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The lower limbs are now held flexed at the hip and knee joints, leading to a slightly crossed-legs position. The separate toes can be distinguished. Further growth of the thigh and shin bones will bring the foot length into proportion with the rest of the leg.

One of the downsides of pregnancy is being at greater risk of urinary tract infections, so you need to be aware of the signs.

It's important to be on the lookout for any signs of a urinary tract infection while you're pregnant. While it's not very serious, and can be easily treated, it's a complication you can do without.

An infection may cause you to urinate more frequently, but this is also a symptom of early pregnancy so can be hard to spot. If, however, you also have stinging or discomfort when you actually urinate, lower abdominal pain, or even blood in the urine you may have developed a urinary tract infection. These infections are very common in women in general, because the urethra (tube which carries urine from the bladder to the outside) is very close to the anus and so bacteria do not have far to travel to create an infection.

In pregnancy, there are high levels of the hormone progesterone; this relaxes the tubes of the urinary system making it even easier for bacteria to enter and infect the bladder or even the kidneys. It is very important that if you have the symptoms of a urinary tract infection that your doctor tests your urine. In general, urinary tract infections are easily treatable in pregnancy. If there is an infection, you will be prescribed antibiotics that are safe to take in pregnancy. The infection must be treated because, if left, it may cause damage to your kidneys.

Staying in shape

If you were a regular exerciser prior to becoming pregnant, it is important to continue with some form of exercise. Stopping entirely, just because you're pregnant, would be a shock to your fit body.

There are some contraindications to exercising (see Don't:), but if you have clearance from your doctor, take the following steps to ensure that you are continuing to exercise safely and effectively, and getting all the benefits from your program without putting you or your baby at risk.

  • Continue with activities, such as jogging, and swimming, as long as you feel comfortable.
  • Listen to your body very carefully – look for signs that you should slow down or take a break.
  • Get adequate rest between workouts, and drink water before, during, and after all forms of exercise.
  • Exercise at a moderate level – you should be able to talk.
  • Keep to low-impact and low-risk activities (avoid sports that involve contact and the risk of falling).
  • Wear the right clothing: cotton will enable your body to dissipate heat, and a supportive sports bra is vital for your growing breasts, especially if you're jogging.

woman biking

If you're used to bicycling, switch to a stationary bike at the gym during pregnancy. It's best to avoid activities that can lead to falls, such as biking outside.

excerpted from:

Excerpted from Pregnancy Day by Day.
Copyright © 2008 Dorling Kindersley Limited.
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