The last days of pregnancy are exhausting! You’re done with pregnancy. You want to do MOTHERING! You spend all night getting up to go to the loo, your back aches, you yawn every three minutes …. c’mon baby! It’s hard to stay patient and wait isn’t it, but not only is it hard to be patient, everyone and their dog thinks they’re entitled to an opinion on your state. This includes irritating family, and pushy care providers. Here’s a few tips to make the last days easier and ensure that you’re ready for the big day. How will you manage them all when it’s your turn? How will you ensure that you stick to your birth plan? Here’s a few tips.
DON’T start expecting the baby before 40 weeks: Not even if your care provider tells you you’re ready. They’re not psychic, they can’t predict these things. Since the dawn of time women calculated pregnancy using 10 lunar cycles, not 9 months. Women were always pretty much spot on until the 1700s when a man came along and told us he could do better. Somehow or other we still believe him!? Some women give birth before 40 weeks, the majority don’t, so you might as well assume you’ll be in the the latter group. The sooner you start waiting the longer you will have to wait! Have two dates, a 40 week date and a start to wait date.
Use this to calculate your Start to Wait Date: LMP + 290 days = Start To Wait Date.
This is how women have dated their pregnancies since before we were recording our history. It is ten lunar months from your last period. When we didn’t have much more than sticks to write in dirt, we could still count moons.
DO take the phone off the hook and avoid all the prying eyes: You’ll tell them when the baby is born if they leave you alone. If they annoy you tell them you’ll consider sending them an invitation to the 21st birthday party but don’t offer any guarantee.
DON’T have vaginal exams: They don’t tell you anything useful about when labour will begin, in fact all too often they steal the wind out of your sails and leave you feeling deflated, like you’ll be pregnant until hell freezes over. Trust me, you ARE going to have the baby, you just need a bit more time.
DO use the last days to ensure your birth plan is completely ready: Make sure your support team understand how important it is to adhere to it. Make sure you know how your care provider will manage anything that arises and make a plan for every possible scenario. Include a plan for pre-labour because that can go on for a few days or more!
DON’T time contractions: Don’t even focus on them until you can’t ignore them. It’s all pre-labour until labour, and you can tell when it’s labour because you can’t ignore it. Sometimes women think their bodies are faulty because they don’t “just go into labour” but it’s NOT a fault, it’s your body making sure everything is perfect, icing the cake. The very second that your baby and your body are both ready, labour will kick off! It really will! No one has ever enrolled their belly in kindergarten.
DO keep your mind busy: Watch a movie (I watched a Harry Potter every night and told myself the baby couldn’t come before I’d watched them all) send an email, play games on facebook, write a letter to your baby, take some belly shots, eat good food, stay well hydrated, hang out with friends, read stories to older children, take a nap, take a bath, have a massage, go for a walk, meditate, go swimming, take up yodelling …. or not. Just keep your mind busy.
DON’T panic: The last days of pregnancy are hard!! That’s normal, it’s ok to feel totally over it. But you can trust that your body has everything under control. Your body took two cells, joined them, and grew them into a person, you didn’t have to think about any of it, it just happened. Your body can expel the small human equally efficiently. It’s frustrating not knowing WHEN the expulsion will occur so try to think of it as part of the magic rather than a flaw. Your body and your baby are planning a party and your brain will not receive an invitation until the very last minute, but don’t worry, the invitation will come, and not a moment too late.
DO be kind to yourself: However you feel while you wait is ok, you are only human! If you want to complain, let loose! If you need more sleep, it’s not because you’re lazy, it’s because your body is doing a whole heap of incredible things, and more rest is necessary. If you’re teary and frustrated, hug someone! Don’t expect yourself to smile all the way, that’s unrealistic.
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