8 Months Pregnant: Symptoms and Foetal Development

Months Pregnant

It’s been a long journey so far, with plenty of ups and downs, but you’ve got loads to look forward to at eight months pregnant because you’ve entered the home straight now. Depending on precisely how many weeks along you are when you read this article, your pregnancy may be almost full term. This stage of pregnancy can be hard work, and you might find yourself getting more tired than usual. Read on, to find out what’s in store for you at eight months pregnant.

Symptoms at 8 Months Pregnant

At eight months pregnant, you might be facing some new symptoms alongside the familiar ones. Hang in there if you’re experiencing any of these this month:

  • Shortness of breath. It’s not just the extra weight you’re carrying around that could be leaving you a little winded. As your uterus grows, space in your abdomen is getting tight. Your uterus might be pushing your stomach up against your lungs, making it harder to take a deep breath. The good news? Sometime before your labour starts, your little one is likely to move further down into your pelvis in readiness for birth. When this happens (if it hasn’t already), it could take some of the pressure off your lungs, letting you breathe a deep sigh of relief. In the meantime, try not to overexert yourself, and take plenty of breaks as you go about your day.

  • Frequent urination. That downward shift of your foetus (if and when it happens) might make it easier to breathe, but the trade-off could be more frequent trips to the loo as your foetus’s head pushes down on your bladder. Keep drinking plenty of fluids to stay hydrated; but consider cutting down on caffeine-based drinks and avoid drinking immediately before going to bed, to reduce some of those night-time visits to the loo. When you use the toilet, rocking backwards and forwards may help empty your bladder properly by momentarily relieving the pressure on it.

  • Piles. Haemorrhoids, commonly known as piles, are caused by swollen veins around or in your anus, and they can be itchy or painful at times. You can get them any time, but when you’re pregnant the increased blood supply and pregnancy hormones can make them more likely to appear. Added to this, in the third trimester your uterus may be putting pressure on the veins carrying blood to your lower body, increasing the pressure in them. Constipation can also cause piles if you need to strain when doing a bowel movement. To help prevent this condition, make sure you’re eating a healthy diet with enough fibre, and drinking plenty of fluids to stay hydrated.

  • Varicose veins. Swollen veins may also appear on your legs. These are often blue or purple in colour and may seem lumpy or twisted. They can be itchy or sore. You might not like the way they look, but they’re usually harmless. Warm weather can make your varicose veins worse, and so can long periods of standing. Help relieve any swelling or pain by resting with your feet up and taking little walks.

  • Leg cramps. Experts aren’t entirely sure what triggers these uncomfortable muscle spasms in your feet or calves, but they seem to be especially common during the third trimester. You may not be able to stop leg cramps completely, but gentle exercise that works the legs, such as walking or prenatal yoga may help prevent them by keeping your muscles supple. Stretching your calf muscles before bed is another good prevention strategy. If a cramp strikes, try pulling your toes up hard towards your shin, or give the knotty muscle a vigorous rub. Tell your doctor or midwife if you have cramps that last for longer than 10 minutes.

  • Fatigue. Nobody could blame you for feeling more tired this month. After all, at eight months pregnant, you’re carrying around quite a lot of extra weight. That bump, and possibly more frequent trips to the loo, might also be getting between you and a good night’s sleep. Get comfy by lying on your side, supporting your bump with extra pillows and putting another pillow or cushion between your knees. You can also fight fatigue by following your healthy pregnancy diet and continuing to take gentle exercise (unless your midwife or doctor has advised you not to). Oh, and be sure to rest whenever you can.

  • Braxton Hicks contractions. At eight months pregnant you might start experiencing practice contractions, known as Braxton Hicks contractions, if you aren’t familiar with them already. These contractions don’t hurt, come irregularly and don’t get stronger over time. They usually last 20 to 30 seconds before the muscles relax again. True labour contractions, on the other hand, come at regular intervals and get progressively stronger. At eight months pregnant, true labour contractions are a sign of premature labour. If you think you may be having regular contractions – even if you’re not sure – call your midwife or doctor, who will know what steps to take.

Your Baby’s Development at 8 Months

When you’re eight months pregnant, your little one is almost ready to be born. The lungs become fully developed around this time, and the digestive system is primed and ready to start processing breastmilk or formula. There’s still plenty of growing and maturing to do though. The next few weeks will be about your little one gaining weight and developing the strength and capabilities needed for life outside your belly. Your little one is now curled up into the classic foetal position, with knees drawn up to the chest, as things start getting cramped inside your belly. There may not be much room in there, but your foetus should be as active as ever. In fact, any reduction in movement could be a warning sign of a potential infection or complication, so it’s important to call your doctor or midwife and get it checked out as soon as possible. Keep in mind that your little one has quieter and more active periods of the day, and even takes brief naps occasionally, so it’s good to be familiar with his or her daily routine so you can detect any changes in movement early. No two pregnancies are the same, so there isn’t a set number of kicks you need to feel in a given time period. For this reason, kick counting apps or charts may help give you a rough idea of the usual patterns of movement, but they aren’t suitable for diagnosing the health of your foetus – always leave that to your doctor or midwife.

