Your blood volume is likely to be nearly a gallon and a half between weeks 25 and 35-an increase of about 25 percent. This increased blood volume means that your heart is pumping harder and faster. Your blood vessels are as relaxed as they can be by this stage of pregnancy, and will not stretch any further to accommodate this extra blood flow. You may notice that you sweat more, and that your skin feels hotter (this is the rosy glow that many women experience).
In addition to this extra blood, there is also a lot more fluid circulating around your body. This makes all your body tissues thicker. It's common and normal for your face, fingers, and ankles to be puffy or swollen (see Swollen feet and ankles). However, since puffiness is also a sign of preeclampsia, it's important to have your doctor to check this out.
If you're pregnant with twins, it's recommended that you don't do any vigorous or aerobic exercise in the third trimester. The last three months are particularly tiring so you probably won't feel up to doing much anyway. You'll also get bigger sooner than someone who is having a single baby, and your size may preclude you from doing certain activities.
If you do want to be active, go for a gentle walk or swim, or to a pregnancy yoga or Pilates class. If you want to do anything more vigorous than this in the third trimester, check with your doctor first.
Your doctor will be monitoring your babies' progress and she may advise you on your level of activity if there is any slowdown in the babies' growth and development.
Whatever activity you're doing, always follow the guidelines for safe exercising (see Don't:).
No, when you're pregnant, your lungs have to work much harder to meet your body's increased oxygen needs. To help you take in more air, your ribs spread sideways and your lung capacity increases dramatically. This can make you feel breathless, particularly from mid-pregnancy.
In the last three months of pregnancy, most women find they get breathless even during mild exertion, which happens as the expanding uterus pushes up against the lungs. However, being breathless can also be a sign of anemia, which may need to be treated. Your breathing may start to get easier when your baby engages (moves down into your pelvis ready to be born) .
Excerpted from Pregnancy Day by Day.
Copyright ©2009 Dorling Kindersley Limited.
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