Final days or weeks of pregnancy got you feeling like April the Giraffe?
We feel ya! For so many expectant parents, it's like those last days before baby slow to a crawl and everyone in your life has swapped "hello!" for "is the baby here yet?!" Having been around the "waiting for baby" block a time or two, we wanted to share some advice and encouragement for surviving the final days before baby arrives.
Distraction and Denial are Your Friends
Hmmm... denial is a good thing?? Well, when it comes to the anticipation of waiting for baby, YES! Do whatever you can to keep yourself occupied and try to push those nagging "am I in labor?" thoughts out of your head. 99.99% of the time, if you have to ask "am I in labor?" you probably aren't. (Now of course there's always the chance you'll be one of those people who can walk around a 8cm like no big deal... but that's definitely the exception rather than the rule.)
As birth doulas, we spend a lot of time on the phone talking with our clients towards the end of their pregnancies. It is SO NORMAL to wonder about every single sensation, and especially if it's your first time it can be hard to know what to take seriously and what to ignore. We're happy to provide this support - which is sometimes just a knowledgeable, judgment-free listening ear so you can vent your end-of-pregnancy frustrations!
Tighten Your Inner Circle
While the world is bigger than ever, social media has brought all your long lost relatives, friends, and "friends" (you know, the people you knew in grade school but haven't actually seen in real life for decades...) right into your living room on a daily basis. Now we aren't ones to tell anyone how to run their lives, but when it comes to quelling anticipation during the great baby wait, it can help to close in on your inner circle. Stay connected to the handful of true friends and helpful family members who will be your village as you wait and as you adjust to life with your new baby. The last thing you need is the feeling of a million eyes upon you waiting for the big announcement. (We're looking at you, April!)
We're super serious about this. Put yourself first and really shower yourself with all the self-care you can squeeze in. We're talking spa treatments, meals out, a special hike with your partner... whatever feels like an indulgence to you. Once you have your baby in your arms, the opportunities for being a little selfish with your time become harder to find (although you could have one of our postpartum doulas on hand to make that a lot easier!)
This can be so much easier said than done, we know. Between the anticipation of meeting your baby and all the aches, pains and other discomforts of late pregnancy, it can be really hard to get comfy and relax. If those aches and pains are keeping you from being able to move throughout your day or sleep comfortably, talk to your medical care provider about your options. Things like chiropractic care, acupuncture, and simple stretches and mild exercises can ease a lot of normal pregnancy discomfort. If walking feels good, go for it! But take that "walk the baby out" advice with a grain of salt. No amount of walking will put you in labor, and you risk exhausting yourself before you even go into labor. Try to take some time to just BE.
If you have a birth doula, give her a call to see if she can recommend some simple ways to relieve that discomfort (we know lots of tricks!). Whether you're giving birth yourself, supporting your partner through birth, or growing your family through surrogacy or adoption, you are about to see a significant drop in your daily sleep allowance. Do whatever you can now to build up that sleep bank. (And remember we have postpartum doulas that provide overnight baby care to help you get that critical sleep once baby arrives!)