That seems to be what the third trimester is all about. Suddenly you go from being pregnant, to being pregnant-pregnant, seriously pregnant, a soon to be mother.
I chose to take my maternity leave 4 weeks before by due date, with the added bonus of Easter which actually made it 6 weeks before d day. Some women I've met worked right up until their due date so they could have more time the other side with their baby. I feel this is completely down to the individual and is something you must decide for your self. If I'd done this I would have been completely unprepared for baby's arrival.
There are plenty of very stressful jobs out there and careers that don't just stay within working hours. As a teacher I found I had very little, usually no time during evenings and weekends to get any baby stuff done. Truth be told I only ever had time to think about being pregnant during the holidas. The rest of the time I just felt like a very tired and very sick teacher. Plus I was sick of sitting in tiny chairs, which I was later assured was great for squatting, but as I discovered from a back massage in my second trimester was killing my upper back.
Had I had the time, I wish I'd have began pre-natal yoga and aqua natal sooner. I began yoga at about week 27. I learnt so much (and discovered the horrifying truth that I had been splitting my abdominal muscles). I began to learn things about birth and started to really realise that this was something I'd be going through in the very near future. Time had flown since I first became pregnant, as it will do when you only really have time to be pregnant during your holidays. Pregnancy yoga teaches you all about breathing techniques you will need to help you get through Labour, as well as manoeuvres you can do to try and ease pain, and possibly, most importantly optimal foetal positioning (off). That is things you can do to try and get baby in the best position for Labour. For more on ofp visit Belly belly.
I loved it so much when I got on to maternity leave I joined a second class, which I'm very glad I did as the government cuts to funding within children centres meant that the mid wife led yoga session was cancelled with very little warning. There are 3 children's centres in the town I live, all off which seem to be less and less utilised, despite the fact that they all come with a hall, a kitchen and most of them with an early years room. I understand that now they are mainly only utilised for vulnerable families. Which well surely increase as community centres for news families are becoming less and less accessible.
As soon as I began maternity leave and was suddenly able to get the sleep I needed, the aches and pains began. I don't know if this was just a coincidence of timing, or if it had something to do with the fact that I spent more time lying down or sitting down. One day a simple sneeze made me feel as though I'd broken a rib or two. The pain lasted a couple of weeks. I believe this may have been down to the increase in elastin and the extra weight in the uterus, as well as the fact that my baby loved hanging out on my right side. But it was a contributing factor to also beginning aqua natal. If this is something which is available in your area, I highly recommend it. It's not only n great fun, but you also have the opportunity to feel weightless and light. As someone who is generally quite active and misses body pump, I enjoyed using the water as resistance training too. Usually these classes only take a small number of participants so book ahead.