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Third Trimester 1stTrimester     2ndTrimester

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32 WEEKS, 1 DAY

55 days to go...

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ultrasound of human fetus 32 weeks and 1 day

Your baby today

In this image the hands are folded over beneath the chin and there's a foot up by the mouth and nose. It can look as if your baby is quite a contortionist but because he is still quite skinny, the joints allow for a great deal of flexibility.

If you feel you have little control over your own body, it's natural to think your figure will never be normal again-but it will!

At this stage of the third trimester, you'll still be gaining 1-2 lb (0.5-1 kg) per week but weight gain tends to slow down in the last few weeks of pregnancy. By now, your belly will have stretched and your belly button may have popped out-this can be quite protruding and may be seen through your clothes (see Protruding navel). You may have developed a linea nigra in your second trimester, a dark line of pigmentation down the center of your abdomen (see ... Doctor).

Like most women you are probably happy and excited about having a baby but a little concerned about getting your figure back after the birth. Some women get quite upset at the thought that their abdomens may not return to their previous shape, and this is completely normal. Rest assured that with a bit of hard work and exercise and the continuation of your healthy pregnancy diet after the birth, your figure can return to its pre-pregnancy state and your belly button should pop back to its normal shape of its own accord. The key is to remember it will take a bit of time: it did, after all, take nine months to gain the weight.

Ask A... Doctor

I want to work right up to the birth-is that allowed?

Yes. Many women do, so they don't waste any maternity leave before baby. Check with your doctor to make sure it's okay for you. Think carefully before making this decision. Late pregnancy can be extremely tiring and, if your job is mentally and/or physically taxing, it may be better to begin your leave before your due date. You will also need time to prepare for the arrival of your baby.

Focus On... Nutrition

Fabulous fiber

Fiber is very important in the third trimester, since it will help your digestive system work more efficiently. Dietary fiber-the indigestible part of plant foods-is the best natural way to keep the bowels regular. Most pregnant women who eat a diet based upon whole grains, fruits, and vegetables, are likely to be getting enough fiber.

Pregnant women should aim for 1 oz (25 g) of fiber daily. To give a sense of what it takes to achieve this, there are around 3 g in a medium avocado or banana, or a serving of broccoli, blueberries, brown rice, or beans. Eating three or four servings of fruit a day, vegetables with your meals, and eating whole-grain breads and brown rice will provide plenty.

Fiber makes you feel fuller sooner and longer, and can help to prevent overeating and excess weight gain. It also contributes to the management of diabetes, lowers cholesterol, and decreases the risk of heart disease.

pregnant woman eating healthy cereal
A diet rich in foods containing fiber is good for health at any time of life but especially during these three months to relieve common symptoms such as constipation. Snack on whole-grain breads and cereals.
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Excerpted from Pregnancy Day by Day.
Copyright © 2009 Dorling Kindersley Limited.
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