How Big Is Your Baby When You’re 8 Months Pregnant?

Now that you’re eight months pregnant, your foetus will go from being about the size of a pineapple, measuring close to 43.7 centimetres crown to rump, and weighing in at around 1.9 kilograms to about the size of a Swiss chard, measuring close to 48.6 centimetres from head to heel, and weighing in at around 2.9 kilograms.

What Does a Foetus Look Like at 8 Months?

Check out these illustrations for a glimpse at what your foetus might look like when you’re eight months pregnant:

Changes to Your Body at 8 Months Pregnant

Eight months into your pregnancy, your growing belly might slow you down from time to time. You’re more likely to experience symptoms related to your changing weight and body shape, like backache, so it’s best to take it easy in the next few weeks. Stick to your healthy diet, with plenty of fruit and vegetables, and the right amounts of carbohydrates and protein. Not only are you helping provide essential nutrients to your foetus during the final stages of pregnancy, but you’re also boosting your own energy levels and building strength. Besides the physical challenges of pregnancy, you may also be experiencing more emotional ups and downs, and stress in this stage of pregnancy. However excited and happy you are about having a baby, it’s normal to worry about childbirth and how your life might change once you bring your little one home. Added to this, the changes that having a baby brings can test even the strongest relationships, so it’s not unusual for couples to argue from time to time. Talking to your partner, family, friends, your midwife and other mums about your thoughts and fears can help put things into perspective. If you’re on your own or if you want some impartial advice, your midwife can direct you to support groups in your local area. If you haven’t already signed up for antenatal classes, this is also something you might want to do. Besides arming you with the information you’ll need for labour, delivery, and beyond, these classes are also a great way to meet other parents-to-be.

How Far Along Are You at 8 Months Pregnant?

It’s difficult to say precisely how many weeks pregnant you are at eight months, because months don’t divide up cleanly into weeks and because the 40 weeks of pregnancy can be split in a few different ways. However, roughly speaking, at eight months pregnant you are approximately 33 to 37 weeks along. This means an important milestone is coming up: At 37 weeks you will officially be ‘full term’. When your pregnancy reaches full term, it will no longer be considered a premature birth once your little one is born. If you haven’t yet reached 37 weeks, it’s a good idea to familiarise yourself with the signs of preterm labour. Even once your pregnancy is full term, every day or week longer that your little one spends inside your belly gives him or her more time to develop and mature in readiness for that day (or night) when you finally get to cradle your newborn baby in your arms. Keep in mind, your baby may not arrive exactly on the estimated due date, which falls at the end of 40 weeks. Most babies (except twins or triplets, who are often born a bit earlier) are born in the week or two either side of their due date.

FAQs at a Glance

Common symptoms you might experience at eight months pregnant include:

  • Shortness of breath
  • Frequent urination
  • Varicose veins
  • Leg cramps
  • Fatigue
  • Braxton Hicks contractions
  • Anxiety and stress.

8 Months Pregnant Quick List

  • Read up on the signs of labour, which include your water breaking and seeing the mucus plug discharge.

  • Ask your doctor or midwife when you should call them if you suspect you’re in labour. Make sure you have an after-hours number for your doctor and midwife, in case you notice the signs of labour outside of normal office hours.

  • Although not all this information may not end up being relevant to you, it might help you feel more prepared and in control to read up on various aspects of a childbirth. We’ve collected some articles that may interest you:

  • Put the finishing touches on your birth plan, if you plan to have one.

  • Ask your doctor and midwife what comfort measures and pain relief options may be available to you at the hospital or birthing centre. These could range anywhere from having an epidural, which blocks pain to non-medical pain relief, which can help you feel more comfortable.

  • Ask your doctor when you’ll be offered a Group B Strep test.

  • Pack your hospital bag with all the things you’re likely to need at the hospital or birthing centre. Don’t forget to pack for yourself, your newborn and your birth partner (if you’re having one).

  • Learn the quickest route to the hospital or birthing centre where you plan to give birth. Don’t forget to find out where to go once you’re inside the building, and which car park is nearest to the entrance you need. When practicing the route, you might like to try a few different options in case heavy traffic or a road closure is blocking the way when the time comes.

  • If it’s allowed, arrange a tour of the hospital or birthing centre where you expect to give birth.

  • Begin looking into childcare options.

  • Still haven’t found a name for your little one? That’s OK—you have time! Try out our Baby Name Generator for some fresh ideas.

  • Put the finishing touches to your nursery, and furnish it with some of these must-have nursery essentials.

  • If you’ve recently had your baby shower, write little thank you notes to all the attendees to thank them for their gifts.

  • Sign up for even more weekly pregnancy tips here:

How we wrote this article
The information in this article is based on the expert advice found in trusted medical and government sources, such as the National Health Service (NHS). The content on this page should not replace professional medical advice. Always consult medical professionals for full diagnosis and treatment.

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