As space in your body becomes limited, you may start experiencing more shortness of breath. Several changes are happening at this stage that can lead to this problem. As the baby and uterus grow upwards, it places pressure on the diaphragm that causes it to stretch, which causes less flexibility that results in an inability to take deep breaths despite the increased pressure to do so. Also, higher than normal levels of progesterone can increase your body temperature and your breathing rate. Combining these factors with an expanding stomach and less internal space can result in frequent feelings of breathlessness. To combat this, you can try moving at a slower pace, keeping your posture nice and straight (to open the abdominal area), and practicing mindful breathing.
Your weight gain during this period should be approximately half a pound each week, which includes everything: the placenta, amniotic fluid, and baby…so don't freak out; it isn't "all you." This gain is easy to obtain by increasing your regular calorie intake by about 200 calories a day. The best way to achieve this is to keep energy levels on an even keel with several small snacks. Eating frequent small amounts can also help prevent heartburn, bloating, nausea, and dizziness (more on this below).
During this period, other things to do are to continue drinking at least eight glasses of water a day and doing some light exercise. Good exercise options for moms in later pregnancy include swimming (which can help with swelling in your legs and feet), yoga (for increased flexibility for childbirth), and Kegel exercises (to increase the strength in your pelvic floor for a quicker recovery after birth). Avoid activities that require excessive straining or the potential for falling. Skiing, skating, and riding horseback are not advised during this period. Check with your doctor before starting an exercise routine if there are special considerations specific to your pregnancy.
- American Pregnancy Association - Week 26