It sucks to be at the end of pregnancy. You wait and wait, not knowing if your baby will show up in a few days or in a week. Your doctor or midwife will want to suggest induction if your due date has come and gone.
There is so much pressure and so much anxiety in the last days and weeks of pregnancy!
The reality is that babies come when they are good and ready to. And, while there is nothing you can do to actually start labour, you can do things that will make it easier for your body to start labour.
But, first, when I tell you these common suggestions, I want you to double check with your doctor/midwife that they are safe for you to do.
- Stay hydrated
You need to drink a lot of water when you are pregnant. Your body just uses more of it. And the pregnant body is very finicky when it doesn’t get enough. Near the end of pregnancy, if you become dehydrated you may experience premature contractions or false labour. How do you know if it’s real of false labour? Drink a big glass of water! If the contractions stop, your body wasn’t ready for real labour.
- Nap a lot
Sleeping becomes difficult at the end of pregnancy. At night you have to get up every couple of hours to pee and then your body becomes uncomfortable after a while with the weight of your baby pushing and pulling muscles and ligaments in funny ways. When you are home, take advantage of any downtime by getting a nap in. You never know when the birth process will begin, but in my experience it almost always gets started late at night. Extra naps will help you have more energy when contractions get going and won’t quit.
- Take long baths
This is a personal favourite of mine. I could sit in a warm bath for hours if I didn’t get all pruney. Most of us find a bath relaxing. We let out all of our tension in the bath and just lie back, floating, with our eyes closed. Take some time for yourself and draw a nice bath. Use a fun bath bomb or light candles to increase the relaxation factor.
- Eat some pineapple
This delicious, sweet fruit may help the body go into labour. An enzyme in the pineapple called Bromelain shows some promise in causing cervical ripening and contractions. Though the science isn’t very good yet, it’s generally thought to be very safe to eat. There are worse snacks you could be having! (Evidence Based Birth)
- Read a book
Put those sore and swollen feet up, grab a good book, and read. When we’re focusing on reading for pleasure we aren’t focusing on our bodies and our babies. We aren’t worrying. It helps us to slow down and chill out.
- Go for a nice meal and a movie
The ultimate in relaxing distraction might be dinner and a movie. Check out one of the great restaurants downtown and follow it up with a cuddle on the reclining seats at the Landmark Cinema in Jackson Square.
- Have great sex
Not only is sex an fun and effective distraction, there are some things going on that actually help your body get ready for birth. The first thing is that we exchange and create a lot of Oxtytocin during sex. This hormone is what will eventually cause the uterus to contract and ultimately what causes your baby to be born. The other interesting hormone related to sex and birth is Prostaglandin. Prostaglandin softens the cervix and can trigger it to begin opening up. This hormone is found in semen.
All of the the things in this list will help to relax all of your muscles and reduce your emotional tension. A physically and emotionally relaxed woman is going to have a body that will do its thing when it’s ready.
Your frustration at the end of pregnancy is understandable, but your baby is going to be here soon. May as well get the party started!