This is crunch time for your body; everything is under strain, from your digestive system to your muscles and joints. Try out these tips for coping with those unwanted health niggles during late pregnancy.
You can expect to gain anything from around 7kg to 18kg (15lbs to 40lbs) depending on your BMI during pregnancy.
Tip: Pregnancy is not a time for dieting, but avoid eating too many foods containing 'empty' calories such as cakes, sweets and biscuits.
It’s quite normal for your feet, ankles and hands to swell slightly during late pregnancy. Providing that there is no protein in your urine and your blood pressure is normal, there is no reason to be concerned – the swelling is simply because your body is holding more fluid than usual.
Tip: Sit with your feet higher than your heart to reduce swelling in your feet and ankles; drinking plenty of water can also help.
You may feel hot all the time, which can be a bonus in a cold winter, but not so welcome if your last few weeks of pregnancy coincide with high summer. This pregnancy flush is caused by your higher metabolic rate.
Wear natural fibres, carry a bottle of water with you when you go out and take frequent sips. Invest in a pocket, battery-operated fan
If your hands and fingers swell, pressure may be put on the carpel tunnel that houses the tendons and nerves that run to the fingers. This results in pins and needles and numbness in your fingers and causes pain to radiate from the wrist to the forearm, which may wake you in the night.
Tip: Try sleeping with your hands raised on a pillow to prevent fluid from building up.
Take frequent breaks if you work at a keyboard while flexing the fingers and rotate the wrists to exercise them. In severe cases you may be referred to a physiotherapist.
You'll find that everything is more of an effort now causing you to become breathless more easily. This is because your baby is putting pressure on your diaphragm and lungs, so taking deep breaths is uncomfortable.
Tip: Try to take deep breaths, sit and stand as straight as possible and prop yourself up with pillows in bed. If breathlessness is causing you concern see your doctor.
These are more common in pregnancy because the muscle tone of the bladder becomes reduced which means that your urine flow slows down.
The net result of this is that bacteria have longer to multiply in the bladder. UTIs are usually picked up by testing your urine sample and treated with antibiotics.
Symptoms of a UTI include pain when passing urine, flu-like symptoms and lower back pain. If you experience any of these it’s important that you consult your doctor who will be able to prescribe suitable treatment. Left untreated, a UTI can lead to a kidney infection, which can increase the chances of a premature labour.
Tip: Urinate frequently, even if you don't feel the need and drink plenty of water.
These shooting pains in your calves tend to get more frequent and painful as your pregnancy progresses. They can be caused by a number of factors including changes to your circulatory system, the weight of your uterus pressing down, or muscle fatigue.
Tip: Straighten your leg and pull your toes towards your body to ease a cramp or try walking about in bare feet on a cold floor. Massaging the affected area will help, too, as may drinking tonic water.
Your bump may start to drag on the ligaments that are supporting it inside the uterus and standing for long periods, lifting and stretching will all make it worse.
Tip: Avoid standing for long periods and lifting or stretching. Get plenty of rest.