Your Changing Body in the Eighth Month of Pregnancy
There is one word that describes how you feel in the eighth month of pregnancy: BIG. Your belly is big. Your baby is getting big. You’re beginning to have problems getting around. Chances are you’re taking these problems in stride because you know you have only another month or two more to deal with them. Here are more feelings you may have:
More Intense Braxton-Hicks Contractions
These normal contractions can feel like strong bands tightening across your uterus, making the uterus feel hard. At this month, a few Braxton-Hicks contractions may occur every hour. Many times you will wonder, “Could this be it?” Probably not. Your uterus is still just warming up for the real contractions at the end of next month. Use these prelabor contractions to practice your relaxation and natural pain-relieving techniques. Condition yourself to relax, not tense up, with each contraction.
You may begin to feel fewer but stronger kicks during the eighth month of pregnancy. Studies show that women often feel half the number of kicks in the eighth month of pregnancy compared to the seventh. In the final month or two each kick may be a downright pain in the ribs, gut, bladder, groin, back or wherever else your growing baby feels like stretching out. And you begin to feel movement at both ends of baby – feet kicking up against your ribs, for example, while the head is pushing down on your pelvis.
A Greater Need to Rest
Even when your body is not tired, your brain may tell you to take it easy. Having your mental signals anticipate your physical needs may take you by surprise. Your legs may not hurt, nor are you out of breath, yet something inside says, “Sit down.” Listen to your mind, even when your body says to keep going.
There are several reasons for nightwaking in the eighth month of pregnancy. One is that your sleep cycles change, and you may experience more REM sleep – a sleep state in which you dream more and awaken more easily. Also, your enlarging uterus makes it difficult to sleep. It presses upward on your stomach, causing heartburn, and downward on your bladder, necessitating frequent nighttime trips to the bathroom. And babies in the womb seem to have their days and nights mixed up as daytime motion lulls baby to sleep. Then when you rest, baby awakens, stretches and awakens you up by knocking on your insides. Most mothers find sleeping on their side supported by pillows to be the most comfortable. If heartburn is a problem, try sleeping slightly upright on several pillows.