Nine months is a long time, but they don’t feel nearly as long as those last few weeks of pregnancy. After so many months of rubbing your growing belly, studying the sonogram pictures, and marking down days on the calendar, it’s almost unbelievable that soon you’ll be holding your baby in your arms. It feels like there’s still so much preparation to do, but you feel too large and uncomfortable to actually get anything done. Your priority should be looking after yourself, so here are a few things you could be doing in your last days of pregnancy.
Prepare to pump
Make sure you get the names of lactation consultants at the hospital where you’ll deliver. Let them know approximately when you’re due and that you’d like to meet when them after your baby is born. This is just one of many postpartum support networks you’ll need, and a little coaching in breastfeeding can go a long way towards reassuring you you’re not making any mistakes.
Learn the symptoms
Are you in labour, or is it just Braxton Hicks? In the home stretch, it’s important to familiarize yourself with the symptoms of true labor: contractions that occur at regular intervals and/or gradually become stronger and do not abate with movement; bleeding; intermittent back pain; increased or brown-tinged vaginal discharge; or passage of the mucus plug. It might make you and your partner feel better to do a few practice runs to the hospital in case you suddenly go into labor.
Be flexible on your dream birth
Even if you're hoping for a vaginal birth, and your doctor will certainly do their best to abide by your wishes, there's a nearly one in three chance you'll need to have a C-section. Don’t be afraid to talk about all your options with your obstetrician; whether you go to an OB in a hospital, or a special centre like Florida Woman Care of Jacksonville, you need to talk to your primary physician about your concerns, preferences, and sort out your ideal birth plan. Things might not go as you planned - babies have their own schedules - but if you trust your OB to do the best thing for you and your baby, then the end result will be the same. You might also benefit from a tour of your hospital’s maternity floor so you know more about where you’ll be staying after you give birth.
Pack a bag
No matter how much reading you’ve done on the subject, labour can still be scary, especially if it’s your first baby. Bringing a few comforts from home might make the experience a little more pleasant; your favorite pillow, some clean pyjamas, or the baby blanket you carefully knitted throughout your pregnancy.
Sleep as much as you can
It might be difficult to get a decent amount of rest when you have to get up to pee every few minutes, but once that baby comes sleep will be nothing more than a beautiful dream. At least at first.