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Last Updated on January 10, 2018

8 Things To Expect When You’re 8 Months Pregnant

8 Things To Expect When You’re 8 Months Pregnant

The eighth month of pregnancy:  you’re almost there!  At this point, you’re eagerly anticipating having your baby in your arms.  Not only that, you’re probably beginning to feel pretty tired of pregnancy in general.  As your eighth month progresses, there are several symptoms that you should be prepared for. Here are just eight things to expect when you are 8 months pregnant.

1. Breathing will get difficult.

Your baby is compressing the space that would normally be occupied by your internal organs, so they’re all getting squished out of position. That includes your lungs, which are also working harder in the effort to bring in enough oxygen for you and your baby. If climbing a flight of stairs didn’t leave you a little out of breath before, it certainly will as you progress into your eighth month of pregnancy. This is the point where you should sit back, relax, and not be too hard on yourself. Some sources even recommend doing as little as possible, though that’s not a realistic recommendation for every woman.

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2. Your baby will probably turn head down.

This is the optimal delivery position. It also brings baby’s head into your bladder, where you’ll probably feel like baby is sitting all the time. Don’t worry: feeling as though you need to visit the bathroom every 15 minutes is perfectly normal. So is thinking that you’ve emptied your bladder only to stand up and realize that baby has shifted and it’s full again. Don’t use this as a reason to skip your water consumption, however! You and baby both need to stay hydrated.

3. Weight gain will slow down.

Many women discover that weight gain slows down in the eighth month of pregnancy. However, this isn’t true for everyone! If you’re gaining more than you’d like, try to look away from the scale, take deep breaths, and remember that this isn’t the time in your life to be worried about weight gain. It’s all for the baby in the end!

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4. You will experience heartburn.

As your stomach has increasingly less room, you might discover that small, frequent meals are the best way to keep heartburn to a minimum while still supplying the calories that you need. It’s likely that you won’t be able to eat as much as you usually can, and even your favorite foods will likely have to be consumed in moderation.

5. Your baby will begin growing much faster now.

This month, your baby weighs around four pounds. Within the next four to six weeks, baby will put on around half of its final birth weight. That means that you’re going to be growing, too–and growing increasingly more uncomfortable. Don’t be surprised when you need to slow down a lot more than you have previously throughout your pregnancy. Also, around this stage, you may find yourself refusing to take off your yoga pants, which is okay. They’re much more comfortable than any other piece of clothing you own and able to stretch to accommodate your growing belly–which at this stage of pregnancy is exactly what you need.

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6. Your breasts might leak.

If you haven’t already experienced yellowish fluid leaking from your breasts, this month may be when it starts. Your body is gearing up to produce milk for your baby. Colostrum will sustain your baby for the first few days after birth, until your milk comes in completely. If it happens to you earlier or later, don’t worry! When your milk starts to come in is no indication of whether or not you’re going to be able to feed your baby. Also, keep in mind that women experiencing their second, third, or later pregnancies are more likely to produce colostrum earlier.

7. Pillows are your best friend.

As your abdomen stretches, you may experience steadily more discomfort in your rib cage, pelvis, and abdomen. Toward the end of this month, you’ll feel like you’re running out of room in there! To help give yourself some relief, try propping up with several pillows. Lay on your side with one pillow under your head and neck, one pillow supporting your belly, and one between your knees. This will help take some of the strain off your body and make you feel more like yourself.

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8. You will experience mommy brain.

Have you had your first case of “mommy brain” yet? If you’re feeling generally fuzzy-brained and having trouble remembering things that you once took for granted, you’re not alone! Many moms-to-be experience difficulty focusing, concentrating, or remembering throughout their pregnancy and after the birth of the baby. What does this mean for you? Use the “notes” program on your smartphone or get used to writing things down.

The eighth month of pregnancy is often one of the most exciting. You’re getting close to the end, but you’re not yet so close that you’re counting down the days and wondering whether or not your baby will come on your due date. Many times friends and family will throw your baby shower close to the end of your eighth month so that you’ll have time to finish preparing for baby’s arrival. Enjoy this month of pregnancy as much as you can! Baby will be here before you know it.

Featured photo credit: La Curva de la Felicidad/Niklas Montelius via flic.kr

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Paisley Hansen

Freelance Writer

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Published on November 30, 2018

Signs of Postnatal Depression And What to Do When It Strikes

Signs of Postnatal Depression And What to Do When It Strikes

Postpartum depression (PPD) strikes about 15% of women around childbirth.[1] Moreover, this mood disorder is estimated to affect 1% to 26% of new fathers.[2] The causes of which are thought to be linked to hormonal changes, genetics, previous mental illness and the obvious change in circumstance.

