in your bra to absorb leaking colostrum.
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During the sixth month of pregnancy, you’ll visibly be gaining weight. During this month, the doctor will start measuring the area between the top of your uterus, or fundus, and the top of your pelvic bone. This distance increases as the baby gets bigger. The baby, placenta, umbilical cord, and amniotic fluid all contribute to the bulge being measured. This bulge may make it difficult for you to lie down comfortably, prompting many women to resort to pillows to prop up various parts of their body as they rest.
Other physical changes happen, too. Your hair and fingernails have never been so healthy, and will grow long and thick. Unfortunately, you may grow facial hair, too. Your gums may swell and bleed when you brush your teeth. Many women develop gum disease. It’s important to see the dentist during this time.
Aches and pains will continue during this month, but your increased energy level may make it easier to cope with the discomfort. You may experience constipation and varicose veins. Some women develop hemorrhoids due to the constipation and increased blood volume. Your hands, feet, and ankles may swell, too.
During the sixth month of pregnancy, the baby is gaining a lot of weight, and is getting more normal proportions. The capillaries under the baby’s skin is making it pink or red. The baby is blinking, and has developed fingernails and toenails. The lanugo is well developed, and will help to protect the baby from its own fingernails. The wrinkles present on the 5 month baby are gone, with fat deposited under the skin. At this point, if your baby were to be born, it could survive.
The baby is also secreting surfactant. This develops the baby’s lungs to prepare it for breathing after birth. The baby’s central nervous system has developed to the point where it is monitoring its own respiration and body temperature. If you could straighten your baby out right now, it would be about 36 cm long.
Big changes in your body are the result of the increased blood volume and the increased levels of hormones. The blood volume may cause your hands, feet and ankles to swell. You may try to elevate these extremities whenever possible, or wear support stockings. The hormones have caused your ligaments and muscles to relax so that your body can expand to make room for the baby. The relaxing of your pelvis may cause pain down the back of your legs. The hormones and muscle tone changes may also make varicose veins appear.
The reality of pregnancy is probably set, by now, and you may be nervous about the upcoming birth. You may also be feeling happy and alive, as the pregnancy progresses. It’s common to be happy about the baby, but unhappy and insecure about your physical appearance. Take special time with your partner and friends, to keep a normal view of life.
Eat well, drink water, and exercise. Don’t travel on long trips.
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By the fifth month of pregnancy, you may start feeling like life is more normal. The nausea has subsided, you’re looking pregnant, and your energy level is back up. The size of your uterus will depend on how big you were before you got pregnant and on how many babies you have ad in the past. It will also be affected by how many babies you are carrying.
During this time, you’ll start to get stretch marks. Some people swear that oils and creams help to alleviate the production of stretch marks. Your belly button will also start to stick out, but it will probably go back after delivery.
Many women find that they are breathless during this time, and for the duration of the pregnancy, because of the size of the uterus pressing upward into the ribcage. Hemorrhoids and varicose veins are also common. You may also develop carpel tunnel syndrome, producing a tingling and pain in your fingers.
This is the month during which you may first feel your baby more. This used to be called “quickening”. It will feel like a fluttering in your abdomen. Some people say it feels like bubbles.
The baby actually stops growing as such an exponential rate during this month, but the amazing changes will continue. The baby’s skin will be covered with vernix caseosa. This is a greasy substance that will protect the baby from chapping and hardening. The amount on amniotic fluid will be as much as 350 ml during the fifth month of pregnancy.
During this time, the baby will also start growing hair all over its body. This is called lanugo, and usually will come off before the baby is born, although sometimes it comes off after the baby is born. It will also grow eyebrows and hair on its head. Tiny little teeth are forming in the gums, and the baby is storing brown fat beneath its skin. The baby also begins to hear you at this point, so you can talk and sing to the baby. And, it only weighs about 360 grams.
While your body is not going through as many extreme changes, it is still affected by the extra hormones. This is what causes the carpal tunnel syndrome. It’s because of the extra blood in your body, which causes swelling in your hands and feet, placing pressure on your nerves and on the tendons, too.
It’s pretty common for women to become clumsy or forgetful during this month. Also, during this month, you can get scans to see if the baby is healthy and estimate when it is due.
You probably have made plans for the birth of the baby, by now. Be sure to continue to include your partner in the experience.
Tests performed at this time will alert you to any specialists you may need at the time of delivery. Keep up the good diet and supplements, get moderate exercise, and remain in contact with other women like you.
