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ultrasound of human fetus 31 weeks and 3 days

Your baby today

Here the umbilical cord is seen lying over the baby's shoulder and next to the wrist. This is very common, in fact at some time every baby will have the umbilical cord lying close, especially during these next few weeks while the baby frequently changes position.

Jolts and jostles are all part of being pregnant-and your baby probably won't even notice them.

Your belly is getting larger and larger. As you walk you may notice that your belly also appears to move, swaying from side to side with each step. It can be difficult to remember that you're so much bigger than you used to be. You may find yourself trying to squeeze through tight spaces, or between tables and chairs in a restaurant that previously you would have fit through and now find yourself a bit stuck! Even if you find that your belly is getting bumped around occasionally this really is nothing at all to worry about: your baby is safe, protected by the pool of amniotic fluid that acts as a cushion against the occasional jolt. Soon enough, though, you will be back to your normal shape, or nearly your normal shape, and it can be odd to think back to having to compensate for a belly.

Focus On... Your health

Heart palpitations

Having a run of fast heartbeats, or missing a beat occasionally-or simply being acutely aware of your heartbeat-is defined as heart palpitations. It's common to have these in late pregnancy. They are usually nothing to worry about and are simply the result of changes to your blood circulation, coupled with a large abdominal bulge, although unnecessary stresses and anxieties can play a part as well.

If, however, palpitations are accompanied by chest pain or breathlessness, or if you think they are occurring more frequently, mention this to your doctor.

Ask A... Mom

I'm finding it increasingly hard to focus at work. How can I best get through the next few weeks?

As your baby – and you – get bigger, you may find that you have less energy and your concentration span decreases accordingly. This is normal, but it can pose problems if you have a job to do! First of all, take regular breaks, putting your feet up or closing your eyes for a few minutes to rest. Make sure you drink enough, since dehydration can affect your performance. Similarly, eating healthy snacks, little and often, can keep you from flagging. Iron-rich foods, such as dried fruit, are particularly important: low iron levels can make you tire easily.

Carry a small notebook with you, and jot down anything that you need to remember, no matter how trivial. This can help overcome lapses of memory, and keep you focused on what needs to be done. It may also help to start your day with a "to-do" list, and check your way down it in order of priority. Finally, try to get enough sleep, which will give you at least half a chance of feeling refreshed the next morning.

pregnant woman keeping to do list

Keep a notebook to hand to jot down everything from what to do today, what to say when you make a call, and what you need to cover in a letter or e-mail.

excerpted from:

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

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