Luckily, your due date is in just three weeks, because you're probably ready to start getting back to your former self, physically speaking. Some of your pregnancy symptoms are almost definitely increasing in intensity, including back pain, due to your stunningly huge uterus; exhaustion, from difficulty sleeping and the overall physical exertion of supporting so much extra weight; and frequent urination, which only gets more frequent as your baby begins to descend into your pelvis in preparation for birth. There's a head pressing down on your bladder with some force.
You may also be experiencing a few new (or quite recent) symptoms, including:
- Braxton Hicks contractions -- These practice contractions can feel like a tightening of your uterine walls, occur at random intervals, and last only 30 seconds to a minute or two.
- "Lightening" -- As your baby heads downward into your pelvis, you may feel like your belly is less heavy.
- Decreased activity --Your baby is as big as a newborn, and it's very crowded in there. With little room to move, you'll notice a bit less activity. You should still feel some movement every day, though; if you don't, call your doctor.
- Leaky breasts -- You may be leaking colostrum now, which, if you breastfeed, will nourish your baby for the first few days, until your milk comes in.
- Signs of impending labor -- Labor symptoms can start a few weeks (or a few hours) before delivery. These include increased vaginal discharge (and possibly the passing of the mucus plug that's been sealing your cervix off from bacteria); bloody discharge (or "bloody show"); diarrhea (making room for baby to work his or her way out); and rhythmic contractions. If you experience these, call your doctor or midwife, who will check your cervix to see if you're close.
And you are, most likely, pretty close, since that baby is officially ready for life in the world of oxygen, sunlight and temperatures below 98.6…