The stigma of mental health – with or without support from family members and health professionals – often deters women from seeking help for their PPD. In this article, I will show you 10 ways to begin overcoming PPD.

Symptoms of Postnatal Depression

Postnatal depression is defined as depressive disorder, beginning anytime within pregnancy up to the first year of the child’s life. The symptoms of post natal depression are the same as those of depression. In order to receive a diagnosis from the doctor, 5 symptoms must be shown over a two week period. The symptoms and criteria are:

  • Feelings of sadness, emptiness, or hopelessness, nearly every day, for most of the day or the observation of a depressed mood made by others
  • Loss of interest or pleasure in activities
  • Weight loss or decreased appetite
  • Changes in sleep patterns
  • Feelings of restlessness
  • Loss of energy
  • Feelings of worthlessness or guilt
  • Loss of concentration or increased indecisiveness
  • Recurrent thoughts of death, with or without plans of suicide
  • Lack of interest or pleasure in usual activities
  • Low libido
  • Fatigue, decreased energy and motivation
  • Poor self-care
  • Social withdrawal
  • Insomnia or excessive sleep
  • Diminished ability to make decisions and think clearly
  • Lack of concentration and poor memory
  • Fear that you can not care for the baby or fear of the baby
  • Worry about harming self, baby, or partner

Should you, a friend or your partner be showing any of these signs, I recommend you to seek medical advice.

Causes of Post Natal Depression

It is worth noting here that there is a difference between what is commonly known as ‘The Baby Blues’ and post natal depression.

Postpartum blues, commonly known as “baby blues,” is a transient postpartum mood disorder characterized by milder depressive symptoms than postpartum depression. This type of depression can occur in up to 80% of all mothers following delivery. The Baby Blues should clear within 14 days, if not it is likely an indicator of something more in depth.

It is not known exactly what causes post natal depression, however there are some correlating factors. These factors have a close correlation and haven’t been shown to cause PPD:

  • Prenatal depression or anxiety
  • A personal or family history of depression
  • Moderate to severe premenstrual symptoms
  • Stressful life events experienced during pregnancy
  • Maternity blues
  • Birth-related psychological trauma
  • Birth-related physical trauma
  • Previous stillbirth or miscarriage
  • Formula-feeding rather than breast-feeding
  • Cigarette smoking
  • Low self-esteem
  • Childcare or life stress
  • Low social support
  • Poor marital relationship or single marital status
  • Low socioeconomic status
  • Infant temperament problems/colic
  • Unplanned/unwanted pregnancy
  • Elevated prolactin levels
  • Oxytocin depletion

One of the strongest predictors of paternal PPD is having a partner who has PPD, with fathers developing PPD 50% of the time when their female partner has PPD. [3]

Ways to Overcome Post Natal Depression

1. Seek Medical Help

As knowledge of PPD grows, more and more physicians are becoming aware of the indicators and risk factors. This means that health care providers are looking for signs as early as their first prenatal care visit.

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If you are at risk, letting your provider know early in your pregnancy means that you’ll be given extra support and care throughout the process. It is best to seek treatment as soon as possible.

If it’s detected late or not at all, the condition may worsen. Experts have also found that children can be affected by a parent’s untreated PPD. Such children may be more prone to sleep disturbances, impaired cognitive development, insecurity, and frequent temper tantrums.

2. Therapy

This is the first line of defence against post natal depression and will commonly be prescribed alongside medication. Around 90% of post natal depression cases in women are treated with a combination of the two treatments.

You don’t need to do anything special to prepare. Your counselor will ask questions about your life, and it’s important you answer honestly. You won’t be judged for what you tell, and whatever you talk about will be just between the two of you. Your counselor will teach you how to look at some things differently, and how to change certain habits to help yourself feel better.

Therapy is personalized for everyone, but women in counselling for postpartum depression often discuss topics including; who you’re feeling, your behaviour, your actions and your life. (If you need immediate support please call the San Diego Access and Crisis Line at (888) 724-7240. The toll-free call is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.)

3. Medication

There have been a few studies of medications for treating PPD, however, the sample sizes were small, thus evidence is generally weak.

Some evidence suggests that mothers with PPD will respond similarly to people with major depressive disorder. There is evidence which suggests that selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) are effective treatment for PPD.

However, a recent study has found that adding sertraline, an SSRI, to psychotherapy does not appear to confer any additional benefit. Therefore, it is not completely clear which antidepressants are most effective for treatment of PPD.

There are currently no antidepressants that are FDA approved for use during lactation. Most antidepressants are excreted in breast milk. However, there are limited studies showing the effects and safety of these antidepressants on breastfed babies.

