7 Months Pregnant: Everything You Need to Know
As you enter your 7th month of pregnancy, you're likely feeling perpetually stuffed and slightly out of breath as your uterus relocates all your internal organs. The relief and energy felt in the second trimester may start to fade now. Just remember, you're almost there! You’ve reached your third trimester and are now 28 weeks pregnant - you only have 12 more weeks to go until you reach your due date!
Month Seven Checklist
- Make a date with yourself to relax, read, or just catch up on sleep.
- Interview pediatricians.
- Sign up for childbirth classes.
- Consider whether you will be breastfeeding or bottle-feeding your baby.
- Set up an appointment to discuss your birth plan with your healthcare provider.
Baby's Development at 7 Months
Weighing in at about four pounds and sixteen inches long, your baby is growing amazingly fast now. Your baby’s red, wrinkled skin is losing its fine lanugo covering as more insulating fat accumulates, and their eyelids can now open and afford them a dim view of the place they will call home for just a few more months.
Dramatic developments in the brain and central nervous system are also occurring. Your baby feels pain, can cry, and responds to stimulation from light or sound outside the womb. Periodically, tiny elbows and feet will turn your belly into an interactive relief map.
As your baby reaches the end of their fetal development, they are working hard at developing the internal organs that will help them thrive outside the safety of your placenta and uterus. One of the most important systems that is still developing is your baby’s lungs, which are almost ready to help your baby breathe outside the womb.
Baby's Movement at 7 Months
As your baby continues to grow, space in your uterus becomes more and more cramped. You may notice that your baby shifts and moves around a lot, trying to find the most comfortable position. You might feel their elbows, feet, hands, and knees as they move around.
You might also feel your baby have hiccups! Yes, babies can get hiccups inside the womb! If you feel small little flutters of movement that last for brief periods of time, this might be a sign that your baby has the hiccups - no need to worry! This is completely normal.
If your little one is fairly active, you may think that they are stretching sideways at first. A quick check of your belly may reveal a visible tightening. You might even see the outline of a hand or foot on the outside of your stomach!
Your Body During the Seventh Month of Pregnancy
In this last trimester, your nipples may begin to leak colostrum, which is the yellowish, nutrient-rich fluid that precedes real breast milk. To reduce backaches and breast tenderness, make sure you wear a well-fitting bra (even to bed if it helps).
Your body is warming up for labor, and you may start to experience Braxton Hicks contractions. These painless and irregular contractions feel as if your uterus is making a fist and then gradually relaxing it. Braxton Hicks contractions can begin as early as week twenty and continue right up until your due date, although they're more commonly felt by pregnant women in the final month of pregnancy.
Other pregnancy symptoms that you might experience during your seventh month of pregnancy include:
- Back pain
- Increase in vaginal discharge
- Mild shortness of breath
- Lightheadedness or dizziness
- Skin and hair changes
- Round ligament pain or soreness
- Lower back aches
- Mild swelling of legs, feet, and hands
- Leg cramps
- Mood swings
Exercise and Nutrition at 7 Months Pregnant
During your third trimester, you can continue to engage in exercise and physical activity, but you might want to avoid any activities that involve a lot of jumping or bouncing. Walking, yoga, swimming, and other low-impact activities are very safe and helpful to engage in.
If you are at risk of going into labor early, such as carrying multiples or having a previous preterm birth, your healthcare provider might recommend that you go on bed rest and limit your physical activity until you reach your due date.
In terms of nutrition, continue to take your prenatal vitamins and supplements as directed by your doctor. Try to avoid any food that might exacerbate pregnancy symptoms, like indigestion. Foods that are rich in iron, magnesium, calcium, and folic acid - like spinach, pumpkin seeds, cheese, almonds, black beans, walnuts, kale, and other leafy vegetables - will help support a healthy pregnancy.
Signs of Early Labor at 7 Months
It’s rare, but some pregnant women go into labor early. What are some signs of preterm labor? Signs and symptoms include:
- Frequent, regular contractions
- Constant backache
- Pressure in the lower abdomen or pelvis
- Vaginal spotting
- Change in vaginal discharge, or blood in discharge
- Water breaking (premature rupture of membranes)
Medical advances over the last several decades have created new treatment options and survival rates for preterm babies, but the risk of lifelong health complications or even death is still very real.
Premature babies tend to be underweight and can have trouble breathing outside the womb because their lungs aren’t yet fully developed. Thankfully, there are treatments that hospitals can administer to premature babies to support their lung development, which makes it all the more important to seek medical intervention if you suspect you might be going into early labor.
If you begin to experience these symptoms, it’s important to contact your healthcare provider right away. Even if it’s just a false alarm, you’ll feel better knowing that you checked with a doctor.
At the Doctor's or Midwife's Office
Starting with this initial third-trimester visit, your visits to a healthcare professional may start to step up to twice monthly. Women who are Rh negative will need treatment with Rh immune globulin (RhoGAM) this month. An injection is typically given at about twenty-eight weeks to protect the fetus from developing hemolytic disease—a condition in which the mother's antibodies attack the fetal red blood cells.
Most doctors recommend getting Tdap and flu vaccines between weeks 27 and 36 of pregnancy, to help protect your little one from dangerous diseases like whooping cough. Getting the COVID-19 vaccine can also help protect you and your baby from contracting COVID-19, and research shows that the COVID-19 vaccine is safe for women who are pregnant or breastfeeding.
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Dr. Chelsea Hetherington (she/her) is a developmental psychologist, writer, coach, and consultant.