Rock-a-bye baby, indeed--your baby goes to sleep now. When she's not asleep, she's busy making faces, bopping around, hiccuping, and nudging you. She weighs almost three pounds and is about 14 1/2 inches long. She's close to having a fully functioning nervous system that regulates the body, and her nerve fibers are now encased in myelin, which allows impulses to travel faster.
The not-so-pretty side of pregnancy reappears in the third trimester. Constant urination, swollen feet, painful hemorrhoids, searing back pain, and burning acid reflux. It's no surprise you aren't getting much sleep, giving rise to yet another complaint: insomnia. In fact, some experts say prenatal insomnia prepares you for life with a newborn. But in about ten weeks, your aches and pains will fade away, to be replaced with a cooing baby in your arms.
Do's and Don'ts
Do avoid harsh soaps that rob your skin of its natural oils. If your skin is itchy, take a soothing, warm oatmeal bath; you can buy prepackaged sachets at most drugstores. After your bath, generously apply cocoa butter or vitamin E-based moisturizer all over your body.
Research shows that pregnant women suffer from sleep problems mostly during the third trimester, in large part because they have to get up at night to urinate. To get more nighttime rest, drink most of the fluids you need before 6 P.M.; just make sure to drink plenty of water during the day.
Mom to Mom
I wish I'd known that..."I could have asked for a different nurse. I had one from hell. She said I was being overly dramatic and asked if I was an actress!"--Thei Johnson Cherry, Brewster, NY
When the baby's here, you'll need to give your arms a break from carrying her, so invest in a soft carrier. Your newborn can face you and snuggle to the soothing sound of your beating heart; when she's older, she can look out and watch the world come and go. Before you give birth, practice putting the carrier on and taking it off so that you're a pro when the time comes.
Hormones continue to soften the tissues around your joints, making it easy to overextend them. If you lift weights, lighten your load by 5 to 15 percent.
Your partner can begin bonding with the baby early on by talking to your stomach. The two of you can listen to music together and know that your baby is hearing it too.
Take your child shopping and have her pick out a special gift for the baby. When she's not looking, buy a gift that the baby will "give" to her when they finally meet.
You're fatigued -- again! -- and even more than women carrying one baby. If you're working outside the home, allow yourself extra breaks and consider going on maternity leave early. Though you might have avoided it so far, don't be dismayed if you are asked to go on full bed rest or to wear a fetal monitor at this point.