IT’S got to the stage where people have stopped saying ‘Oh, you’re so neat!’ and started offering me a chair as soon as I walk into the room. I’m well into my third trimester and I’m sure I’ve never looked so pregnant. Of course I’m probably deluding myself and have blocked out this stage of my previous pregnancies, when you go ‘oomph’ as you turn over in bed and walk into things because you’ve lost all sense of spatial perception.

Despite years of reassuring prenatal yoga students that they will only grow a baby that suits their body, it’s taking all my rationale not to be convinced I’m going to have a 10lb Sumo baby.

I have always maintained that women should ignore any predictions of ‘big babies’, which would put the frighteners on even the most sensible among us.

Estimated scan weights can be inaccurate and manual palpitation is unreliable when it comes to exact size. I have met many women who were told their babies were super-sized — and even went so far as being induced early — when they were nothing of the sort (the most common range in Ireland is 7lb 11oz to 8lb 13oz).

Consider, too, that your bump is not just baby — it will vary in size depending on your height, build, the amount of amniotic fluid and the size of the placenta. Bear in mind, too, that a heavier baby might be long and skinny with a small build, and you’ll feel even better.

With my burgeoning bump, however, has come an annoying side-effect: The Waddle. It’s not a myth: a study using 3D motion capture at Hiroshima University, published last month in Applied Ergonomics, confirmed that a baby bump changes the way women walk, even from the first trimester. As ligaments soften and baby grows and drops, it’s tricky to stop your posture and gait changing. It’s taking a conscious effort for me not to stick out my bottom and sway my hips from side to side like a penguin. How attractive.

To counteract this, pay attention to how you stand and walk. Make sure your feet are parallel and lift your arches. Engage your core muscles to lengthen and protect the lower back and stand tall without tilting the pelvis excessively. The Waddle can lead to back and pelvic pain, and increase the risk of falls, so you really want to avoid it. I’d also suggest pelvic floor exercises and yoga stretches to build strength and body awareness.

First published in the Irish Daily Mai, July 7, 2016