In our final weeks of pregnancy we long for relief – physical, mental, and emotional.
By week 36/37, our baby is considered “term” – the lungs are developed, and if born today, is past the point of being a preemie. That’s a relief in and of itself, and we can congratulate ourselves and be ever so grateful. Still, since it’s likely that the baby will not be born for another 2-6 weeks, here are some thoughts on getting other types of relief for the next few weeks.
To start, what might we be feeling?
-Heavy, off-balance. The Late Pregnancy Waddle. We sometimes fall to the side, due to lack of balance, and the hormone relaxin (great name, huh?) helping our joints to relax in preparation for birth.
–Hard to move (baby pushing “down there”)
–Hard to breathe (baby crowding lungs)
-Checking things off list. Your brain is full of what-needs-to-get-done-before-I-can-allow-myself-to-have-this-baby.
-Pregnancy Brain: Forgetting to even write the above to-do list.
-Pressured: If employed, needing to arrange for maternity leave cover and tie up all loose ends. Wondering if this will be done before birth – don’t want anyone calling me during contractions or screaming diaper changing!
-Needing to arrange for other children during birth.
-Finalizing birth plan
-Fear of the birth.
-Hormonal – crying at drop of hat!
-Apprehension – when will this baby come? Wanting to plan, but can’t. Sometimes the dating is off – to be sure, check out dating accuracy.
What helps you deal with all this? Often times it’s just taking time for ourselves. Writing it all down. Especially the fears. A birth professional colleague, Miriam Maslin, suggests writing out all fears and then numbering them from worst fear to least. It gives us a sense of control, which then allows us to let it go. I’ve done this – even though it was hard to get started, once I did it I felt a huge sense of tension completely lifted. It allowed me to then go about my business of getting things done before the birth.
Additionally, harboring fear leads to tension, which leads to pain during contractions (see Childbirth Without Fear by Grantly Dick-Read). The ideal state is to be free of tensions, so that means releasing our fears. I know, easier said then done, and yet, possible. For more about relaxing during birth, read here.
So now’s the time of treating ourselves with fun and ease, while getting stuff done, huh? I wish you well with the balance of the final weeks, health for you and baby, and the easiest birth possible.