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3rd trimester: Week 33

Your Baby

Your little one is about 3 1/2 pounds and is gaining as much as eight ounces a week. He continues to sprout like a reed, his arms and legs perfectly proportioned to the rest of his body. He measures between 15 and 16 inches and has little room to wiggle, but he's still quite active, even if it means he has to squirm around most of the time.

Your Body

You're putting on a pound a week now, but eating isn't as enjoyable as it once was. After all, your growing baby is pressing up against your stomach, hampering digestion and exacerbating heartburn.

Do's and Don'ts

Do increase your servings of fiber-filled fruits and vegetables. Fiber-rich foods, such as prunes, apricots, plums, beans and peas, will help you avoid constipation. If it becomes a problem, try adding psyllium, a natural, branlike stool-softener available at health food stores, to your meals. A fiber-rich diet only works if you drink more liquids, so aim for at least eight glasses of fluids, preferably water, each day.

Health

Heartburn can become a problem in the third trimester, as the baby takes up more room. Avoid spicy, greasy, and acidic foods. Eating frequent small meals may also help.

Mom to Mom

Advice from the trenches: "After having epidurals with my first two births, I decided to try a natural birth with my third. I was so happy that I did it! I delivered faster because I could feel everything and was aware of what to do when." —Charlene Gates, Detroit, MI

Shopping

Stash a first-aid kit in the nursery so you'll be prepared for any emergency. Be sure it contains the basics, including a nasal aspirator, medicine spoon and dropper, a digital thermometer, safety nail clippers and a list of emergency numbers like the poison control center and the hospital.

Exercise

This pelvic tilt exercise can ease back pain and sciatica (tingling sensations or sharp pains that run from the buttocks down the thighs): While kneeling on all fours with your back straight, gently rock your pelvis back and forth. Curve the center of your back upward like a cat while contracting your abdominals. Then lower until your back is straight again. Repeat ten times.

Relationships

Friendships will probably take a backseat once your baby is born and claims a starring role in your life. The rift may be wider, too, if your pals have no kids. As with most relationships, communication is key to staving off problems, so be open about your expectations now.

Siblings

Teach your child what to expect during the first few weeks after the baby comes home so the changes don't come as a surprise. You may have to explain why she still has to sleep in her own room, for instance, when the baby's crib is in yours, or that many visitors will be stopping by to meet her family's newest addition.

Twins

Twins are double the joy, but they're double the work, too. Consider hiring a postpartum doula to assist you during the grueling weeks after birth, or ask in-laws and relatives to stagger their visits so you have plenty of help.