So, the third trimester has just begun and your belly is big enough to show that you’re pregnant. You already own a wardrobe of maternity wear, which is getting tighter each day. The fact is that you will gain some more weight during this month since your baby is drastically growing in size. Now that the major developmental growth has already taken place, the baby is just gaining more and more fat, which is making your belly look bigger and bigger.

But, you are not just getting bigger, there is a lot going on inside your body, because of the changing hormones, which are preparing you for the phase of childbirth. Are you excited?

To heed your glee, this article will provide a picture of how your baby is growing inside your womb. And if you are dubious of any symptoms you observe or are worried about diet, exercise or other important things, read on to get started on your seventh month.

  1. 7-month pregnant signs and symptoms
  2. 7 month pregnancy baby
  3. 7 month pregnancy diet
  4. Exercising during the seventh month of pregnancy
  5. 7 month pregnancy care
  6. Vaccination during the seventh month of pregnancy

Reaching the last trimester of your pregnancy, you may experience a number of physical and emotional changes. Some of your discomforts from the second trimester may continue, but, the joy of motherhood will override these blues. Let’s have a look at these changes.

  • The most obvious (and inevitable) symptom of pregnancy in the seventh month is weight gain and an increase in the size of the bump. It is likely that you gained 7-10 kgs of weight by the end of the second trimester. You may gain another 2 to 3 kgs by the end of this month.
  • Since most of the weight gain occurs in the area of the belly, you may or may not experience stretch marks during this period. They may appear as reddish purple stripes initially fading on to a silvery white. They may be seen on your stomach or even other areas of rapid growth during pregnancy, like your breasts, thighs or buttocks.
  • That being said, yes, your breasts will continue to grow in size and become more tender. Your nipples will also continue to get darker. All the changes you experienced in the previous month will stay.
  • Your belly button may also stick out.
  • Since it is required to gain weight in these areas to support the foetus (stomach, thighs and buttocks) and to provide nutrition to the infant after birth (breasts), your body will generally feel swollen and oedematous to accommodate this growth. Oedema will make your body tissues softer allowing them to expand more easily. Although oedema is generalised, it will more so be visible in the area of your feet and ankle due to changes in the vascular (related to blood vessels) activity. This may also be seen in your fingers or on the face.
  • You may also observe dark patches on the skin of your face on either or both the sides.
  • Another thing which may be prominently visible during the third trimester of pregnancy is the linea nigra. It refers to the dark line running down vertically on your belly. It is dark brown in colour and runs from the pubis to the umbilicus, having a width of one-fourth to half of an inch. While stretch marks are manageable with the help of topical creams and enough hydration, you cannot do much about this one. But, the good news is that it will most likely disappear on its own after pregnancy.
  • Pain is commonly experienced at this stage of pregnancy, which is frequently felt in the abdomen, back, thighs or buttocks due to the pressure exerted by the foetus. Leg cramps may also be noted. You could also feel a bit sore in your buttocks, which is normal, but can also be a symptom of piles if severe.
  • This pressure will give you the urge to urinate more often.
  • You may experience trouble falling asleep due to the pain and may even feel more tired or exhausted.
  • Shortness of breath is also commonly experienced.
  • Additionally, as your baby is growing in size, you may feel that the foetus has gone too low. However, you must know that the baby is safe within your uterus and would not ‘fall out’.
  • As you progress into the third trimester your body starts preparing itself for childbirth; you may sometimes experience contractions in the area of your abdomen or a little pre-milk leaking from the breasts, which is totally normal.
  • Vaginal discharge may also be noted.

Since all these symptoms are commonly experienced, they are not a matter of concern, you may, however, see your doctor if your ankles and feet are too swollen, if abdominal pain is severe or your bottom feels too sore, since these could be signs of preeclampsia or haemorrhoids respectively. An urge to urinate too often than normal could also be a sign of gestational diabetes. Excessive vaginal discharge is another matter of concern. So, it is important to see your doctor often and discuss any issues faced.

The foetus at the seventh month has almost already developed its most basic features. So, a major occurring during this month is gain in size and weight.

7 month pregnancy baby development

The seventh month of pregnancy is characterized by rapid growth, development and organization of the foetus. Physically, the baby is developed. It has eyelashes and eyebrows and a head full of hair. Its skin is pinkish red and is covered with a white layer to protect from the drying actions of the amniotic fluid. Its eyelids begin to open and close. It also has footprints and fingerprints by now. Other major organs, which were already developed functionally continue to refine over this month and those following.

The sulci and gyri (grooves and ridges) begin to deepen increasing the surface area of the brain. Osseous growth points develop in several areas, which allow bony expansion to occur after childbirth.

During the seventh month, the Meckel's cartilage is eliminated, which is functional in invertebrates but not in humans. Its lungs continue to branch more profusely and develop profoundly. This means that if the foetus is prematurely delivered during the seventh month, it has a better chance of survival due to the elimination of gill-like structures. So, it can breathe and survive better than the babies delivered before this month. 85% of these infants survive under intensive care. However, there is a risk of disabilities in almost 31% of those delivered.

7 month pregnancy baby weight

At the seventh month of pregnancy, the foetus grows to a length of 10 to 13 inches in size and weighs about a kilogram.

