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Your baby today

Your baby's external appearance is fully formed but inside there is still a great deal of activity as many of the organs are continuing to mature. Even after pregnancy further development occurs, especially of the brain and lungs.

Back pain is not an inevitable part of being pregnant: there are lots of things you can do to help prevent and relieve it.

Yoga and other stretching exercises are great during pregnancy, since they strengthen key ligaments while relaxing areas that are tight and painful. Although it may seem easier to rest when you experience pain (especially back pain), and to avoid exercise, gentle stretching and movement often decreases muscle spasm and improves the function of the spine, resulting in less pain. Exercise also boosts energy levels and contributes to an easier labor, delivery, and postpartum recovery. Try stretching and relaxation techniques as a first resort for back pain.

If the pain is severe, ask your partner to massage the area. Ask your doctor if you can safely take any painkillers or if acupuncture might help ease your pain. If the area feels inflamed and painful, try placing a cold pack on the affected area for 5-10 minutes, several times a day.

Ask A... Mom

I'm bored of being pregnant! How will I get through the next couple of months?

I felt the same at about six months but found the last three months went quite fast just because more was happening. Along with more prenatal visits and classes, there was planning when to start maternity leave, then finishing work, then getting the nursery ready, and buying things for the baby. And I made an effort to see all my girlfriends-it all made the time pass quickly.

Focus On... Your body

Minimizing strain on your back

Your growing belly shifts your center of gravity to the front of your body. As the baby strains your abdominal muscles, and pregnancy hormones soften your ligaments, your abdominals give less support to your spine, which can result in back pain. Lifting and bending can exacerbate back pain, so try these strategies to help avoid added strain.

  • To lift something from the floor, stand close to the object with one foot in front of the other. Bend your knees, then straighten them, so that you use your thigh muscles to lift. Avoid locking your knees: always bend from the waist with your knees bent. If you need to pick something up, consider sitting, kneeling, or squatting to reach it to avoid putting your lower back under stress.
  • If you have to move a heavy object (try to avoid this if you possibly can), push it rather than pull it: that way, your legs, not your back, take the strain.
  • To get into and out of a car, or bed, keep your hips, pelvis, and back aligned in the same direction. To get out of bed, roll on to your side, and use your arms to push yourself up.
pregnant woman lifting safely
Always bend your knees to lift any weight-to prevent putting strain on your back.

excerpted from:

Excerpted from Pregnancy Day by Day.
Copyright © 2008 Dorling Kindersley Limited.
Buy this book now!

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