During the fourth month of pregnancy, you’ll start to really feel that this whole thing is real. You’ll be able to actually feel your uterus, because it has grown above the pelvic area. You’ve also got a lot more blood circulating through your body. The shape of your chest will change, too, because your rib cage is flaring out around the lower part of the ribs.
One great development as you enter the fourth month of pregnancy is that your energy level starts to return, and the nausea subsides. During this month, you’ll start feeling physically fit, and maybe healthier than you ever have before.
Oddly enough, you may develop cravings for some foods that you have never considered before. Some women develop craving for non-food items, such as ice, chalk, and dirt. If you do, talk to a health care professional, because you may be anemic. These are signs that you have low iron in your blood.
Other changes will be in coloring, as in month 3. The areas that had started darkening will probably darken a little more. Your breasts will begin to produce colostrum, too, which is the nutrient rich food the baby will receive when it is first born. You may experience heartburn or constipation. Make sure you have plenty of fiber and water in your diet.
The placenta during this time is performing a multitude of functions. It passes nutrients to and from you and the baby. It also cycles waste from the baby back into your system, which is designed to process the extra waste. In addition, this happens without your blood mixing with that of the baby!
The baby is looking more and more like a baby, too. Its eyes have moved from the side of its head to the front, and its little ears will just about be in position. The legs are getting longer, and the baby is starting to move with more coordinated movements. You may not be able to feel it yet, but it’s there. In an ultrasound, the doctor will be able to detect eye movement. You’ll also be able to tell the sex of your baby. Little girls will already have ovaries with the beginnings of eggs.
Finally, at the 4th month, you have a definite baby bump. The baby itself is about as big as an avocado, but the surrounding amniotic fluid that cushions the baby adds bulk. The baby will also breath in and swallow amniotic fluid.
It is at this point that the doctor will start monitoring the baby’s heartbeat. You’ll also want to go to the bathroom a lot because of the pressure on your bladder. Your kidneys are also working overtime, processing the extra fluid your body is producing. Pelvic floor exercises are important to help cope with accidental leakage from your bladder. Headaches are common, too. You can take Paracetamol.
You may struggle with body image during this time. However, you may be more confident because the risk of miscarriage is reduced.
During the third month of your pregnancy, you’ll start to “show”. Of course, the amount of visual change will depend on your body type and shape, and on how many children you’ve already had. You’ll probably notice that your waist is starting to get a little larger, even if you don’t have a “baby bump”, yet. The progesterone in your system is causing your muscles to get softer, and your digestion is slowing down, too. This may make you feel bloated. You also may experience indigestion and heartburn, because of the relaxation of the muscles of your digestive tract ant the extra hormones.
Other changes that may happen include the linea nigra. It is a dark line that appears, stretching from the pubic area to your belly button. You may also develop the “pregnancy mask”, which is a darkening of areas on your face. During this third month of pregnancy, you may still struggle with fatigue and dizziness. You may also feel warmer than you usually do, and get headaches, and you may be thirstier, too. This is natural, considering that your body is developing more blood, but make sure your blood sugar is steady by telling the doctor if you feel thirstier than usual. All of these changes are normal for the third month.
This month will bring visible changes to your baby. All of its major organs were formed last month, and now it starts growing really fast. The growth of the head will slow down in relation to the rest of the body. Also, the baby’s genitals will start developing externally, although you still won’t be able to tell the gender. The baby’s bladder will start working, too, passing urine into the amniotic fluid surrounding it.
During this third month, the baby will begin to suck and swallow. It is also starting to look like a human, but is only about as big as your finger.
Dental hygiene is especially important during this time, because of the extra hormones circulating through your body. Your gums may start to swell, which is perfectly normal, but requires more care from you. Most women switch to a soft bristle toothbrush during this time. You’ll have more tender breasts and vaginal secretions will be thicker.
Emotional changes have begun to stabilize as you get more used to the idea of being pregnant. You are nearing the end of the first trimester, and the threat of miscarriage is dwindling. Discuss with your partner the changes that you anticipate in your family makeup, especially if there are other children in the family.
Sex during this time should be perfectly safe, unless you or your partner have an infection. Also, if you start bleeding after sex, consult your doctor.
Maintain your healthy diet during this time, and exercise, too. Exercise will be easier since your tiredness is decreasing. Start exercises to strengthen your pelvic floor, and practice deep breathing. Make sure you see the dentist, too.
