Your baby today
Your baby's hair and eye color are all determined genetically and set before birth. Unfortunately, however detailed an ultrasound image is, it can only show the shape of structures and will never be able to show true color information.
You may be surprised to find that your social life is already changing, and the baby hasn't even arrived yet!
If you've become a homebody recently, be reassured it's quite normal. Wanting to stay at home is common in the final stages of pregnancy. You may be reluctant to plan social engagements for the next few weeks, just in case. For example, you don't want to spend money on a theater ticket that might not get used. Do, however, pencil in dates with friends because they will understand if you cancel last minute. You'll also find that once you're on leave, you're glad to get out of the house in the evenings.
Take the opportunity to go out with your partner in these last few weeks since dinner dates may not be on the agenda once the baby arrives.
Focus On... Your body
A soothing swim
Although you may feel too big to be exercising, swimming is a great activity for late pregnancy. The water supports the weight of your belly, so you may feel much lighter than you do normally. Try to do some gentle swimming as well as just relaxing in the water. Also consider going to prenatal water aerobics classes, which have exercises tailored for pregnant women.
Ask A... Doctor
Swollen feet and ankles, known as edema, is due to excessive fluid seeping into the tissues because of the increased volume of blood (see Swollen feet and ankles). By late pregnancy, as blood volume continues to rise, this is a common problem. The swelling is usually worse later in the day and when the weather is warmer.
There are steps you can to take to help reduce the swelling, such as elevating your legs when sitting, rotating your feet, and lying on the floor with your feet up the wall. Wearing support hose (see Wearing maternity hose) also improves circulation. Make sure you drink plenty, particularly water, since this improves the kidney function and reduces water retention. Don't take diuretics-studies have found that these can adversely affect an unborn baby.
Excerpted from Pregnancy Day by Day.
Copyright © 2008 Dorling Kindersley Limited.
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