Congratulations you are now entering your third trimester! Entering the third trimester can feel like a huge emotional milestone and, for some mums-to-be, brings the approaching birth into sharp focus. You might start to worry about prematurity from this point, but try not to dwell on the idea. Premature labour at this stage is rare, with only 1.5% of premature babies born before week 32. Focus your energy on all the practical things you need for the new member of your family instead. It's easier to shop now than during your final month.
Your baby's almost 3lb in weight now, at 1.25kg, and measures around 26cm (just over 10in) from crown to rump. For fun, shine a torch at your bump and the chances are with your baby's improving eyesight you'll get a wriggle in response. Your baby's bones are hardening every day and the brain, lungs and muscles are all maturing. You can help by including plenty of calcium, protein, vitamin C and iron in your diet.
On the outside
You may experience twinges, aches and pains in your joints, especially around your lower back and pelvis. This is due to an influx of relaxin – the hormone that does exactly what it says, relaxing your ligaments in preparation for the descent of your baby into your pelvis and, eventually, down the birth canal.
You might also start to feel a bit breathless and suffer from indigestion as your rising bump encroaches on your diaphragm and compresses your digestive system. This discomfort should ease in about six or seven weeks' time when your baby drops down into your pelvis and relieves the pressure.
Ease indigestion by practicing deep, even breathing, avoid eating large portions and instead eat four or five small meals a day rather than three full meals, and resist the temptation to eat during the two or so hours before bedtime. At night, you might find some relief by propping yourself in a semi-upright position with extra pillows.
Things to think about
I hope you're persisting with your pelvic floor exercises as these will tone your vaginal walls and muscles to help with the birth. Pelvic floor exercises are essential for preventing stress incontinence, which some expectant or new mums experience as a bit of wee escaping when they cough, laugh or lift anything a bit heavy.
If you're planning to return to work, start researching your childcare options. You'll need good, tried-and-test childcare if you're working – or even if you think you might just want some respite from full-time motherhood.
Enjoy some quiet pampering sessions while you can: you can either involve your partner in some mutual massage or uninterrupted lovemaking, or you could hole yourself up in the bathroom with some skin treatments and a good book. Whatever you choose, make the most of the quiet, tranquil times. Within a few months they'll be rather harder to come by!
If you you're taking a holiday and planning to fly, you should aim to go next week, as some airlines will not allow pregnant women to fly after 32 weeks of pregnancy – and you have to take into account how pregnant you'll be on the return journey. Some airlines are unhappy for you to fly after 28 weeks, so do your research. In any case, most airlines want a GP's letter stating your fitness to fly – this is pretty standard, and can take a few days to obtain.