7 month pregnant baby movement

As your baby continues to grow in size, the space inside you womb seems to be too less. So, it often moves, rolls, kicks and swishes to adjust within the tiny space. If you silently sit down and focus, you may feel at least three movements in half an hour, which means that your baby is doing good and is also quite active. It may also respond to sound and certain sensations. More number of movements are a sign of optimal brain development of the foetus.

The seventh month marks the beginning of the third trimester. You are closer to childbirth than you were in the previous month. So, your body is growing more rapidly and the foetus is gaining more and more weight. To support this, it is essential that you increase your calorie intake. The recommended daily intake for women in the third trimester is 2400 calories, which is quite more than what you ate pre-pregnancy, but, it is required.

An increase in calories does not imply that you merely eat anything. It is important to take a balanced diet with careful inclusion of specific components essential for you and the baby. It is advisable to eat a lot of fresh fruits and vegetables since they are rich in vitamins and minerals required by the body. 

It is also recommended to include milk and proteins in your diet, which will both help in the optimal growth of the foetus. At the same time, it is important that you do not go overboard with eating proteins since an excess of it can lead to retarded foetal growth. Opt for drinking pasteurised milk since raw milk poses health risks during pregnancy. You must boil milk before drinking if not pasteurised.

Also, while choosing the source of protein, you must include more of the vegetarian sources like lentils, avocado, soy milk, nuts, nut butter etc. Occasionally, you may also enjoy non-veg foods like eggs or chicken.

It is recommended to refrain from the consumption of non-vegetarian foods like liver, uncooked or cold processed meats like pepperoni, salami, hot dogs etc since they carry parasites which can cause serious infection. Having raw or uncooked meat or eggs has similar risks. Consumption of fish must also be limited, especially tuna and sushi.  

Other foods you must avoid in excess are coffee and green/herbal tea.

One of the foods to be taken special care of during the seventh month is iron, which is present in foods such as green leafy vegetables like spinach, nuts, pulses and whole grains. WHO recommends supplementation of 30 to 60 mg iron to avoid iron deficiency, foetal abnormalities and a preterm birth. This requirement is increased since the baby derives its nourishment from maternal sources and draws enough for a few months after birth. In case a woman has been diagnosed with anaemia during pregnancy, daily dosage may rise up to 120 mg or as prescribed by the doctor.

Calcium must be sufficiently taken in the diet but not in excess. If you had been taking folic acid supplements till now, you can talk with your doctor and stop.

If you suffer from constipation or bloating, you must include more dietary fibres, reduce salt consumption and eat more often to improve digestion.

Lastly, have more water to digest fibres, reduce digestive problems, prevent stretch marks and stay energetic during the seventh month.

Exercising is recommended during the seventh month, but, you must perform it under the guidance of a trainer who is well-aware your pregnancy status. Alternatively, you can perform light exercises like walking at home, just make sure to be careful and not wear heels. For the seventh month, 150 minutes weekly or half an hour of walking on 5 days is advisable.

This will help in keeping you and your baby in good health. It will also help in avoiding weight gain, which could be a risk factor for gestational diabetes or pregnancy hypertension. Gaining more than 15 kilograms of weight is absolutely not encouraged for women with a normal weight pre-pregnancy.

Other than the usual exercises, you can also include pelvic floor exercises during the seventh month. These will help in strengthening your pelvic floor muscles and will avoid a vaginal leak.

Let’s have a quick look at the list of the best and the worst things to do when you are seven months pregnant.

Dos

  • Take care of your diet
  • Sleep well
  • Count baby kicks
  • Wear shoes and go for a walk
  • Have sex 
  • Buy maternity wear
  • Buy baby stuff
  • Make timely visits to your doctor
  • Inform your doctor in case of any unusual symptoms
  • Eat prescribed medicines
  • Practice mindfulness for pain and stress relief
  • Be aware of your maternity rights and take a maternity leave if you need

Don’ts

  • Skip meals
  • Take unprescribed medications or supplements
  • Wear heels
  • Have sex with your partner on top (exerts pressure on the baby)
  • Skip doctor’s appointments
  • Employ home remedies
  • Wear tight clothes

If you are not vaccinated for whooping cough, now, is the golden period. Get vaccinated at the earliest and protect yourself and the baby from this health threat.

Another important vaccine is the flu or influenza shot, which will not only help in protecting you and the baby from this infection but also offer protection after childbirth. It will additionally resist against airway infections like pneumonia in the infant.

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References

  1. Rosén L et al. Mechanisms for edema formation in normal pregnancy and preeclampsia evaluated by skin capillary dynamics. Int J Microcirc Clin Exp. 1990 Aug;9(3):257-66. PMID: 2394547
  2. American Pregnancy Association. [Internet]; Pregnancy Line – Linea Nigra.
  3. Office on Women's Health [Internet] U.S. Department of Health and Human Services; Stages of pregnancy.
  4. MedlinePlus Medical Encyclopedia: US National Library of Medicine; Fetal development
  5. South Dakota Department of Health. FETAL GROWTH AND DEVELOPMENT. [Internet]
  6. World Health Organization [Internet]. Geneva (SUI): World Health Organization; Daily iron and folic acid supplementation during pregnancy.
  7. InformedHealth.org [Internet]. Cologne, Germany: Institute for Quality and Efficiency in Health Care (IQWiG); 2006-. Pregnancy and birth: Weight gain in pregnancy. 2009 Jun 17 [Updated 2018 Mar 22].
  8. National Health Service [Internet]. UK; Week 29 – your third trimester.
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