My Pregnancy This Week

Coping with clumsiness and mood swings

Coping with clumsiness
You don’t have the same agility you used to, so you’ll need to be more careful to avoid slips and falls.• Climb steps or negotiate slippery sidewalks slowly and while holding handrails whenever possible.
•  Go slow and hold on to something when getting in and out of the shower or tub.
•  Wear low-heeled shoes with rubber soles.
•  Now’s not the time to run to catch the bus or train. Give yourself a few extra minutes to get there or wait for the next one.
•  Don’t even think about getting on a ladder or standing on a chair to change a light bulb. Remember, this is your time to take advantage of helping hands around you — don’t try to do it all on your own.

You may be feeling a little tired these days, especially if you’re having trouble sleeping. You might also feel clumsier than normal, which is perfectly understandable. Not only are you heavier, but the concentration of weight in your pregnant belly causes a shift in your center of gravity. Plus, thanks to hormonal changes, your ligaments are more lax, so your joints are looser, which may also contribute to your balance being a bit off.Remember those mood swings you had earlier in pregnancy? The combination of uncomfortable symptoms and hormonal changes can result in a return of those emotional ups and downs. It’s normal to worry about what your labor will be like or whether you’ll be a good parent. But if you can’t shake the blues or feel increasingly irritable or agitated, talk to your doctor or midwife. You may be among the 1 in 10 expectant women who battle depression during pregnancy. Also let your caregiver know if you’re frequently nervous or anxious.

Why should I do Kegel exercises?Kegel exercises — tightening and holding the muscles around your vagina and urethra — can help prevent urinary incontinence now and after pregnancy. By strengthening the pelvic floor muscles, which support the bladder, Kegel exercises can help counteract the pressure of an enlarged uterus during pregnancy. As few as 30 Kegels a day can prevent urinary incontinence, according to Carolyn Sampselle, a professor of nursing at the University of Michigan. Get detailed instructions on how to do them.

Couples Corner:

Three simple ways to make your relationship stronger


Pregnancy can be stressful on even the most solid relationships. And once your baby’s born, it’s almost guaranteed you’ll experience some disharmony. Only about a third of couples weather the transition completely unscathed, say researchers at the University of Washington in Seattle.One of the biggest reasons couples hit rough patches is that priorities shift during pregnancy and after the birth of child. Your partner may be feeling pushed to the sidelines now and that will only get worse once your baby arrives. “In some cases it can take years for a man to recover from the resentments he started to feel during pregnancy,” says Sheldon Walker, a marriage and family therapist in Calgary, Canada. “Those feelings can get stronger after the baby comes home.” What can you do now to strengthen your bond?

1. Talk a lot. “Before your baby is born, talk about the roles that you’d each like to take as parents,” suggests Walker. Will you be breastfeeding? Then maybe Dad can handle all the middle-of-the-night diaper changes? “It might sound silly to lay these roles out now, especially since things will almost certainly change once the baby actually arrives,” says Walker. “But just having discussions about expectations will help prevent some arguments down the road.”

2. Ask your partner what his dreams are for the baby. “Women tend to talk about what they hope for their children, but men aren’t always as open about it,” says Walker. Asking your partner what he wants for the baby — does he dream of coaching your son in Little League, or want to teach your daughter to play guitar? — will help him feel more essential to the whole experience.

3. “Every couple of days, check in on the state of your union,” suggests Walker. Ask questions like: Are you feeling tired, left out, overwhelmed, irritated, satisfied? “Just touching base every two days or so — and, of course, doing what you can to help your partner — can actually preserve a relationship,” he says.


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