Congrats! You’ve made it to the last few weeks of your pregnancy. In a matter of weeks… or days… your little one will be making their much anticipated arrival! Emotions can be all over the place at this time. Maybe you’re stressed about finishing up the nursery or maybe you’re just tired and uncomfortable and ready to get the show on the road.
Tip #1: Share this tip with well-meaning friends and family! Stop asking mom- “Is baby here yet?”
Yes, you are anxiously waiting and ask with good intentions. You may think you only ask once, but you are most likely not the only one asking. It adds up. Mom is anxious enough and it doesn’t really help to answer the same question over and over. When it is time, when baby is here, you will hear about it, don’t worry. And Mom is most likely thinking about it A LOT. Instead of drawing her attention back to that thought- try to distract her. Invite her out for a movie, talk a walk with her, grab a cup of tea together. Maybe she’s not feeling well or is on bedrest. Try to make a visit over and do something for her- laundry, vacuum, sweep. She may be feeling run down (or told to lay off the housework by her doctor) yet she might be experiencing the common “nesting” urge that often comes before labor where mom feels the NEED to CLEAN EVERYTHING! Maybe you just go over to talk, bring her a yummy (healthy) snack and play a game of cards or watch a funny movie. While a visit might be good be advised not all moms may be up for it and you want to make sure you don’t overstay your welcome, mom needs her rest. So Moms, don’t feel bad to let your guests know you’re ready to rest… alone. Also, friends and family of Mom reading this, see Tip #3 as well. Note: stay away from sad movies and you might also want to stay away from movies with birth in it- remember you want to help her relax not see women in pain during labor. The other plus to funny movies? Laughing. Oxytocin the “love” hormone that is involved in all those happy feelings, including laughing, is also involved in labor! So help get that oxytocin flowing!
Tip #2: Don’t worry about having a spotless house.
Don’t wear yourself down cleaning the house top to bottom. Ask for help if you need it. You need to make sure you’re resting and not over doing it. I’m not saying be a couch potato- unless of course your doctor tells you this. Going on walks and doing your usual activities is great- as long as it is okay with your doctor- but if you’re tired, REST. Don’t push yourself to get the house clean. Baby won’t notice if there are dishes in the sink, laundry not put away, dust on the TV. IT IS OKAY.
Tip #3: Practice Relaxation
Not only is it good to relax because your body is working hard and carrying around another human being but relaxing is also important during labor. During labor your body needs to relax and open. If you practice relaxing before you are in labor, it will be easier for your body to do that during labor. Some ways you might want to try relaxing are:
- using a focal point- maybe a picture of your favorite spot, the beach, the mountains, etc.
- visualization- visualize baby engaging and moving down, visualize how you hope your birth to go, even what you think baby will look like
- Affirmations- hang them up around the house, say them out loud or to yourself every time you see them.
- Breathing- Practice breathing such as deep cleansing breath, releasing tension from the body. Breathe in through the nose, out through the mouth slowly. Breathe so your belly so it rises and falls and end with another cleansing breath. Or do what feels right to you. You may find breathing through contractions to be very helpful.
Tip #4: Spend quality time with your partner and/or friends
After your little bundle of joy gets here, they are the center of attention, rightly so. And you will spend a lot of time resting and recovering. Go on a date night. A nice dinner out, movie, play, or whatever you and your partner love to do. You will have less time to do all this once baby is here and when you do have the chance it takes more work and planning (babysitter, pumping milk, the worry of leaving little one, etc.). Not only do you want to do this while you can before little one gets here it can be very relaxing and ahem… maybe even intimate? Again, this goes back to this oxytocin hormone I was talking about earlier. If you have other children spend some quality time with them as well since the addition of a sibling can be a big change for them as well!
Tip #5: Don’t listen to labor “horror” stories!
This may have been happening to you from the start. Women start telling you about a horrible birth experience of herself, family member, friend or even friend-of-a-friend. If you haven’t stopped listening to these stories already, start now. You want to keep positive thoughts and don’t let yourself get scared about birth. Birth is a normal, natural event. Your body was made to do this! Fear is also not your friend during childbirth. Think about what happens when you’re scared. Your body tenses up right? Well your body is trying to do the opposite of that during labor; it wants to relax and open as I mentioned above. When you are tensed, you essentially are working against yourself and the pain is heightened. Now what happens when you are in pain? Pain can trigger fear and there you go, the never ending cycle. So (politely) decline all stories that aren’t so positive. If you are looking for some positive birth stories to help you feel empowered go check out the blog Birth Without Fear. There are so many wonderful positive stories on there.
There you have it! My tips for the last weeks of pregnancy for all of you strong, powerful, courageous mothers out there. These weeks may be going be ever so slowly but not only is it worth it, it will end, I promise. You will not be pregnant forever!
Please if you have any other tips you would like to share, feel free to comment below!