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Trimester 3

Week 28 – your third trimester

Welcome to the third trimester! Pregnancy is divided into three chunks, known as trimesters…. and we've made it to round three. Over the next few weeks, you will probably start to feel a bit more uncomfortable and tired, but keep your eyes on the prize. In around 12 weeks, you will have a beautiful baby.

What's happening in my body?

You may be getting a bit of heartburn and indigestion. That's your growing baby and hormones creating havoc with your digestive system. Your back will also be under strain, thanks to all the extra weight you're now carrying around. It won't help that your joints and ligaments are also looser than usual. Your ankles, feet and face could be puffing out a bit, particularly when it's hot. This is probably due to water retention, but get it checked out, just in case it's preeclampsia. This is a condition where you may feel perfectly well, but then your blood pressure can get dangerously high, very quickly. A quick-fix for many niggling conditions in the third trimester is to put your feet up. But if you are worried about anything at all, then talk to your midwife or doctor, or call NHS 111.

Three ways to be a germ buster!

Make sure you're clued up about some of the harmful infections in pregnancy, so that you can do your best to avoid them. Here are three ways you can protect your unborn baby…

  • Wash your hands regularly with soap and water, particularly if you're in contact with children or nappies, as they could carry a virus called CMV (cytomegalovirus).
  • Don't empty your cat litter tray and wear gloves when you're gardening. That's because cat poo can contain a bug that causes the dangerous toxoplasmosis infection.
  • If you haven't had chickenpox let your doctor or midwife know if you come into contact with anyone who could be infectious. The disease can be spread up to two days before spots appear, until five days afterwards. It's safest for you when there are no new blisters or moist crusts on the spots.

Third trimester pregnancy symptoms (at 28 weeks)

You may start getting new symptoms now, such as nosebleeds and indigestion.

Your signs of pregnancy could also include:

  • Sleeping problems
  • Stretch marks
  • Swollen and bleeding gums
  • Pains on the side of your baby bump, caused by your expanding womb ('round ligament pains')
  • Piles
  • Headaches
  • Backache
  • Indigestion and heartburn
  • Bloating and constipation
  • Leg cramps
  • Feeling hot
  • Dizziness
  • Swollen hands and feet
  • Urine infections
  • Vaginal infections
  • Darkened skin on your face or brown patches - this is known as chloasma or the 'mask of pregnancy'
  • Greasier, spotty skin
  • Thicker and shinier hair
  • Symptoms from earlier weeks, caused by pregnancy hormones, such as mood swings, morning sickness, weird pregnancy cravings, a heightened sense of smell, sore or leaky breasts, a white milky pregnancy

discharge from your vagina and light spotting (seek medical advice for any bleeding)

Week 29 – your third trimester

Are you feeling excited? Or nervous? Or maybe you're a bit of both. Being pregnant stirs up all kinds of emotions. You could feel very sad, for example, that a loved one who's passed on will never get to meet your baby. The important thing to do during pregnancy is to talk, talk, talk. Talk to friends, family, your midwife or doctor, and discuss anything that's worrying you. You and your baby are in the middle of a big support network, all you need to do is talk… and you'll tap into it.

What's happening in my body?

You might be feeling a bit breathless, as your baby pushes up against your lungs. It puts a strain on your body carrying all that extra weight around too. You'll probably feel annoyed when people tell you to enjoy your sleep 'while you can', as it's not very easy right now. You could be getting leg cramps. Plus if the baby's pressing up against your bladder, then you'll be up and down all night on the toilet. Babies seem to have a habit of being really active just as you want to drop off. They have their own sleeping and waking patterns, and you'll be lucky if your schedules coincide! Get to know your baby's patterns, and if they change or stop, then contact your midwife or hospital. Rest when you can in the day. Try supporting your body when you lie down by putting a pillow under your bump, and another one between your legs. It's best to try and sleep on your side. If you feel unable to cope, because you're just too tired, then talk to your midwife or doctor.

The position of your bump

Some people think a neat high bump means you're carrying a boy, while a low rounded bump contains a girl. In fact, the differences are more to do with your height, muscles, how many babies you've already had, and how much you eat in pregnancy.

Your baby's heart rate

Some people say that if it's over 140 bpm, then it's more likely to be a girl. Nice idea, but there's no science to back it up!

Third trimester pregnancy symptoms (at 29 weeks)

You could be feeling awkward and uncoordinated. It takes a while to get used to having a bump and your sense of balance could be all over the place, as your centre of gravity changes. If you fall over, don't panic, you've got plenty of padding in there, but let your midwife or doctor know.

