8 Months of Pregnancy: What to Expect

Medically Reviewed By Meredith Wallis, MS, APRN, CNM, IBCLC
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As your pregnancy progresses, it is natural to wonder about your fetus’s growth, the ongoing changes in your body, and how much physical activity you should keep up until the birth. There is still quite a bit of change when you are 8 months pregnant, both for you and your fetus, but the final countdown is on. Continue reading to learn more about what to expect at 8 months of pregnancy.

How many weeks is it?

Pregnant mother hugging child
MaaHoo Studio/Stocksy United

Because pregnancy typically lasts 280 days, the length is not actually a full nine months. That means there is some discrepancy in when, exactly, the eighth month of pregnancy occurs. The general consensus is that it takes place between 29–35 weeks of pregnancy.

Self-care

During your eighth month of pregnancy, it is important to continue taking care of yourself as well as the fetus. This can include the following:

  • Getting a good night’s sleep: You might find it hard to get comfortable enough to sleep, but getting a good night’s rest is essential during these last months of pregnancy.
  • Keeping stress levels down: As your due date approaches, it can be easy to get caught up in the stress of worrying about the delivery or feeling anxiety about taking care of a newborn. To help keep stress levels down, find some relaxation techniques that work for you. These could include listening to soothing music, reading a good book, taking a walk, or meditating.
  • Pampering yourself: As your fetus grows, your discomfort can start to increase and your body may feel a bit unusual to you. Therefore, take time to pamper yourself to help reduce that discomfort. For instance, get a manicure, pedicure, or have your hair styled. Many spas also offer prenatal massages. Just remember to get your doctor or midwife’s approval before any type of massage (including feet), and make sure your massage therapist is experienced in prenatal massage.

Symptoms

There are several symptoms you may experience while you are 8 months pregnant. These could include symptoms you have already experienced or brand-new symptoms.

  • Shortness of breath: As your fetus grows and starts to move in preparation for the birth, it could put pressure on your lungs, making it more difficult to breathe.
  • Hemorrhoids: As your blood circulation starts to increase around the rectal area, blood veins could burst, creating hemorrhoids, which can be painful or itchy.
  • Varicose veins: Increased blood circulation could lead to varicose veins, which are raised, bluish veins in the legs.
  • Braxton-Hicks contractions: These are irregular contractions that do not occur in a pattern or get any stronger.
  • Leaking of colostrum from your breasts: Colostrum is the fluid that will feed your infant in the first few days after birth until your milk comes in.
  • Heartburn: As your uterus grows, it can crowd your stomach. Eating multiple small meals throughout the day can help you stay more comfortable.
  • Leg cramps: The additional weight from carrying a fetus can cause stress to your leg muscles and impact blood circulation.
  • Constipation: The increased levels of progesterone that your body produces during pregnancy can slow digestion due to relaxed muscles and therefore lead to constipation.
  • Fatigue: Between the hormonal, physical, and potentially emotional changes your body undergoes to help the fetus grow, fatigue is a common symptom throughout pregnancy.

Baby bump

At 8 months, your fetus will put on a lot of weight. In fact, fetuses in their eighth month typically gain approximately one-half pound (lb) each week and can weigh between 4–7 lb. Your bump may become more pronounced given that your fetus has less space to move around. It may be easier to identify your fetus’s body parts, such as hands, feet, and elbows as they push on your uterus.

Fetal development

Your fetus will continue to undergo several changes while you are 8 months pregnant. These include:

  • The lanugo (fine, soft hair covering the fetus’s body) will start to fall off.
  • For males, testes will start moving from the abdomen down into the scrotum.
  • Rapid brain growth continues.
  • Fingernails reach the tips of the fetus’s fingers.
  • Hair on the head may start to grow.
  • Your fetus’s bones begin to harden (except in their head, where the bones remain soft and flexible to help them pass through the birth canal more easily).
  • Your fetus’ senses have developed.
  • Your fetus has developed regular wake and sleep cycles.
  • Skin is less wrinkled and starts to become pink.

