The 7th month (27-30 weeks) of pregnancy is the beginning of the third and last trimester. The baby is growing at a rapid pace now, which diminishes the amniotic fluid, thus hindering the free movement. As the month progresses, number of changes occur slowly and steadily in preparation of the survival of the baby outside the protective womb. The baby can hear the mother’s heartbeat, and other sounds outside the womb.
The pain sensation is working by now; hence the reaction to pain by the fetus at this stage is similar to that of an infant.
Changes in the baby
The baby has chances of survival in case of birth at this stage as the internal organs have almost matured and are functioning properly. This is a crucial stage in the development of the brain and sensations like pain.
- Accumulation of hypodermic fat takes place.
- Development of sensations like taste, pain and response to stimuli takes place.
- Baby develops hearing.
- The baby now responds to light and darkness.
- Eye lashes appear.
- In the male child, the testicles will descend.
- Skin becomes thick and smooth, with a white coating called vernix, covering it for protection from amniotic fluid.
- The baby will open eyes when awake, cry and suck thumb.
- The lungs, heart and digestive system are still immature though well formed.
- Rapid growth is observed and the baby now measures nearly 37-40 cm and weighs 1000-1300 gm.
Changes in the mom to be
The fullness of the belly and changes in the body makes lying down and resting difficult for the mom-to-be, which results in insomnia and restlessness. Lethargy, a common characteristic of later stage of pregnancy, sets in. The uncomfortable position while sleeping can lead to vivid dreams of baby and childbirth, making the mother more anxious and apprehensive about the upcoming big event.
The body of the mother bears the onslaught of the rapid growing baby. Here are some prominent changes taking place:
- Braxton Hicks contractions increase in frequency.
- As the baby grows and pushes up, pains can be felt in the ribs. In addition, the pressure may cause indigestion and heartburn.
- Sensation of stitch-like pain may be felt down the sides of abdomen as the uterine muscle stretches.
- There is water retention in the body and swelling appears on ankles, legs and face.
- Lower back pain is felt, which is known to last even for a year after childbirth.
- The veins of breasts become more noticeable.
- Discomfort is experienced during bowel movements.
- Weight gain is more visible, especially on thighs, buttocks and stomach.
- On emotional front, the mom becomes absent minded and anxious.
Tips for the 7th month
Rest is important, though elusive due to the growing baby in the third trimester. It is wise to avoid long car trips, air travel or any other activities which could be strenuous or uncomfortable.
- Do not stand for prolonged hours.
- Try to sneak in naps in the afternoon and go to bed early.
- Watch out for the signs of preeclampsia that may manifest in the form of high BP and high protein levels in the urine.
- Take in sufficient amount of zinc because zinc deficiency is known to cause premature birth.
- Avoid activities that could trigger premature birth of the baby, as it will have adverse effects on intellectual and physical development of the baby even after intensive prenatal care at this stage.