Your signs of pregnancy could also include:

  • sleeping problems
  • swollen and bleeding gums
  • pains on the side of your baby bump, caused by your expanding womb ('round ligament pains')
  • piles
  • headaches
  • backache
  • indigestion and heartburn
  • bloating and constipation
  • leg cramps
  • feeling hot
  • dizziness
  • swollen hands and feet
  • urine infections
  • vaginal infections
  • darkened skin on your face or brown patches - this is known as chloasma or the 'mask of pregnancy'
  • greasier, spotty skin
  • thicker and shinier hair
  • symptoms from earlier weeks, caused by pregnancy hormones, such as mood swings, morning sickness, weird pregnancy cravings, a heightened sense of smell, sore or leaky breasts, a white milky pregnancy discharge from your vagina and light spotting (seek medical advice for any bleeding)

Week 30 – your third trimester

You're three quarters of the way there now! You might already feel like you're ready to drop, but hang on in there, because you and your baby have some more growing to do over the next few weeks…

What's happening in my body?

You may be having problems sleeping… and then when you do, you could be getting vivid and disturbing dreams. You might dream about going into labour in the middle of the supermarket, or giving birth to a toothbrush, or leaving your baby on the bus. These dreams can be very frightening. The important thing to remember is that they aren't real! They're fuelled by your hormones, and the anxiety that you're probably feeling about the big changes ahead. Maybe you're worried about the birth, or that you won't be a good enough mother. Talking about your dreams will help you to put everything into perspective. If you are feeling under stress, then discuss it with your midwife or doctor.

Your baby's wardrobe

It's time to get a few baby clothes, if you haven't already. You can often find bargains in supermarkets. Or why not borrow from friends or go to one of the nearly new sales run by the National Childbirth Trust?

Don't go overboard because:

  • Your baby won't care, so long as they're clean and warm.
  • You're bound to be given baby clothes as presents.
  • Babies grow up so quickly!

Here are the basics:

  • Stretchy romper suits x 6
  • Cardigans x 2
  • Vests x 4
  • Shawl or blanket
  • Hat, gloves and socks if it's cold
  • Sun hat if it's hot

Third trimester pregnancy symptoms (at 30 weeks)

It's probably more of an effort now to walk up the stairs without getting out of breath – that's because your baby is pushing up against your lungs.

Your signs of pregnancy could also include:

  • sleeping problems
  • stretch marks
  • swollen and bleeding gums
  • pains on the side of your baby bump, caused by your expanding womb ('round ligament pains')
  • piles
  • headaches
  • backache
  • indigestion and heartburn
  • bloating
  • leg cramps
  • feeling hot
  • dizziness
  • swollen hands and feet
  • urine infections
  • vaginal infections
  • darkened skin on your face or brown patches - this is known as chloasma or the 'mask of pregnancy'
  • greasier, spotty skin
  • thicker and shinier hair
  • symptoms from earlier weeks, caused by pregnancy hormones, such as mood swings, morning sickness, weird pregnancy cravings, a heightened sense of smell, sore or leaky breasts, a white milky pregnancy discharge from your vagina and light spotting (seek medical advice for any bleeding)

Week 31 – your third trimester

This might be hard to believe, but you won't be pregnant forever! You're very unlikely to go beyond another 9 or 10 weeks. You could have your baby in just 6 weeks, and it wouldn't be considered to be early. Really, truly… the end is in sight now!

What's happening in my body?

Your baby and your bump are still growing. In a couple of weeks, you will both go through a final growth spurt. Your baby still has lots of fattening up to do before the big day arrives. If this is your first baby, then your midwife or doctor will probably get out a measuring tape and check the size of your womb. This can be estimated by measuring up your stomach, from the top of your pubic bone, to the top of your bump. They will also gently feel your pregnant belly to work out which way up your baby is positioned. Some babies will be head down, all ready for birth. You may have felt your baby move into place and seen your bump shift downwards. If your baby is head up, then there's still plenty of time for your little one to do a big somersault and get into position. Some babies don't move down into the pelvis ('engage') until labour starts. If your baby stays head up, in the 'breech' position, then that could affect the type of birth you are able to have. In some cases, if the baby is in an awkward position, or the placenta is blocking their way down, then a caesarean may be recommended. You will be able to talk through the risks and benefits with your midwife or doctor before making your decision

Keeping abreast: the lowdown on breastfeeding

Right now, your baby will be practising sucking, which is a vital skill for feeding. Have you thought how you would like to feed your baby? Breastfeeding gets your baby off to a flying start because…

  • breast milk contains antibodies that help your baby fight infections.
  • your baby is less likely to get stomach bugs and develop breathing problems.
  • it's a no-fuss solution, available on tap whenever your baby needs it.

