- Meghan Markle and Prince Harry are expecting their first child very soon.
- During the last few weeks of pregnancy, a pregnant woman’s body goes through several changes.
- They might move around slower, and experience more vivid dreams.
- Most of the changes are normal, but it’s always best to seek medical advice if you’re worried about anything.
- Visit INSIDER’s homepage for more.
Meghan Markle and Prince Harry are expected to welcome their first child together at the end of April or early May. The Duchess of Sussex has been pictured multiple times showing off her blossoming pregnant belly, but little is known about how she’s been feeling during her third trimester.
Dr. Isis Amer-Wahlin, the obstetrics and gynaecology consultant at Bonzun’s My Pregnancy tracking app, told INSIDER what women can usually expect during their final few weeks of pregnancy.
1. The pregnant belly changes shape
After around week 35 of pregnancy, the pregnant bells starts to descend, because the baby is moving into the pelvic cavity – the best position for birth.
“As this happens, the expectant mother might find that it’s easier for her to breathe, as the pressure on her lungs decreases,” said Amer-Wahlin. “Unfortunately, other discomforts may arise as the baby pushes down on the pelvis, such as back ache, pelvic pain, and an increased urge to urinate.”
According to Amer-Wahlin, the best thing to do at this time is to get plenty of rest, and place pillows below your stomach and between your knees to ease any discomfort.
2. Braxton Hicks contractions
“False” contractions, known as Braxton Hicks contractions, are common from as early as 16 weeks into pregnancy. But they get more common as the due date approaches. They aren’t usually as painful as real contractions, Amer-Wahlin said, but if they become intense then you should monitor them as they might be the real thing.
3. Vivid dreams and heightened emotions
“The last month of pregnancy can be an emotional time for the mother,” said Amer-Wahlin. “The reality of labour draws near, the hormones continue to surge through the body and parenting instincts become stronger.”
It’s pretty normal to feel worried or anxious, and have a shorter fuse than usual. And dreams can be more vivid due to the hormonal fluctuations pregnant women experience. It can also be a result of women waking up in the middle of the night to use the bathroom, which interrupts REM sleep – when most of our dreaming occurs.
“The frequent interruptions mean that mums-to-be are more likely to remember their dreams than before,” Amer-Wahlin said. “It is definitely worth discussing the dreams with your partner, as they are also likely to experience some more vivid dreams as the due date, and the birth of their baby, draws near.”
4. Extremeties can swell
It’s normal to experience some swelling in your hands and feet during pregnancy, because the body holds onto liquid. The best way to counteract the swelling is to avoid tight clothing and to drink plenty of water.
Excessive swelling can be a sign of pre-eclampsia, which can be dangerous to both the mother and baby if left untreated, so it’s best to see a doctor if you think it’s getting worse.
5. Movements can feel different
Amer-Wahlin said both the mother and baby’s movements can feel a little different as the due date gets closer. The mother-to-be might become slower as the baby gets heavier. The baby will probably feel more calm too, as he or she has less room to move around in the womb.
“However, if the expectant mother feels like movements have rapidly decreased, she should trust her instincts and contact her doctor straight away,” Amer-Wahlin said.
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