The eighth month of pregnancy
You’re on the home straight! At this stage, baby is gradually preparing for his or her entry into the big wide world. The last trimester is full of events…
Your baby’s development
Your growing baby prepares to leave the cosy environment of the womb. The limbs lengthen and the bones continue to strengthen. During the month baby usually assumes final position: head downwards and bottom pointing up (head-first presentation). But this can change again right up to the beginning of the 9th month. Baby constantly drinks amniotic fluid, which contributes to the development of the digestive system, and the lungs also continue to develop in preparation for life outside of the uterus. Baby is about 43cm long and weighs 2.2kg on average. Baby reacts to the environment, to touch and sound.
With space in the uterus reduced, movement is restricted, but stronger and more direct. You should feel at least 10-12 movements a day, if you do not, contact your local antenatal unit: they may need to monitor you to check your baby's wellbeing.
Changes for you
Along with your eagerness to finally meet your baby, you’ll also be dealing with apprehensions about giving birth. Now’s the time to ask your doctor or midwife all the questions that are worrying you. It’s also time to take care of final preparations, make last-minute purchases, pack your suitcase for your stay in hospital... all the things that will make it easier for you (and dad) to dedicate yourself to your baby on the big day, without worrying about anything else.
From about the 34th week onwards, you may be offered the chance to visit the labour suite at the hospital where you’ll be giving birth. This gives you the chance to familiarise yourself with the surroundings and ask any questions about how things are done. If you haven’t yet started your maternity leave, it’s important that you give yourself plenty of time to rest before the birth.
If it’s your first pregnancy you’ll have appointments at 31 and 34 weeks; otherwise you’ll just have one at 34 weeks. Along with routine checks (blood pressure, urine, bump measurement). If you have a birth plan, talk it over with your midwife.