What's Happening In My Body?
You feel good during this month. You have a hearty appetite, and may feel less moody and more in the groove of your pregnancy. Your baby will be moving around a lot, and you may notice that your belly itches. You may also have breast tenderness and leg cramps while you sleep.
During month eight, you may experience shortness of breath as your uterus presses on your diaphragm or ribs. You may have heartburn and indigestion as your uterus puts pressure on your stomach. As the baby grows larger, you may have a hard time finding a comfortable position in which to sleep. Pressure on your bladder may make urination more frequent.
By month nine, you’re wondering if your pregnancy will ever be over. You may have a few Braxton-Hicks contractions, light contractions in which the top of your uterus tightens and releases in preparation for labor. These may happen more after you have been sitting for a while or if you overdo it. You will be feeling the baby’s strong, regular movements, but he may become quieter as the birth approaches. Your ankles may swell due to the increased pressure within your abdomen, the decreased blood return from your legs and feet, and the effect of the hormone progesterone, which relaxes the walls of the blood vessels. Your lower back may ache from the increased weight of your uterus. By this time, the top of your uterus is right under your rib cage and presses against your lungs, while the bottom of your uterus puts pressure on your cervix as the uterine muscle begins to soften. Hormone production in the placenta prepares the uterus for labor contractions and also ripens the cervix. During the last weeks of pregnancy, there will be less amniotic fluid and the placenta will grow less efficient in anticipation of the upcoming birth. At 35 weeks, the baby fills all of the space in your uterus and has usually settled into a head-down position. The baby will move down into your pelvis about two weeks before birth. You may be able to breathe easier as there is less pressure on your lungs and stomach, but there will be greater pressure on your bladder. You’ll need to urinate very frequently, and sleeping will be even more challenging. Your breasts increase their production of colostrum, the early milk for the baby, and the connecting tissue in your pelvis relaxes.
What’s Happening With My Baby?
The baby is about 13 inches long and weighs 2 to 3 pounds. The baby is covered with thin, translucent skin and has hands about one inch long. She is adding body fat and is beginning to practice rudimentary breathing movements in the uterus.
Your baby weighs between 4 and 6 pounds and is about 16 to 18 inches long. Her skin now has fat stores and her liver is storing iron. However, her lungs, digestive and heat control systems have not yet matured. The bones of your baby’s head are soft and flexible. She may respond to pain, light and sound.
Your baby is now about 18 inches long and 5 to 7 pounds, with hands about two inches long. His sucking reflex is mature and his lungs and heart are almost ready to function outside of the womb. Brain growth accelerates, and the baby can see and hear. He has lost most of the lanugo, the downy hair covering his body, and is now covered by a thick, creamy protective coating called vernix. He is less active and is gaining immunities from the mother to protect him after he’s born.
The First Trimester The Second Trimester