Fetal positions

While you are 8 months pregnant, your fetus will start to move into position for the birth. In most cases, this means your fetus will turn so the head is down, above the cervix. Sometimes this has already happened before the eighth month. It is possible your fetus could be in the breech position, which means the fetus’s feet or bottom is above the cervix. If this is the case, your birthing professional can suggest ways to encourage your fetus to turn.

If the fetus has not turned its head down by around 36 weeks, your midwife or doctor may discuss the possibility of an external cephalic version (ECV) to help turn your fetus into the head-down position. If the fetus remains in a breech position past 37 weeks, your birthing professional might discuss having a Cesarean section (C-section) to ensure a safe delivery for you and the fetus. 

Diet, exercise, and mobility

During your eighth month of pregnancy, diet and exercise continue to play a key role for both you and your fetus.

  • Eating a healthy diet: Your fetus continues to grow a lot during the final months of pregnancy, so eating a balanced diet can provide the nutrients your fetus needs for development. In addition, fatigue likely will play a bigger part in your eighth month, so eating a nutritious diet can help provide the energy boost you need.
  • Exercise and mobility: With the increase in fatigue and pregnancy weight, exercising may feel like the last thing you want to do, especially if it involves bending over. However, taking a walk each day or performing certain stretches or yoga poses can help ward off discomfort or pain. There is research to suggest that remaining active throughout pregnancy can reduce the risk of some health complications and contribute to an easier labor and birth.

Traveling while 8 months pregnant

Due to discomfort and decreased mobility, traveling when you are 8 months pregnant may be difficult. However, if you feel OK or travel cannot be avoided, it is possible to travel during your eighth month of pregnancy.

  • Driving: When traveling on a road trip, take time to stop often so you can get out and move around to improve circulation. Wearing compression socks can also help improve circulation. Remember to stay hydrated and eat nutritious snacks during a road trip. When buckling up, tuck the lap belt of your seatbelt underneath your belly.
  • Flying: Flying is not recommended during the last month of your pregnancy. If you must fly, talk with your doctor or midwife before the trip for specific instructions based on your personal circumstances. Additionally, check with your airline to ensure they will allow you to fly. You may need a note from your doctor. As with driving, wear compression socks and move around at regular intervals to improve circulation — sitting in an aisle seat can help. Make sure to stay hydrated and eat healthy snacks. 

Seeing a healthcare professional

When you are 8 months pregnant, you will likely start to see your midwife or doctor every 2 weeks for prenatal checkups. Your birthing professional will check your weight, blood pressure, and urine for any unexpected changes. They will also check the fetus’s heartbeat, movements, and ask you what movements you have felt from the fetus.

If you experience any of the following in between appointments, seek medical care as soon as possible:

  • headache
  • blurry vision or seeing spots
  • decrease in fetal movements
  • cramps or stomach pain
  • dull backache
  • bleeding from your vagina
  • excessive fluid from vagina
  • more than five contractions in less than 60 minutes

Summary

When you are 8 months pregnant, you and your fetus will continue to experience a lot of changes. These can include weight gain, decreased mobility, and changes in sleep patterns. Your prenatal appointments will likely increase to an appointment every 2 weeks to closely monitor changes in you and the fetus.

Essentially, you will continue following the same routine to care for you and the fetus, such as eating a nourishing diet, getting some exercise, and getting a good night’s rest.

If you experience abnormal symptoms such as headache or bleeding, contact your doctor or midwife right away to get checked out.

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Medical Reviewer: Meredith Wallis, MS, APRN, CNM, IBCLC
Last Review Date: 2022 Mar 9
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THIS TOOL DOES NOT PROVIDE MEDICAL ADVICE. It is intended for informational purposes only. It is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Never ignore professional medical advice in seeking treatment because of something you have read on the site. If you think you may have a medical emergency, immediately call your doctor or dial 911.
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