The eighth month is to pregnancy what early December is to Christmas: You're so close to the Big Day, yet there's still lots of waiting and prep work to do. There's some pain and inconvenience that have to be endured in order to enjoy the fruits of your (literal or figurative) labor, too, as well as a few limitations. Just as you have to forget about short lines at the mall when you're holiday shopping, you have to accept that there are things you can't do when you're eight months pregnant.
Make no mistake, there are some awesome benefits to being in the middle of your third trimester. Morning sickness is (probably) a thing of the past, and your miscarriage risk is far lower than it was when you were in your first two months of pregnancy. The fetus looks like an actual person on the ultrasounds, and you can examine facial features on a 3-D scan. You may even be able to see the outline of a foot or hand as your little one flips around inside you. Plus, your baby bump should be pretty unmistakable now, so you'll get plenty of smiles and congratulations from passersby — and maybe even a seat on the bus or train.
But carrying a baby to term (or close to it) puts extra demands on your body, sometimes limiting or adjusting the pre-pregnancy activities you took for granted. While this can seem annoying or even intolerable at times, it helps to know that this is just a temporary bump in the road to motherhood. You're close to the final countdown now, and it won't be long before you can see your toes again, not to mention returning to the simple things, like the activities below, that are a no-go in the eighth month.
Take A Deep Breath
It's getting crowded in here, mom! As your uterus expands upward to accommodate your growing baby, you may find it difficult to breathe, according to Planned Parenthood. You'll go out of your way to find parking spots close to the entrance of the mall, and you might need a breather midway up long flights of stairs.
Attend A Hot Yoga Class
Moderate exercise such as walking, swimming, and stationary biking not only helps keep you and the fetus healthy, it also can help ward off gestational diabetes, back pain, and other ailments, according to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. Aim for 30 minutes of activity, five times a week. With your doctor's OK, you can even do more strenuous workouts if you were used to it before pregnancy.
But while modified yoga is considered safe, hot yoga or hot Pilates can make you dangerously overheated when you're expecting, cautioned ACOG. Always consult your doctor about beginning or continuing any exercise program.
Eat A Big Meal
As the Mayo Clinic noted, heartburn is common in late pregnancy because the valve between your stomach and esophagus relaxes, causing acid to back up. Rather than sitting down to three large meals, try eating smaller meals more often throughout the day. Stick to bland food, go for baked or grilled rather than fried, and avoid acidic foods such as tomatoes or citrus.
Get A Good Night's Sleep
Between the backache, the heartburn, the bathroom trips, and the nighttime baby acrobatics, you'll probably have a tough time getting your quota of z's. The National Sleep Foundation quoted a study that found that more than 97 percent of women in their third trimester have sleep disturbances, with an average of 3.11 wakings per night.
Lying on your back or stomach isn't recommended during pregnancy either, according to WebMD. Lying on your left side provides the most comfort for you and the least stress for your baby, and you can put a pillow between your legs to ease back pain.
Going Without A Bra
Support those girls! During the final trimester, your breasts will become up to two pounds heavier, WebMD added, so this is the time to get some good nursing bras. You may also notice your breasts starting to leak, according to What to Expect's website; this is the fatty fluid called colostrum that will nourish your baby for the first few days post-birth until your milk comes in.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, driving while pregnant is safe as long as you wear your seat belt properly, with the lap belt below your belly and the shoulder belt falling between your breasts. But if you can't move your seat far enough back so that you can keep your belly off the steering wheel and still reach the pedals, it's best to let someone else do the driving until after the baby comes.
Planning a long-distance babymoon for some couple time before you officially become parents? Check with your OB first. Although ACOG says air travel is safe for most pregnant women, most airlines turn away expectant moms at the 36-week mark or even sooner, according to The Bump. In addition to the blood clot hazards that come with prolonged periods of sitting, it's risky to be far from your home doctor and hospital when you're so close to your due date.
Bypassing A Bathroom
When you're this far along there's no such thing as, "Oh, I don't need to go." As your baby grows it creates growing pressure on your bladder, making bathroom visits more frequent, according to WebMD. Your best option is just to grin, bear it, and go whenever you feel the urge. You'll also be prone to stress incontinence, meaning that you may leak a bit of urine when you sneeze, cough, or laugh. To avoid embarrassment, it's a good idea to wear a panty liner or bladder control pad.