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The Home Stretch

Slow Down and Get Comfy

Make Like a Turtle (But Not Like a Slug)

Slowing down is important -- maybe even inevitable -- but you'll feel better, physically and psychologically, if you keep moving, says James McGregor, M.D., visiting research scientist at the University of California at Los Angeles. Just make sure you listen to your body. If you're tiring sooner, slow down. If you're still tired, stop.

The pelvic tilt is a simple exercise that can help ease back pain and the tingling sensation (or sharp pains) of sciatica that many women feel from the buttocks down the thighs. To do the tilt: Rock your pelvis back and forth while standing or kneeling on all fours, keeping your back straight.

After exercising, indulge yourself. "I used to take a leisurely two- to three-mile walk, then reward myself with an escape to the movies and Junior Mints," says Kerry Madden-Lunsford, of Los Angeles, whose children are 11, 9, and 1. But if the thought of even rising from an armchair seems like a workout, just stay put. You're entitled.

Practice Creative Comfort

Do what you must to make yourself comfortable. By the eighth month of each of her three pregnancies, Jessica Smith, of Cincinnati, found it impossible to sleep on her water bed. "I couldn't lie right, I couldn't even sit right on it. I was so big, there was no comfort left," says Smith, whose daughters are 4, 3, and 3 months. So she slept on the firmer couch, using a pillow to cushion her stomach.

Some moms-to-be find both breathing and sleep more pleasant when there's extra padding and support at their back and abdomen and between their legs. So hoard your partner's pillows, or invest in the long body variety.