It's win-win for you too, as it lowers your risk of breast and ovarian cancers – and burns around 300 calories a day. Find out more about breastfeeding. There are lots of ways your partner can support you, such as bringing you drinks while you feed your baby. Unfortunately not every woman is able to breastfeed. There may be health reasons why you can't, for example if you are taking medication that could go into your breast milk, or if you're recovering from surgery. You can still get your baby off to a great start, with bottles of formula and lots of love and cuddles!

Third trimester pregnancy symptoms (at 31 weeks)

Are you getting fake contractions? You may feel your bump tighten up for 20-30 seconds, then relax again. It shouldn't hurt. These are known as Braxton Hicks contractions and often referred to as 'practice contractions'. You can get them after sex and other vigorous activities, or if someone touches your bump. These are perfectly normal and harmless. However, if they're painful, or you start to get them at regular intervals, then it could be a sign of early labour, so contact your midwife or doctor

Your signs of pregnancy could also include

  • sleeping problems
  • stretch marks
  • swollen and bleeding gums
  • pains on the side of your baby bump, caused by your expanding womb ('round ligament pains')
  • piles
  • headaches
  • backache
  • indigestion and heartburn
  • bloating and constipation
  • leg cramps
  • feeling hot
  • dizziness
  • swollen hands and feet
  • urine infections
  • vaginal infections
  • darkened skin on your face or brown patches - this is known as chloasma or the 'mask of pregnancy'
  • greasier, spotty skin
  • thicker and shinier hair
  • symptoms from earlier weeks, caused by pregnancy hormones, such as mood swings, morning sickness, weird pregnancy cravings, a heightened sense of smell, sore or leaky breasts, a white milky pregnancy discharge from your vagina and light spotting (seek medical advice for any bleeding)

Week 32 – your third trimester

Have you started to waddle yet? It's quite normal to start waddling like a penguin, when your bump gets big. That's your body's way of compensating for all that extra weight up front. It might look a bit silly but it's your best chance of staying stable. So happy waddling!

What's happening in my body?

You probably thought you couldn't get any bigger, but over the next four weeks, you'll be gaining around a pound a week. Your baby will be bulking up too, with around a kilogram of extra fat. The extra chubbiness will help your baby to stay at the right temperature after they're born – it's very easy for little bodies to get too hot or too cold. Your baby is probably head down now, ready for birth (the fancy term for this is cephalic presentation). Don't worry if your baby's not there yet, there's still time for a cheeky turn or two. If you get to week 36, and your baby's still not playing ball, then your doctor or midwife might offer a gentle helping hand, to encourage the baby to turn into position.

Your maternity service, your choice

You've probably got a good idea now about where you would like to give birth. Have you asked for a tour yet? It will help you to know where everything is when the big day comes. You don't want to take any wrong turns when you're in labour! If you're having a planned caesarean section, then find out how long you can expect to be in hospital, so you can get prepared and make any arrangements for your other children. The average stay is three or four days. Ask as many questions as you like and make sure you're confident with your choice. If you're not sure, then you can change your mind

Third trimester pregnancy symptoms (at 32 weeks)

Are you tired of feeling tired? Remember that putting your feet up every now and then isn't a sign of weakness - it's a sensible strategy to help you get through the day!

Your signs of pregnancy could also include:

  • sleeping problems
  • stretch marks
  • swollen and bleeding gums
  • pains on the side of your baby bump, caused by your expanding womb (round ligament pains)
  • piles
  • headaches
  • backache
  • indigestion and heartburn
  • bloating and constipation
  • leg cramps
  • feeling hot
  • dizziness
  • swollen hands and feet
  • urine infections
  • vaginal infections
  • darkened skin on your face or brown patches - this is known as chloasma or the mask of pregnancy
  • greasier, spotty skin
  • thicker and shinier hair
  • symptoms from earlier weeks, caused by pregnancy hormones, such as mood swings, morning sickness, weird pregnancy cravings, a heightened sense of smell, sore or leaky breasts, a white milky pregnancy

discharge from your vagina and light spotting (seek medical advice for any bleeding)

Week 33 – your third trimester

Your bump is probably getting in the way of everything now – sitting down at a table, fitting into the car, cuddling up to your partner, you name it! It's also very hard to judge how big you are, particularly as you're expanding all the time, so allow more space than you think you'll need.