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4. Communication with Partner

Don’t blame yourself, your partner, close friends or relatives. Life is tough at this time, and tiredness and irritability can lead to quarrels.

‘Having a go’ at your partner can weaken your relationship when it needs to be at its strongest. It can be a huge relief to talk to someone understanding.

By spending time with your partner doing activities that you both enjoy, like going for a walk, can really help. This change of state, from moving location, can significantly elevate mood whilst providing ‘neutral ground’ in which to open up communication.

Be honest with your partner and show ways in which they can support you best through this time, even if it’s just talking or letting you have time to go take a shower.

5. Self Care and Rest

Don’t try to be ‘superwoman’. Try to do less and make sure that you don’t get over-tired. It’s common that women are the experts at ‘being busy’ and ‘doing it all’.

Rest whilst the baby is sleeping, and really take time to prioritise yourself. Throughout life, if you’re constantly giving out energy, you will be left feeling unbalanced. It’s important to become aware of one’s energy and making sure to give yourself energy first, before giving out is imperative.

Your body has just been through the trauma of the birth, which is very stressful. It therefore needs time to recover so taking time to yourself is important. Things as simple as a cup of tea, or shower or listening to music will really help.

6. Supplementation (especially DHA)

St John’s Wort is a herbal remedy available from chemists. There is evidence that it is effective in mild to moderate depression. It seems to work in much the same way as some antidepressants, but some people find that it has fewer side-effects.

One problem is that St John’s Wort can interfere with the way other medications work. If you are taking other medication, you should discuss it with your doctor. This is very important if you are taking the oral contraceptive pill. St John’s Wort might stop your pill working. This can lead to an unplanned pregnancy.

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It is also worth noting that fish oil (containing DHA) is being shown to correlate with lower instances of PPD. DHA consumption during pregnancy — at levels that are reasonably attained from foods — has the potential to decrease symptoms of postpartum depression,” conclude study researchers led by Michelle Price Judge, PhD, RD, a faculty member at the University of Connecticut School of Nursing.

7. Movement

Before starting any exercise program, you should consult with your doctor and find a fully qualified pre and post natal specialist. That being said, there is plenty of movement that can be done prior to ‘hitting the gym’, such as walking.

Not only does being outside positively benefit you by getting some fresh air and vitamin D. The same is said for your baby, who will likely sleep better once they’ve been outside. Exercise gets your endorphins going, which helps alleviate depression symptoms, It can also get you focused on something for yourself. In an analysis of data from 1996 to 2016, researchers discovered that moms who stayed physically active after birth experienced fewer depressive symptoms.[4] In contrast, one study found women who led a more sedentary lifestyle were, in general, more likely to experience postpartum depression in the first place. [5]

The type of workout doesn’t matter much. Yoga for pregnant women, stretching, and cardio are essentially equal in terms of making you feel better.

8. Socializing and Support Groups

Do go to local groups for new mothers or postnatal support groups. Your health visitor can tell you about groups in your area. You may not feel like going to these groups if your are depressed.

See if someone can go with you. You may find the support of other new mothers helpful. You may find some women who feel the same way as you do.

9. Accept Help

Some cultures believe that the symptoms of postpartum depression or similar illnesses can be avoided through protective rituals in the period after birth. Chinese women participate in a ritual that is known as “doing the month” (confinement) in which they spend the first 30 days after giving birth resting in bed, while the mother or mother-in-law takes care of domestic duties and childcare.

Whilst this may seem extreme, it’s worth noting that being able to accept help from your friends, partner and family can be extremely beneficial.

10. Avoid Smoking, Drink and Drugs

Which may seem common sense, however you may be tempted by the short term ‘fix’.

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Don’t use alcohol or drugs. They may make you feel better for a short time, but it doesn’t last. Alcohol and drugs can make depression worse. They are also bad for your physical health.

Final Thoughts

Most women will get better without any treatment within 3 to 6 months. One in four mothers with PND are still depressed when their child is one-year-old. However, this can mean a lot of suffering.

PND can spoil the experience of new motherhood. It can strain your relationship with your baby and partner. You may not look after your baby, or yourself, as well as you would when you are well.

PND can affect your child’s development and behaviour even after the depression has ended. So the shorter it lasts, the better.

Sometimes there is an obvious reason for PND, but not always. You may feel distressed, or guilty for feeling like this, as you expected to be happy about having a baby. However, PND can happen to anyone and it is not your fault.

It’s never too late to seek help. Even if you have been depressed for a while, you can get better. The help you need depends on how severe your illness is. Mild PND can be helped by increased support from family and friends.

Featured photo credit: Derek Thomson via unsplash.com

Reference

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