You're three quarters of the way there now!
You might already feel like you're ready to drop, but hang on in there, because you and your baby have some more growing to do over the next few weeks…
You may be having problems sleeping… and then when you do, you could be getting vivid and disturbing dreams. You might dream about going into labour in the middle of the supermarket, or giving birth to a toothbrush, or leaving your baby on the bus. These dreams can be very frightening. The important thing to remember is that they aren't real! They're fuelled by your hormones, and the anxiety that you're probably feeling about the big changes ahead. Maybe you're worried about the birth, or that you won't be a good enough mother. Talking about your dreams will help you to put everything into perspective. If you are feeling under stress, then discuss it with your midwife or doctor.
It's time to get a few baby clothes, if you haven't already. You can often find bargains in supermarkets. Or why not borrow from friends or go to one of the nearly new sales run by the National Childbirth Trust?
Don't go overboard because:
Here are the basics:
Stretchy romper suits x 6
Cardigans x 2
Vests x 4
Shawl or blanket
Hat, gloves and socks if it's cold
Sun hat if it's hot
There are more tips on what to buy on the NHS website.
Ditch the itch
Is itching driving you crazy? Lots of women itch as their pregnant belly expands, and wearing cotton clothing and having a cool bath can help. However, extreme itching, particularly at night, can be a sign of a rare liver disorder called intrahepatic cholestasis of pregnancy. This tends to strike from week 30 onwards – so if you start scratching, then talk to your midwife or doctor.
It's probably more of an effort now to walk up the stairs without getting out of breath – that's because your baby is pushing up against your lungs.
Tommy's the baby charity has produced a pregnancy guide with a further list of symptoms.
Your baby, or foetus, is around 39.9cm long from head to heel, and weighs about 1.3kg. That's approximately the size of a cabbage and the weight of a big bag of muesli.
Your baby's eyes can now focus and their vision will continue to develop inside and outside the womb. After the birth, your baby will be able to focus on your face, when you're around 20-25cm away, which is almost exactly the distance that most people automatically position themselves when they're talking to or feeding a baby.
Your baby won't be able to follow moving objects with their eyes until they're about three months old.
Are you all clued up about what will happen during labour and the birth? You could start by doing some research on NHS.uk. Remember that every birth is different, so if you've had other children, things could be a little different this time around.
The first signs can include a crampy feeling like PMT, lower back pain, a 'show' of brown or bloody mucus in your pants, your waters breaking, and regular contractions.
This week you could also...
You have maternity rights and if you're worried about your safety at work, then talk to your employer. You shouldn't be lugging anything around, and you may need extra breaks and somewhere to sit. You can also attend antenatal appointments during paid work time.
It’s a good time to tone up those muscles ‘down under’. Gentle exercises can help to prevent leakage when you laugh, sneeze, cough or jump around on your future baby’s trampoline. Get the muscles going by pretending that you’re having a wee and then stop the ‘urine’ in midflow. Visit Tommys.org for more ideas.
Attend antenatal classes to prepare you for the birth and beyond. If possible, ask your partner to come with you. Even if you’ve had children before, and been there, done that, they’re still worth going to as you can meet other parents. Also don’t expect this pregnancy to be just like your others - your baby could have other plans.
Get moving! It’s recommended that pregnant women do 150 minutes of exercise throughout the week. Perhaps take a brisk walk in the park, or go for a swim. If you start any classes, make sure the instructor knows that you’re pregnant. Don’t overdo it though - listen to your body.
Have a fit pregnancy and sign up for a free personal activity plan.
Don’t eat for two! Eat for you. Now you’re in the third trimester, you may need an extra 200 calories a day, but that’s not much. It’s about the same as two slices of wholemeal toast and margarine.
How are you today? If you’re feeling anxious or low, then talk to your midwife or doctor who can point you in the right direction to get all the support that you need. You could also discuss your worries with your partner, friends and family. You may be worried about your relationship, or money, or having somewhere permanent to live. Don’t bottle it up – you’re important, so ask for help if you need it!
Getting pregnant again is probably the last thing on your mind! However now is a good time to start planning what type of contraception you would like to use after your baby is born. Making this decision when you’re pregnant will give you one less thing to think about when you’re looking after a newborn baby. Getting pregnant again could happen sooner than you realise and too short a gap between babies is known to cause problems. Talk to your GP or midwife to help you decide and get everything in place.
Have a staycation on the sofa, and schedule in at least 10 minutes a day where you can just relax with your feet up. Do something peaceful that you don't normally have the time to do, like reading a magazine, or a chapter of a book. This will give you a mini break and help to reduce any puffiness around your ankles and feet. Don't feel guilty - enjoy your 'me' time!