Shoes don't fit and you haven't had a good night's sleep in weeks. Plus, you're antsy to finally have a baby. Here's how to hang in there and enjoy the home stretch.
It's been nearly nine months, and the glamour is
officially gone. Your back hurts, your feet are tired, and
it's been weeks since you've had a good night's
sleep — time to get this show on the road!
Unfortunately, your baby's got her own agenda, and it
might not be what you had in mind (your due date may sail on
by with nary a contraction in sight, for instance!). In the
meantime, you're probably getting more than a little tired of
belly pats from strangers and the constant reminder that,
"Woah, you're getting so BIG!"
It's definitely hard not to feel frustrated,
uncomfortable and antsy in the final days of pregnancy. Hang
in there, because we've got some tips on de-stressing before
the big day. Kick back, put up those (swollen) feet and read
Work it, baby. Exercising might feel like the last thing you
want to do, but with your doctor's permission, give it a
shot. The right movements can increase your flexibility,
strength, circulation, and help you prepare for labor. Try
prenatal yoga, which has been known to reduce swelling, back
and leg pain, and insomnia, in addition to being a calming
practice (make sure you stick with a teacher who has a solid
understanding of pregnancy and knows what poses should be
avoided). If you're feeling particularly constricted in the
diaphragm (all that belly crushing your lungs), spend a few
minutes on your hands and knees, breathing deeply — the
baby weight will drop low, giving you a nice break from the
Get a foot rub. Or a back rub, or a full-body treatment.
Visit a local massage therapist trained in prenatal massage
for a wonderfully relaxing experience. Done correctly, a
massage can ease sore spots, relax tense muscles, and just
make you feel good all over. Therapists often provide a
special table with hollowed-out areas for your belly, or have
you lie on your side with a body pillow for support.
Take care of yourself. You're probably past the point where you can
reach your own toes for a DIY pedicure, so why not visit the
salon for a professional paint job? If pedicures aren't
really your thing, how about a fabulous new haircut
(something spiffy but low-maintenance for the coming weeks,
maybe?), or a pair of earrings that make you smile? If you're
struggling with being positive about your appearance these
days, treat yourself to some feel-good beauty indulgences.
Keep busy. Minimize your calendar-watching by keeping your
schedule filled with manageable to-dos. Get involved in
something you enjoy doing — whether it's a hobby, a work
project or just lunch with friends — so you're focused
on more than just the state of your belly!
Address fears. Take this time to learn as much as possible
about labor and delivery, and talk to your support system
about any fears you may have. Fear can actually slow labor
and cause pain during the birth, so it's important to address
your concerns head-on. Learn about your options, and helpful
techniques to help with the parts of labor you are most
Prep the house. It may be hard to believe, but that
brand-new baby is going to be mobile before you know it. In
addition to the safety measures you've probably already put
in place (such as no soft bedding, and crib slats no more
than 2 3/8ths of an inch wide), consider taking some further
steps to ensure your growing baby's safety. Child-safety
experts suggest, among other things, removing hanging cords
from blinds, locking up all household cleansers and
medications, and installing safety plugs in outlets.
You should never hesitate to contact your healthcare
provider if you notice anything out of the ordinary in these
final days of pregnancy. Some signs that warrant an immediate
Of course, noticing signs that you're going into labor is
usually a happy reason to call! Make sure you're
well-informed on the indicators that labor is progressing, so
you feel confident contacting your healthcare provider at
the right time.
Keeping a positive attitude may be a challenge as you deal
with all the late third-trimester discomforts and a growing
desire to (finally!) meet your baby, but try and remind
yourself that this is truly a temporary situation. Soon
enough, your world will be turned upside down in all kinds of
amazing, tiring, miraculous ways. Take these last days to
breathe, connect with yourself, and enjoy the
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