What's happening in my body?

You might be feeling really tired now, which is hardly surprising, as you're carrying around an extra couple of kilos. However, bear in mind that the end is in sight. In around seven weeks, you'll have a beautiful baby. Your womb could start preparing for the birth with Braxton Hicks contractions, which are sometimes referred to as practice contractions. These can feel like a tightening over your bump for 20-30 seconds, before the muscles relax again. It shouldn't hurt. If the contractions become painful or strike at regular intervals, then contact your midwife or hospital, in case you're going into labour.

In the bag: preparing for the birth

Babies do things in their own time, and only 1 in 20 will arrive on their due date. It might be a good idea to get a bag packed now, so that you're all ready to go if your baby decides to make an early appearance. Put aside:

  • your birth plan and hospital notes
  • clothes and nappies for the baby
  • something loose and comfy to wear during labour
  • spare clothes and underwear
  • nightclothes
  • nursing bras and breast pads
  • super absorbent sanitary pads
  • a washbag and towels
  • healthy snacks
  • any medications

Hello, I'm in labour!

If you're giving birth at a hospital or midwifery unit, then you're going to need to make a couple of phone calls when you go into labour. Make sure you've got the following information stored in your mobile phone:

  • your hospital or midwife's contact number
  • your hospital reference number, which is on your notes
  • you will be asked for this when you phone in.
  • your partner or birth partner's contact numbers.
  • the full address of where you're going, in case you go blank when the time comes.
  • a taxi firm or contact number for someone who'll take you there — it's not safe to drive yourself!

You could also write this information down, and keep it in your handbag, just in case your phone packs up at the crucial moment. Keep some change handy too, as mobile phone usage could be restricted in some areas of your hospital or midwifery unit and you may need to use a payphone

Third trimester pregnancy symptoms (at 33 weeks)

You may start to feel like something's weighing down on your pelvis… and there's no prizes for guessing what that is! The heavy feeling can be a sign that your baby's in the head down position, all ready for birth.

Your signs of pregnancy could also include:

  • painless contractions around your bump, known as Braxton Hicks contractions
  • tiredness and sleeping problems
  • stretch marks
  • swollen and bleeding gums
  • pains on the side of your baby bump, caused by your expanding womb (round ligament pains)
  • piles
  • headaches
  • backache
  • indigestion and heartburn
  • bloating and constipation
  • leg cramps
  • feeling hot
  • dizziness
  • swollen hands and feet
  • urine infections
  • vaginal infections
  • darkened skin on your face or brown patches - this is known as chloasma or the mask of pregnancy
  • greasier, spotty skin
  • thicker and shinier hair
  • symptoms from earlier weeks, caused by pregnancy hormones, such as mood swings, weird pregnancy cravings, a heightened sense of smell, sore or leaky breasts, a white milky pregnancy discharge from your vagina and light spotting (seek medical advice for any bleeding)

Week 34 – your third trimester

You're doing fantastically well, so keep on doing what you're doing. Eat healthily, take gentle exercise, be kind to yourself and rest when you can. Also, don't forget to attend your antenatal appointments as they're important for you and the baby, and will make sure that everything's on track for the big day

What's happening in my body?

You may be feeling all squashed up inside… or something magical might have happened, and some of your pregnancy symptoms could have vanished almost overnight. This can happen when your baby moves head down into the pelvis, in a staged process called 'engagement'. It frees up space in your abdomen, and gives your lungs a bit of a break, so if you've been feeling breathless, then that should ease off. It also reduces the pressure on your stomach, so symptoms such as heartburn could disappear as well. This drop down is called 'lightening', and for many women, it's a welcome relief. However it doesn't mean you're about to give birth, as you'll probably have to wait several more weeks for that to happen. Also, you may find that you now need to wee more, and walking could be more difficult. But at least you can eat more, without feeling ill, so take the rough with the smooth!

Enough already: when to take maternity leave

Are you struggling at work? You could be finding it very hard now, particularly if you need to use public transport, or have a job that involves standing up. You've probably already chosen a date for your maternity leave to start. The earliest that you can usually start your leave is 11 weeks before the expected week of the birth. However, if your baby comes early, then your leave will start the day after the birth. It will also automatically kick in if you're off work with a pregnancy-related illness in the four weeks before the week that your baby is due. If you want to change the date when you start your leave, then you will need to give your employer at least 28 days' notice, or let them know why this isn't possible. Many women will carry on working, right up until the birth, and that suits them – you need to do what's right for you. Talk to your partner, and midwife or doctor, and ask for their advice if you need help deciding when it's time to stop. Above all, listen to your body – as mother always knows best.

