Now that you're well into your third trimester, your baby is almost fully developed and is working on fine-tuning the skills she'll need once she's born, namely, swallowing, breathing and sucking.
Tip of the week:
It's all too easy to slouch forward when your belly extends past your toes, but good posture can go a long way toward alleviating back pain. When standing, try to do so with the crown of your head extended toward the ceiling and knees slightly bent. When sitting, remember to draw your shoulders back—but not uncomfortably so—and hold your chest high to keep the spine from rounding too much.
Moreover, she's filling out quite nicely as her baby fat plumps up her cheeks and belly. Her skin is turning opaque and she's growing hair, which can vary from peach fuzz to a full head of hair by the time she's comes out.
Considering you're walking around with a 4-pound baby in your belly, it's understandable that you might be feeling some back pain. But just because it's to be expected, doesn't make it easy to deal with.
First, it's important to know when your back pain warrants medical attention. If your discomfort is consistent and self-care doesn't help much, discuss it with your health care provider at your next appointment. If the pain is severe or accompanied by vaginal bleeding or discharge, contact your physician immediately. Dull pain in the lower back may indicate pre-term labor, which calls for immediate care.
Most often, back pain is normal and can be treated or alleviated with simple at-home techniques.
Applying a hot pack to your sore spots may soothe muscles and ease pain, as can a massage. Ask your partner for a hand—literally—or, if they're challenged in this department, schedule a trip to the spa. Request a therapist certified in prenatal massage. If you have certain medical conditions, such as high-risk pregnancy, high blood pressure, preeclampsia, severe swelling or preterm labor, talk to your health care provider before getting a massage.
Alternative therapies like acupuncture have been shown in some studies to be effective, so ask your health care provider if this is a viable option for you.
Additionally, if you're sleeping on your back or find yourself tossing and turning at night, your resting position may be to blame for back pain. Try sleeping on your side with a pillow between your knees to ease any spinal tension and promote proper alignment.