Pregnancy
32 weeks and 1 day pregnant

In this image the hands are folded over beneath the chin and there’s a foot up by the mouth and nose. It can look as if your baby is quite a contortionist but because he is still quite skinny, the joints allow for a great deal of flexibility.

If you feel you have little control over your own body, it’s natural to think your figure will never be normal again – but it will!

At this stage of the third trimester, you’ll still be gaining 0.5–1kg (1–2lb) per week but weight gain tends to slow down in the last few weeks of pregnancy. By now, your tummy will have stretched and your belly button may have popped out – this can be quite protruding and may be seen through your clothes. In your second trimester you may have developed a linea nigra, a dark line of pigmentation down the centre of your abdomen.

Like most women you are probably happy and excited about having a baby but a little concerned about getting your figure back after the birth. Some women get quite upset at the thought that their stomachs may not return to their previous shape, and this is completely normal. Rest assured that with a bit of hard work and exercise and the continuation of your healthy pregnancy diet after the birth, your figure can return to its pre-pregnancy state and your belly button should pop back to its normal shape of its own accord. The key is to remember it will take a bit of time: it did, after all, take nine months to gain the weight.

I want to work right up to the birth – is that allowed?

Yes, you can do this, but you may need a doctor’s medical certificate to confirm that you are fit to do so. Think carefully before making this decision. Late pregnancy can be extremely tiring and, if your job is mentally and/or physically taxing, it may be better to begin your leave before your due date. You will also need time to prepare for the arrival of your baby.

Fibre is very important in the third trimester, since it will help your digestive system work more efficiently. Dietary fibre – the indigestible part of plant foods – is the best natural way to keep the bowels regular. Most pregnant women who eat a diet based on wholegrains, fruits, and vegetables, are likely to be getting enough fibre.

Pregnant women should aim for 25g (1oz) of fibre daily. To give a sense of what it takes to achieve this, there are around 3g in a medium avocado or banana, or a serving of broccoli, blueberries, brown rice, or beans. Eating three or four servings of fruit a day, vegetables with your meals, and eating wholegrain breads and brown rice will provide plenty.

Fibre makes you feel fuller sooner and for longer, and can help to prevent over-eating and excess weight gain. It also contributes to the management of diabetes, lowers cholesterol, and decreases the risk of heart disease.

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A diet rich in foods containing fibre is good for health at any time of life but especially during these three months as it helps to prevent the common problem of constipation. Snack on wholegrain breads and cereals.

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