Third trimester pregnancy symptoms (at 34 weeks)

Your breasts could feel huge and they may be leaking small amounts of yellowish colostrum. This is an early milk that's rich in antibodies and will help to protect your baby from diseases if you choose to breastfeed. If your breasts are sore, then it may help to wear a light bra at night, and a more supportive bra during the day

Your signs of pregnancy could also include:

  • painless contractions around your bump, known as Braxton Hicks contractions
  • tiredness and sleeping problems
  • stretch marks
  • swollen and bleeding gums
  • pains on the side of your baby bump, caused by your expanding womb ('round ligament pains')
  • piles
  • headaches
  • backache
  • indigestion and heartburn
  • bloating and constipation
  • leg cramps
  • feeling hot
  • dizziness
  • swollen hands and feet
  • urine infections
  • vaginal infections
  • darkened skin on your face or brown patches - this is known as chloasma or the 'mask of pregnancy'
  • greasier, spotty skin
  • thicker and shinier hair
  • symptoms from earlier weeks, caused by pregnancy hormones, such as mood swings, morning sickness, weird pregnancy cravings a heightened sense of smell, sore or leaky breasts, a white milky pregnancy discharge from your vagina and light spotting (seek medical advice for any bleeding)

Week 35 – your third trimester

Many women begin their maternity leave around now, and then use the next few weeks to prepare for the baby's arrival. Others prefer to work until the birth, and carry on issuing orders between the contractions. You do what's right for you!

What's happening in my body?

You're probably busting out of your bras, as your breasts prepare for the birth. The first milk you'll produce is colostrum, which is a yellowish liquid that is rich in antibodies. Some pregnant women start to make it weeks or even months before the birth. If you've spotted any stains in your bra, then that's probably colostrum. This early type of milk is a superfood for babies and sometimes referred to as 'liquid gold'. When you breastfeed, this will helps to protect your little baby from stomach bugs and other infections. Around 3 to 5 days after the birth, your milk will come in, and your breasts will look even bigger. Make sure you're ready for this by getting measured for a feeding bra that will allow a bit of growth. You could also stock up on breast pads to soak up any extra milk, so that you don't stain your clothes. Not everyone can breastfeed, and it takes a bit of practice, but if you can, then it gives your baby a flying start in life. You can find out more about breastfeeding here.

Pain, pain, go away – your options for labour

There are lots of very effective ways for managing pain during childbirth. Don't feel that you've got to pick just one of them. You could start with one, and then move on to another…

Self-help

This is the use of relaxation techniques, moving around, and feeling empowered through knowing what is likely to happen during labour

  • You're in control and there are no side effects.
  • It doesn't work for everyone

Gas and air (Entonox)

This involves breathing in a mixture of oxygen and nitrous oxide gas through a face mask or mouthpiece.

  • You're in control and it works very quickly
  • • It can make you feel sick, and doesn't take the pain away completely.

Pethidine (or sometimes Diamorphine)

This is an injection of a drug into your thigh or bottom

  • It works well and can help you relax. The effects last for 2 to 4 hours.
  • It takes about 20 minutes to work and can make you feel sick. It's not suitable for the late stages of labour, as the drugs can interfere with the baby's feeding and breathing.

Epidural

This is a local anaesthetic that numbs the nerves that tell your brain that you're in pain. You are given an injection into the space outside your spine. Your baby's heart will need to be monitored throughout.

  • It can work well during long, difficult labours. For many women, it gives complete pain relief. It won't make you feel sick.
  • It needs to be given by an anaesthetist, so it's not available everywhere. It could slow down your labour. You're more likely to need further intervention, such as a forceps delivery. Also it doesn't always work. Around 1 in 8 women who have an epidural will need to use other types of pain relief too

Water birth

This is where you give birth in a special pool that's kept at a comfortable temperature. Many hospitals and birth centres have birthing pools and you can also hire them for home births

  • The warm water feels soothing and it's easy to move around. You're less likely to need drugs and further interventions. Your partner may be able to go in with you (although some women don't like that!).
  • If you go into the pool too early, it can slow down labour. If there are complications, you will need to leave the pool and get immediate medical help.

