Your Body This Month
While baby is still growing, your weight gain tapers off this month. Groin soreness and backaches are more persistent as the musculoskeletal system strains to support your abdomen. The good news — you can't get any bigger.
Your Body Changes
Engagement (or lightening) the process of the baby dropping down into the pelvic cavity in preparation for delivery, can occur any time now. In some women (particularly those who have given birth before), it may not happen until labor starts.
Your cervix is ripening (softening) in preparation for baby's passage. As it effaces (thins) and dilates (opens), the soft plug of mucous keeping it sealed tight may be dislodged. This mass, which has the appealing name of
What You Feel Like
If the baby has dropped, you could be running to the bathroom more than ever. He also may be sending shockwaves through your pelvis as he settles further down onto the pelvic floor. On the up side, you can finally breathe as he pulls away from your lungs and diaphragm. Braxton-Hicks contractions can be more frequent this month as you draw nearer to delivery. You're close enough to be on the lookout for the real thing, however. How will you recognize them?
Real contractions will:
Be felt in the back and possibly radiate around to the abdomen.
Increase in intensity as time passes.
Come at roughly regular intervals (early on, this can be from twenty to forty-five minutes apart).
Increase in intensity with activity like walking.
Other signs that labor is on its way include amniotic fluid that leaks in either a gush or a trickle (your “water breaking”), sudden diarrhea, and the appearance of the mucous plug. Keep in mind, however, that for many women, the bag of waters does not break until active labor sets in.