You're getting close. The final weeks of pregnancy may seem like miles to the finish line, but you're almost there. You're tired, swollen, anxious, nesting and noticing the end is faintly in sight. Though the days may drag on, the time is passing by and there are a few things to give attention to before labor day arrives.
1. Feed the Mind-Body Connection. Doubt about your body's ability to give birth, fear surrounding the pain or experiences you may face, and worry about the unknown, will all have an effect on your labor. Check out these printable Birth Affirmations . Print them out or write them down and put them up where you will see them often. The mind has power over the body. Positive thinking releases the control that fear can have over your body, and allows nature to take over. Positive thinking in and about your birth is also linked to better birth outcomes and a decrease in the experience of pain; what have you got to lose?
2. Make a list, a couple of them. If you’re having those middle of the night, up-to-pee moments of anxiety about every last finite detail needing to be attended to before baby, you’re not alone. Keep a piece of paper and a pen beside your bed to jot down to-do’s for when your mind is racing but your body needs to sleep. Later on, organize your to-do list into “must-to’s”, and “hope-to’s”, because the truth is – some of those things on your list can wait. Writing these things down can help your mind relax and get ready for more important things, like bringing your baby earth-side!
3. Have an open conversation with your care provider. Hopefully whoever is looking after you through your pregnancy is someone you feel safe with and trust, but perhaps there are some loose ends. Writing up a birth plan can be a helpful way to ensure your desires and preferences are respected in your birth. It can go in your file and be available to whoever attends your birth. Going over your birth plan with your care provider can also be a great way to make sure you are on the same page and clear up any issues or questions that you’ve been hesitant to bring up.
4. If you don’t have a doula yet, hire one. Alright, so I’m bias. But the evidence is clear: having a doula is linked to an overall greater satisfaction with your birth experience, lower rate of cesarean birth, fewer medical interventions, and improved mom-baby attachment after birth. These are just a few of the amazing benefits of having the presence of a doula at your birth. The number one priority of those caring for while you’re in labor is the health and safety of you and your baby. The job of a doula is to provide the laboring woman and her partner with unbiased holistic, nurturing care: body, spirit and mind; because we all know that birth is so much more than just a healthy mom and baby.
5. Love on yourself. Whether this is your first baby or you are wrangling a toddler while packing a melon, don’t forget about YOU. The maternal, “everyone else but me”, complex, seems to kick in sometime in the third trimester. If you’ve got little ones, book a sitter during the week to take a nap, get a massage, and go for a swim. Yes, AND, not OR. Because you, Mama, need to love on yourself. And remember that self-care often goes by the wayside when baby arrives and all eyes are on them, but continue to give yourself that attention and be courageous to ask for help, because you deserve it.
What would you add to this list? Please share your thoughts in the comments section below.
Andrea Postal, Birth Doula