TENS machine

TENS stands for transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation – which is a big name for a little machine that deliver small amounts of electrical currents through pads on your back. It's believed to encourage the body to produce more of its own natural painkillers (endorphins).

  • There are no side effects. It's drug-free and you're in control.
  • You may need to hire or buy your own machine. It might help with early labour, but not for the later stages.

Alternative methods

Some women choose complementary treatments such as acupuncture, aromatherapy and homeopathy. Talk to your doctor or midwife if you're planning to give birth at a hospital or midwifery unit, and would like a therapist to accompany you in labour.

  • Some women find the treatments relaxing and useful as a distraction. There are no side effects for most of them.
  • There's no strong evidence that they work. It's also up to you to find a skilled practitioner, who'll be on call whenever you need them.

Discuss your ideas with your midwife, doctor and partner. Then write your preferences in your birth plan. Remember – you can change your mind on the day!

You can read more about pain relief here

Third trimester pregnancy symptoms (at 35 weeks)

You may be getting sore ribs now. That could be because your baby is head down, and kicking away. If the pain is really bad, or under your ribs, then talk to your midwife or doctor, just in case it's a sign of a dangerous condition called pre-eclampsia. However it's far more likely that your little one is just doing a bit of football training.

Your signs of pregnancy could also include:

  • painless contractions around your bump, known as Braxton Hicks contractions
  • tiredness and sleeping problems
  • stretch marks
  • swollen and bleeding gums
  • pains on the side of your baby bump, caused by your expanding womb (round ligament pains)
  • piles
  • headaches
  • backache
  • indigestion and heartburn
  • bloating and constipation
  • leg cramps
  • feeling hot
  • dizziness
  • swollen hands and feet
  • urine infections
  • vaginal infections
  • darkened skin on your face or brown patches - this is known as chloasma or the 'mask of pregnancy'
  • greasier, spotty skin
  • thicker and shinier hair
  • symptoms from earlier weeks, caused by pregnancy hormones, such as mood swings, morning sickness, weird pregnancy cravings, a heightened sense of smell, sore or leaky breasts, a white milky pregnancy discharge from your vagina and light spotting (seek medical advice for any bleeding)

Week 36 – your third trimester

Do you feel an urgent need to clean the cooker, tidy the cutlery drawer, and sort your baby's clothes into alphabetical order? This is typical nesting behaviour – and something that many women and their partners report around this time. It can be therapeutic and very useful… but don't overdo it. Put your feet up in between bouts of activity. Enjoy this week!

What's happening in my body?

You'll have an antenatal appointment around now with your doctor or midwife. This will check on your blood pressure, urine, and the size of your bump. You may not feel like going, as it's such an effort to get anywhere, but make them a priority. These appointments save lives as they can pick up on changes in your body that you might not be aware of, such as very high blood pressure. Your baby may already have moved head down into your pelvis, which means that they're good to go (or 'engaged'). However this doesn't mean that labour's on the way – it could still be weeks away. If your baby's not head down yet, then you may be offered external cephalic version (ECV). This is where your doctor

or midwife gently applies a helping hand to your bump to encourage the baby to turn - it's successful around half the time.

Happy birth day

Wondering what will happen on the big day? Here are the main ways that women give birth…

Third trimester pregnancy symptoms (at 36 weeks)

Have you noticed a bit of wee leaking out when you laugh or cough…? This is your body's way of preparing for the birth by relaxing the pelvic floor muscles around the bladder. If it's a problem, then try wearing maternity pads – you might as well stock up, as you'll need some after the birth. Also practise your pelvic floor exercises (see Action Stations). You'll thank us later…

Your signs of pregnancy could also include:

  • painless contractions around your bump, known as Braxton Hicks contractions.
  • tiredness and sleeping problems
  • stretch marks
  • swollen and bleeding gums
  • pains on the side of your baby bump, caused by your expanding womb ('round ligament pains')
  • piles
  • headaches
  • backache
  • indigestion and heartburn
  • bloating and constipation
  • leg cramps
  • feeling hot
  • dizziness
  • swollen hands and feet
  • urine infections
  • vaginal infections
  • darkened skin on your face or brown patches - this is known as chloasma or the 'mask of pregnancy'
  • greasier, spotty skin
  • thicker and shinier hair
  • symptoms from earlier weeks, caused by pregnancy hormones, such as mood swings, morning sickness, weird pregnancy cravings, a heightened sense of smell, sore or leaky breasts, a white milky pregnancy discharge from your vagina and light spotting (seek medical advice for any bleeding)