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It’s been a long road, but you still have a lot to look forward to at eight months pregnant. By the end of week 37, your baby is very nearly full term.

Remember, only about 5 percent of babies arrive exactly on their due date, and most women give birth somewhere between week 38 and week 42. That means that toward the end of the eighth month of pregnancy you can start to expect to go into labor at any time.

Of course, although you could go into labor this month, you could still be several weeks away from giving birth, so take the time this month to get ready.

Preparing for Labor

Preparing for labor, and watching for the signs of labor, is key at this point in your pregnancy. You know you’re in actual labor (as opposed to having practice contractions, known as Braxton Hicks contractions) when the contractions are regular and occurring at increasingly short intervals. When going into labor, you might also feel lower-back pain, cramps, or pelvic pressure. Your water might break, and you might see a blood-tinged discharge, known as a “bloody show.”

Don’t panic when you notice these signs of labor. Contact your doctor, who will be able to advise how long you should wait at home and when to head to the hospital.

Common Pregnancy Symptoms at Eight Months Pregnant

During the eighth month of pregnancy, you may experience some pregnancy symptoms, but take heart because you’re nearly there. This month, typical pregnancy symptoms might include:

  • Clumsiness
  • Leaky breasts
  • Braxton Hicks contractions
  • Heartburn
  • Indigestion
  • General discomfort due to the size of your tummy
  • Shortness of breath
  • Fatigue
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Urinary incontinence
  • Hot flashes
  • Mood changes
  • Itchy skin
  • Weight gain

Eight Months Pregnant: Changes Inside and Out

Your Baby’s Development: Your baby will have "dropped" by now (moving down toward your pelvis) and will still be growing, albeit at a slower rate. It’s getting very tight in there now, so don’t be surprised if you feel less movement.

Changes to Your Body: Aside from physical changes, you might also be feeling quite emotional. The size of your tummy will be a reason for many people to offer advice, and you might be feeling overwhelmed, anxious, annoyed, or nervous. You might also be feeling a little impatient, but know that your baby is getting ready to meet you and just needs a little more time. Settle into these feelings and remember that this is an emotional time that you will get through — you can do this.

Eighth Month of Pregnancy Quick List

  • Finalize the birthing plan: You might have been working on your birthing plan; make sure you have copies printed out for your medical team.
  • Get your hospital bag packed and ready by the door: Get your hospital bag packed. Your hospital bag should include all the items you and your husband will need during labor and delivery and during your hospital stay. It should also include the clothes and other items your baby will need at the hospital and on the way home.
  • Do a hospital drill: Plan how you will get to hospital when the time comes. Make sure you have a few routes planned out, just in case your baby decides to come during peak-hour traffic. If your hospital allows it, familiarize yourself with the maternity ward so that you know where to go once you get to the hospital. Have the numbers of the people in your birthing team and the address of the hospital on your phone and on the fridge, so you’re not scrambling for these details at the last minute.
  • Make any final finishing touches: Take this time to rest, and put any finishing touches on your nursery and babyproofing efforts. Feeling relaxed is important, so don’t pack your schedule too tight, and try to enjoy this time.
  • Take some healthy steps: There are some little steps you can take such as doing Kegel exercises and breathing exercises, practicing good posture, and keeping hydrated to feel a little more comfortable during the eighth month of pregnancy.
  • Sign up for even more pregnancy tips.