How to protect your developing baby from illness
The long wait to meet your developing baby is nearly over at month 8 of your pregnancy. During this stretch of your last trimester, you will be passing on your antibodies to protect him from illnesses in the future.
What defenses against diseases does your developing baby have?
Weeks 31 to 35 of your pregnancy are a critical time for you and your developing baby, as both of your bodies prepare for the birth. During these last weeks of pregnancy, you’ll be passing on antibodies in your blood to your developing baby.
These tiny gifts protect him from possible illnesses and infections he could face. This immunity does not lasts and he needs to develop his own resistance to disease.
You can do more to give your developing baby's immunity. It's crucial to keep yourself nourished so that you can give him the right nutrients he needs to fight off illnesses in the future.
How can you help support your developing baby’s future growth and development?
Certain nutrients are essential to starting your developing baby off on the right foot, and you can help his progress by consuming foods that contain these nutrients. Folic acid is a key vitamin for the production and repair of DNA, and plays an important role in preventing birth defects.1 Women can even take folic acid before conception to increase their chances of having a healthy pregnancy!2
To have a diet rich in folic acid, eat foods, such as beans, legumes, nuts and dark green vegetables like spinach, broccoli and asparagus.3A multivitamin
that contains folic acid can work towards preventing pregnancy-related complications.4
Have a chat with your doctor on what multivitamin is suitable for you.
Did You Know: 8th month of pregnancy
Apart from the intake of crucial nutrients, your developing baby is also accumulating stores of fat, especially on his arms and legs that will help him regulate his body temperature.
A healthy mother and her healthy developing baby
Your body may face some discomfort towards the end of your third trimester but that doesn’t necessarily mean that the health of you and your developing baby is compromised. Your body knows that the big day is approaching and you may feel some mild contractions, which are often felt around month eight. These contractions are known as Braxton Hicks contractions
, and are not as intense or as regular as those in true labor5
. To ease the discomfort of these contractions, try taking a warm bath or engage in gentle exercises6
At the same time, your developing baby’s activity in utero may decrease, but there’s no cause for worry. He is growing and gaining weight fast – at the rate of half a pound (200 grams) every week! Your developing baby isn’t so little after all, and should now weigh around five pounds (2.2 kilograms). At this size, he’s discovering he’s now got a lot less space in your womb to move around.
Your developing baby is working so hard to develop the life skills he needs through brain development. At this stage, his brain development is advancing rapidly. His brain is establishing billions of complex connections that he’ll need so that he can breathe and swallow.
You can continue to help your developing baby’s brain development in the following month before he arrives. Find out how in our guide to the final month of your pregnancy: Pregnancy Stages: Month 9
It’s been quite a journey for both of you, yet it didn’t seem too long ago when your developing baby was still developing his sense of smell, just last month! They do grow up fast, don’t they? Click here for pregnancy stages: month 7
to track how far both of you have come.
You should be really proud of the progress that you and your developing baby have made! But looking forward, it's important to continue some of these pregnancy habits, such as eating well and consuming folic acid. The World Health Organization recommends that mothers continue to take folic acid supplementation up to three months after delivery.
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1MedlinePlus, National Institutes of Health. Downloaded from http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/druginfo/natural/1017.html. Accessed on October 2015.
3MedlinePlus, National Institutes of Health. Downloaded from http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/druginfo/natural/1017.html. Accessed on October 2015.
4Greenberg JA, Bell SJ, Guan Y, Yu Y. Folic Acid Supplementation and Pregnancy: More Than Just Neural Tube Defect Prevention. Reviews in Obstetrics and Gynecology. 2011;4(2):52-59.