Any pregnant woman looks forward to the birth of her child with excitement, apprehension, and even fear (or a grand combination of many emotions). As the weeks and months tick by, it can feel like the baby will never be born, but being prepared can help lessen the frustration and hand-wringing that often comes along with waiting for a child to make its appearance in the world. Learn 5 things you should be doing the last month of pregnancy so you can not only be more prepared, but feel more in control at the same time.
Do your exercises
We’re talking Kegels and walking here, nothing too extreme. These exercises are key to helping your baby make a smooth entrance into this world while relieving your stress and helping your body prepare for baby at the same time, and are perfect to do throughout your pregnancy, especially in the final month.
Kegel exercises help you during labor and allow your pelvic floor and muscles that control urine flow to work more efficiently. To do a Kegel, simply act as if you are holding a stream of urine and hold this position for 5 seconds, then release. Repeat 10 times, several times a day.
Walking is also beneficial for you during your final month of pregnancy, and some midwives and medical experts will even say that walking can help encourage labor. It is believed that walking not only helps relax the body, but that it also encourages the baby to move further down into the pelvis, which helps the cervix ripen and prepare for delivery. Of course, walking is simply a great way to build stamina for the big day, and is excellent exercise whether it can cause labor or not.
Pack your bag and the baby things
While you are fighting contractions is not the ideal time to be shoving as much of your crap into a plastic bag as you can. Have your hospital bag packed a month in advance (not sooner, since you will be too tempted to unpack and rearrange your things if you do) with the things you will need, like comfortable and loose clothing, toiletries, light snacks, and an extra cell phone charger. You may also want to pack a magazine and a book to read if you are being induced or plan on a long hospital stay.
Also make sure your baby things are in order, such as the car seat being installed (just in case you labor early), a diaper bag with the basics, and the crib or bassinet set up at home for when you bring the baby home with you. If you do these things starting week 36 of your pregnancy, you will feel more ready and less panicked when the big day actually arrives.
Freeze a few meals
Speaking from experience, many people will be bringing you tasty meals to nosh on while you enjoy your new little bundle of joy, but it doesn’t hurt to have a few meals prepared and frozen just in case. Simple meals that are easy to freeze are lasagna (you can cheat and just buy a frozen one at the store), chicken and rice casseroles, and even soup. Also keep on hand quick and easy meals for your family to prepare just in case, like frozen pizzas, cans of soup, macaroni and cheese, and even hot dogs. They’re not the healthiest of meals, but hey, when you are focused on Baby, you will just be happy the rest of your family can make a quick meal without much help from you.
Get some rest
This may sound impossible with everything else you have to do to prepare for your upcoming little one, but sleep is very important the last month before you deliver. Lack of sleep is going to be an issue for you due to your growing belly, your seemingly giant baby jamming itself into your bladder, and those weird leg cramps and sinus congestion issues that keep getting worse (speaking from experience here). However, getting sleep when you can is what is going to keep you going both physically and emotionally when it’s time for you to deliver. So prop up on some extra pillows, snuggle up to a good book, and have that guilt-free nap every single day when you can. You won’t be able to get that sleep back once the baby is born, trust me.
Forget the remedies that ‘bring on labor’
You’ve heard them all: sex, black cohosh (and blue cohosh), pineapples, castor oil, walking, and even bouncing on a trampoline (or my favorite, riding a horse)- none of these tactics will bring you any closer to labor unless your baby is already planning on being born. Your body knows what it’s doing, and stressing about getting your baby into your arms through any remedy you hear can only lead to heartbreak, frustration, and even more stress. Sure, it doesn’t hurt to munch a pineapple a day, and certainly walking is healthy for you (and can help get your baby ready), but don’t focus so much on when you have your baby as much as how healthy you are the final month of pregnancy. After all, you’re in the final countdown, and once you hit that final week of your pregnancy, you may be wishing time would rewind a little bit after all.
Enjoy pregnancy while you can. It’s over before you know it.