During the second month of pregnancy, your body is changing a great deal. You probably won’t start “showing” yet, but the development of the baby is significant. The baby’s heart will begin to divide into the 4 chambers and start pumping blood through its tiny body. By the end of the second month of pregnancy, all of your baby’s major organs will be developed. You’ll be able to see its head, which looks huge in comparison to the rest of its body. You’ll also be able to see the liver and kidneys. The baby’s fingers have also separated and gotten longer, no longer resembling a catcher’s mitt. However, the baby will only be about 30 millimeters long! Up until the end of this month, the baby is usually referred to as an embryo.
Quite a few things that are happening to your body during this time may seem to be quite irritating. They do not, however, mean that something’s wrong – things are just changing. You may have “morning sickness” where you get sick at your stomach and vomit. You’ll also continue to feel tired and tender, heavy breasts. You’ll also go to the bathroom more often. Certain smells will make you sick at your stomach, too.
Don’t panic if you have a little spotting during this time. It’s common to have some mild vaginal bleeding around the time you would normally have your period. However, if the bleeding is heavy, and especially if you have cramps, contact your doctor.
Your body is developing and circulating progesterone and estrogen in massive amounts at this time, and specialized cells in the uterine lining are secreting nutrients for the embryo. The blood volume in your body is constantly increasing, too, so even if you don’t yet have a “baby bump”, you are probably gaining some weight. Your breasts will continue to change, as well, with the areola becoming darker and possibly larger.
Hopefully, by now you have become reconciled to the idea that you are pregnant, and have an idea of some of the changes in store. But, don’t worry if you’re still scared or anxious. Each person is different, and your life experience will affect your attitude toward pregnancy. Some women have worries about past pregnancies or miscarriages, while others have no reservations. It’s good to find someone you can confide in during this time. Start a diary. It’s a great way to record your fears, thoughts, and questions, and you’ll find that you can clarify your emotions.
Make plans with the baby’s father, if possible, and consider the timing for notification to family members. It’s also time to go see the doctor. Keep eating a healthy diet. You may find that it’s easier to eat a little bit, quite often, to keep down the nausea and vomiting. Get advice on prescriptions you may be taking, and get plenty of fiber, water, and rest. You also need to get a bra that fits. This will help your comfort tremendously.
When you get pregnant, amazing things start happening to your body, even in the first month. Right after conception, the egg will become embedded in the lining of the uterus. It has been fertilized while still traveling through the fallopian tube, and once it reaches the nutrient rich atmosphere of the womb, it will attach itself and continue dividing at an exponential rate. During this first month, your fertilized egg will become an embryo, and the placenta and umbilical cord will form.
Some of the most common feeling you’ll have during this first month of pregnancy will include an overwhelming feeling of exhaustion. You may also become very nauseated, suddenly getting sick just because you smell food. Your breasts will also become tender or sore. This is because of all the pregnancy hormones that are beginning to build up in your system.
If you take a pregnancy test during this time, the presence of HCG, or Human Chorionic Gonadotrophin, will be detected. This hormone is released to your urine. During this time your body will grow to allow room for your pregnancy. The baby is also growing incredibly fast. These first 3 to 4 weeks are very important to the proper development of your baby. These hormones that increase and change in your body are responsible for your increased sensitivity to smell and taste. You’ll also probably have more saliva, too. One of the other hormones you’ll have is progesterone. This hormone is important for the duration of your pregnancy, to keep it going. The progesterone will be responsible for triggering the 50% increase in blood volume you’ll need for your pregnancy.
This time of the first month of pregnancy is also a time of emotional upheaval. This is brought on by your state of mind about the pregnancy – whether you wanted to be pregnant or not – and by the surging hormones in your body. Your feelings will probably conflict with each other, ranging from joy to panic. As soon as you find out that you’re pregnant, find out if any medications you are taking could be dangerous for the baby.
Since there are usually 2 people that cause pregnancy, there are often challenges with dealing with changes in the relationships. Your partner will have emotional upheaval, too, as the looming responsibilities of fatherhood begin to weigh on him. It’s a good time to take the time to talk and listen.
Your decision on when to tell the friends and family is up to you. Some people like to wait until after the first trimester, because the majority of miscarriages occur during that time. Others want to celebrate immediately.
You can help yourself to have a healthy pregnancy by eating a wide variety of healthy foods. Be sure to take folic acid during the first month, and make sure you are getting enough iron. Rest as often as you can, to reduce strain on your changing body.
Contact your doctor or midwife as soon as you find out, and enjoy this often difficult first month.