Your baby now is about the size of a jicama. He or she takes up a lot of space in the uterus, weighs about 1.7 kg and is about 42.5 cm from head to heel. Your baby can survive outside the womb if you give birth at this time.
The final touches of your baby’s body is taking place – eyelashes, eyebrows, and the hair on your baby’s head are apparent.
The lanugo hair that has covered your baby since the beginning of the sixth month is falling off, although some may remain on the shoulders and back at birth.
How is my body changing?
To accommodate you and your baby’s growing needs, your blood volume increases 40-50%.
With your uterus pushing up near your diaphragm and crowding your stomach, you may feel shortness of breath and heartburn. To help relieve discomfort, try sleeping propped up with pillows and eating smaller meals more often.
You may experience lower-back pain as your pregnancy advances. If you do, let your doctor know right away, particularly if you haven’t had back pain before, since it can be a sign of pre-term labor.
Assuming it is not, the lower back pain is probably because of your growing uterus and the result of hormonal changes in your body.
Your expanding uterus has shifted your centre of gravity, stretching out and weakening your abdominal muscles as well as changing your posture and putting a strain on your back.
Hormonal changes in pregnancy loosen your joints and the ligaments that attach your pelvic bones to your spine.
This can make you feel less stable and cause pain when you walk, stand, sit for long periods, roll over in bed, get out of a low chair, bend, or lift things.
What should I be concerned about?
The risk of premature labour is high. Signs and symptoms include:
• Contractions that do not hurt but feel more like a tightening in the belly.
• Contractions coupled with back pain or the feeling of pressure on the pelvis or thighs.
• Changes in vaginal discharge: spotting or bleeding, discharge, fluid leaks from the vagina or thickened and bloodstained discharge.
If you have more than six contractions in one hour and each lasts at least 45 seconds, contact your doctor or go to the hospital even if the contractions do not hurt. This is important if you experience vaginal bleeding or belly cramps.
How should I prepare for baby?
Ask your doctor, friends, neighbours, colleagues or other parents to help you find a trustworthy paediatrician.
Pay attention to even small details such as breathlessness as it can sometimes be a symptom of low iron. So go see your doctor immediately.
What tests should I know about?
After week 32, your doctor will recommend twice weekly tests to monitor your progress and that of your baby. Depending on a particular doctor’s preference, he or she may prescribe variable tests based on your requirements that include the following:
• Weight and blood pressure;
• Urine screening to check sugar and protein levels;
• Foetal heart rate;
• Size of uterus by touching the outside to see how it relates to delivery;
• Height of the fundus (top of uterus);
• Varicose veins in the legs, swelling of hands and feet;
• Glucose levels;
• Inoculations against diphtheria;
• Pre-existing symptoms, especially abnormal symptoms.
What should I know about staying healthy and safe while pregnant?
Practising yoga during pregnancy is ideal for your health, provided you take certain precautions.
Yoga requires that you breathe deeply and relax, which will come in handy when facing the physical demands of labour, birth, and motherhood.
Yoga is good for body and soul, as well as can alleviate physical stress and extreme emotions during pregnancy.
Attending a yoga class is also the best way to meet other pregnant women and offer support to one another.
• Toenail fungus treatment
If you develop toenail fungus, treat it with topical anti-fungal creams. These can be used throughout pregnancy, because not enough of the drug enters your bloodstream to cause any negative effects.
This article first appeared in hellodoktor.com and was reviewed by Dr Duyen Le. The Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.