Pregnancy
31 weeks and 7 days pregnant

The blood flow in the umbilical cord is highlighted in this image. The colours show the direction of flow. The smaller umbilical arteries that carry blood towards the placenta are seen in blue as they wrap around the more central umbilical vein (coloured red).

The best way to make sure you get enough sleep is to find ways to slow down mentally and relax.

You may find that you’re having difficulty sleeping, partly because your bump makes it uncomfortable to lie down in certain positions, but also because you have lots to think about at the moment. Try to take some time out with your partner each evening relaxing and bonding together with your bump. Even spending 10 minutes doing nothing except focusing on yourself, your body, your partner, and your baby can be invigorating and rejuvenating.

Get yourself in a comfortable position, and try to focus inwards on your body, turning your mind away from all your external worries. First focus on slowing down your breathing. Then turn your thoughts to a place and a time when you felt relaxed and happy – for example, when you were on holiday, walking on the beach. Next focus on clenching and then relaxing each set of muscles in turn, or imagine a ball of heat passing slowly through your limbs and body making them feel warm, heavy, and relaxed.

You might like to involve your partner: perhaps he could sit with you with his hands or head on your bump and try to adjust his breathing so it’s in sync with yours. Just lying next to your partner, even without talking, can relax you and bring you close together.

In this last trimester, dressing appropriately for exercise can make all the difference to your activities and the way that you feel.

During pregnancy it is possible to look good in your workout clothes, while still supporting your bump and your breasts. Ensure you wear the correct size clothes – trying to squeeze into a size you outgrew three months ago will be uncomfortable and restricting.

There are some great pregnancy exercise ranges on the market, which are cut well and have ample room for your bump. If, however, you’d rather cover up while you’re exercising, just wear a large T-shirt and baggy tracksuit bottoms or loose-fitting shorts. Wear whatever makes you feel confident and comfortable.

There are some good support belts available, which may make your cardiovascular exercise that much more comfortable. If you’re carrying twins or more this will be even more of a welcome addition to your workout wardrobe. Most of the support belts are made from elasticized fabric with Velcro fastenings that can be adjusted to suit your bump size. Alternatively, wind a crepe bandage around your pelvic region – just under your bump – to support its weight.

Your breasts will need additional support by this stage of pregnancy, but especially when you’re exercising. A well-fitting sports bra is vital for any activity as the delicate breast tissue can weaken due to the increased pressure of your larger and heavier breasts. If your breasts are very large, and you feel they’re unsupported by just wearing a sports bra, try wearing it on top of your usual bra.

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