Appointments with your health care provider

This month's visit to your health care provider will likely be your last once-a-month visit. Next month, you'll probably see your health care provider every two weeks and then once a week until your baby is born. During your visit this month, your health care provider can again check your blood pressure and weight and ask you about any signs and symptoms you may be having. You'll probably also be asked to describe your baby's activity "schedule" and movements.

As during other visits, your health care provider can also track the growth of your baby by measuring the size of your uterus. Your fundal height measurements this month — the distance from the top (fundus) of your uterus to your pubic bone — will probably measure between 29 and 32 centimeters — roughly equal to the number of weeks of your pregnancy.

Remember the signs and symptoms of preterm labor

The risk of preterm labor continues this month. Here's a reminder of the signs and symptoms to watch for:

• Uterine contractions — possibly painless — that feel like a tightening in your abdomen

• Contractions accompanied by low back pain or a feeling of heaviness in your lower pelvis and upper thighs

• Changes in vaginal discharge, such as light spotting or bleeding, watery fluid leaking from your vagina or thick discharge tinged with blood

If you notice more than six contractions in an hour, even if they're not painful, contact your health care provider or your hospital. This is especially important if you have vaginal bleeding along with abdominal cramps or pain.

This month, you may also be interested in:

• "Decision Guide: Considering circumcision for your son," page 355

• "Decision Guide: Choosing your baby's health care provider," page 359

• "Decision Guide: The breast or the bottle?" page 363

When to call

1 | Here's a guide to possibly troublesome signs and symptoms and when you 1 • 1 should notify your health care provider in the eighth month.

Signs or symptoms

When to tell your health care provider

Vaginal bleeding, spotting or discharge

Any amount of bleeding

Immediately

Persistent vaginal discharge that's greenish or yellowish, strong smelling, or accompanied by redness, itching and irritation around the vulva throughout the day

Within 24 hours

Pain

Uterine contractions, more than six each hour for two or more hours

Immediately

Occasional pulling, twinging or pinching sensation on one or both sides of your abdomen

Next visit

Occasional mild headaches

Next visit

A moderate, bothersome headache that doesn't go away after treatment with acetaminophen (Tylenol, others)

Within 24 hours

A severe or persistent headache, especially with dizziness, faintness, nausea or vomiting, or visual disturbances

Immediately

Moderate or severe abdominal or pelvic pain

Immediately

Leg cramp that awakens you from sleep

Next visit

Leg cramp with swelling and redness

Immediately

Pain with fever or bleeding

Immediately

Vomiting

Occasional

Next visit

Once every day

Next visit

More than three times a day or with inability to eat or drink between vomiting episodes

Within 24 hours

With pain or fever

Immediately

Signs or symptoms

When to tell your health care provider

Other

Chills or fever (102 F or higher)

Immediately

Steady or heavy discharge of watery fluid from your vagina

Immediately

Sudden swelling of your face, hands or feet

Same day

VVual disturbances (dimness, blurring)

Immediately

Cravings for nonfood substances, such as clay, dirt and laundry starch

Next visit

Consistently low mood, loss of pleasure in things you normally enjoy

Next visit

Above signs and symptoms along with thoughts of harming yourself or others

Immediately

Fatigue and weakness, shortness of breath, heart palpitations, dizziness or lightheadedness

Next visit if occurring occasionally Same day if occurring often

Fainting

Immediately

More frequent urination with pain or burning on urination, fever, abdominal pain or back pain

Same day

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