Your baby is starting to look more and more like a newborn. They have toenails, fingernails and even hair. You might feel some of the pregnancy-related aches intensifying at this stage. Find out what you can do to ease them below.
At roughly 42cm long and 3lb 7oz in weight, the majority of your baby’s systems are now well developed. The lungs and digestive tract will continue to develop over the next few weeks. Although your baby will be asleep for a lot of the time, when they’re awake their eyes will be open and they’ll be capable of pulling lots of different facial expressions. They can now move around, suck their thumb and grab at their feet.
Braxton Hicks, which feel like mild, mock contractions, can occur the closer you get to labour – especially if it’s your second or subsequent baby. They can also come more frequently if you’re dehydrated, so drinking lots of water throughout the day will help keep them at bay.
Sciatica is another common complaint at this stage of late pregnancy and it’s usually down to the fact that your baby’s lying at an odd angle, the pressure can cause a trapped nerve which subsequently fires a shooting pain from your back, through your bottom and down your legs. Sitting cross-legged on the floor rather than in a chair can help, or try using a fitness ball to sit on. If it’s painful to sit, use a pillow behind the small of your back for support, or simply lie down. It goes without saying that you should avoid heavy lifting or wearing high heels at this stage of your pregnancy.
Sleeping on your left side will allow for better blood flow around the body as the main vein which links your lower body to your heart lies to the right of your spine; lying on your left means your baby won’t be pressing on it quite as much.
If your sciatica becomes too painful, speak to your doctors; they may suggest you see a physiotherapist. In the meantime, try a hot or cold pack to soothe your back pain, and try sleeping with a wedge pillow under your bump which may help relieve some of your discomfort.