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Mother & Baby
At 27 weeks pregnant, your baby is about 21cm (8.4in) long. The blood vessels in her lungs are developing to prepare for birth.
If you realise at 27 weeks pregnant you've been a bit slack about exercising for the last few months, it's not too late to do something about it. As an incentive, consider the fact that getting your circulation going increases your baby's oxygen supply and reduces your risk of varicose veins (see Week 18) and piles (see Week 23).
Keep it simple - you don't have to join a class, squeeze your bump into a leotard (aggghhh!) and leap about to stay fit. Try walking and swimming (antenatal exercise classes in water are excellent, because your bump is supported by the water, which makes you feel weightless), but avoid strenuous, unfamiliar workouts - such as aerobics classes. You can also make an enormous difference to your fitness levels by slotting exercise into your daily routine: at work, always walk up (and down) the stairs instead of taking the lift; vacuum vigorously; walk, walk, walk.
***Always check with your doctor before starting a new exercise regime during pregnancy, particularly if you have complications, such as bleeding, high blood pressure or heart disease.
Don't ignore your pelvic floor
The most important exercise of all during pregnancy only takes a few minutes every day, and you don't even need to pull on your trainers to do it. Irritating as it may be, exercising your pelvic floor muscles (PFM) is absolutely essential if you want to avoid incontinence after the birth (it goes without saying that your sex life will also reap the benefits). Your midwife will explain the technique: it's basically a matter of clenching the muscles that control the flow of urine, holding the clench for a few seconds, then letting go slowly. Repeat as often as possible - 50 times, three times a day is good. Finding it difficult to stick to? Talk to other mothers: listening to their scare stories about leaking in the supermarket is a great motivator!Next page: Pre-eclampsia and your baby
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