It's the final countdown! And it's time to get serious about having the baby and bringing her home...although a mom-to-be can still do that with Journey blasting in her head. That's what I'm having to do right now myself.
There is a lot to think about and to do in this last month, and, if you're anything like me, you will have been pretty easy going when it's come to preparation because baby's due date has always seemed ages away. Where have the months gone, like, seriously?
The time has come for shopping, cleaning, decorating and washing, and be prepared to make lists like you've never made lists before. What we have talked about here for you in this article is meant to help this last month pass a bit more smoothly, and you will probably find we talk about some things that nobody has mentioned before, like doing something good for yourself or celebrating your belly.
Making preparations in these last four weeks will mean that you can spend more time being calmly excited than running around like a headless chicken, trying to accomplish everything at the very last minute before the contractions hit. Good luck mom, you're going to be absolutely fine!
16 Do Something Good For Yourself
Can you remember the last time that you did something just for you? No? Why can I say that I'm not surprised? Well now is the time, because mom, when the baby comes there aren't going to be many chances for you to do much for yourself at all. You'll be lucky to grab a shower once in a while! Looking after a little one is going to me mentally, physically and emotionally exhausting, so it's important for you to invest time in you.
So, here are some suggestions: Get a pregnancy massage. Spend an afternoon in the salon having a new haircut or a blow-dry. Have a manicure/pedicure. Wax your eyebrows. Schedule in a date night with the girls. Have a bubble bath with essentials oils like sandalwood, lavender, and ylang-ylang. (Before you stress, these oils are safe to use during pregnancy).
15 Get The Freezer Stocked Up
You're not going to want to, nor will you have the time to cook when baby gets here. So, one of the best things you can do in these last few weeks is to make sure that the freezer has enough food in it so that you don't even have to think about pulling on that apron for several weeks.
Some ideas of what to cook and stock up on include: Bolognese sauce. It's great to chuck on top of some quick cook pasta. Quiche is excellent. It's easy to make several at one time and it freezes really well. Stew, because everyone loves stew. A few loaves of your favorite bread is a no-brainer. Soup because it's so easy to make a huge batch, it's easy to defrost and it's comfort in a bowl. Lasagna and macaroni cheese are also those comforting must-haves.
14 Clean The House
My nesting instincts really kicked in when I was at 6 months, and I'm happy, and massively relieved that I now have a cleaning system installed in me that means I am always thinking to myself, 'I need to keep my shit together and ensure that the house is tidy for when baby arrives'. So thankfully, there isn't too much to do in these last few weeks.
Writer Cheryl Butler said: 'A common sign of nearing labor is nesting — something in a woman clicks where she just has to clean out the fridge or organize the space under the kitchen sink right now'. And she is spot on! Use nesting to your advantage and get things organized so that when you arrive home with little one, everything is already done. The feelings of contentment and satisfaction will be glorious, and you can just think about what's most important - baby.
13 Get Sleep While You Can
My sleep is all over the place right now. Sleeping through the night is a thing of the past. So when I get a chance to nap or to sleep in, I take it, but I still feel a bit guilty. It's stupid, especially when I have read so many articles practically shouting GET SLEEP NOW!
And I bet I'm not the only one with these guilty feelings and the thoughts saying 'you have more important things to do with your time'. But I'm trying to overcome them and just go with the sleep when and if it comes...and I suggest that you do the same!
This isn't the month to be skimping on sleep. What is helping me is keeping in mind that my sleep patterns are going to be even more irregular when the baby comes, and I know that I'm going to regret punishing myself if I don't sleep now.
12 Celebrate Your Belly
One thing I wish I'd done more of during my pregnancy is celebrating my belly. I've taken the odd photo every now and then to share on social media, but I got it into my head that people would start to get bored of my growing bump. Such a fool I can be sometimes.
I shouldn't give a damn really, and neither should you. Be proud of your beautiful bump, lady, and show it off, however, wherever and whenever you like! You won't regret showing it off, you will regret keeping it under wraps.
If you know someone who is a dab hand at art, ask if they could paint your belly. Perhaps you're arty yourself, and in that case, don't hesitate to give it a go! Or if you have the resources, you can bring in a body painting artist. Be sure to take LOTS of photos.
11 Pack Your Hospital Bag
The moment has arrived for you to start packing up the bag that you'll take with you to the hospital! It's good to have your bag ready for week 36. In your bag, you'll need to have all the essentials for labor and birth as well as after the baby is born.
Be sure to pack your birth and maternity notes, a dressing gown, socks, old nightdress or a t-shirt, massage oil, lip balm, snacks and drinks, a book or magazines to help pass the time, pillows, music, mobile phone and charger, a going home outfit, toiletries, big and comfy underwear.
For baby, ensure that you have a couple of sleepsuits, nappies - little one can go through 12 in one day - baby blanket, socks and/or booties, hat, muslin for mopping up milk and an outfit for the journey home.
10 Practice Installing The Car Seat
I don't get on all that well with car seats. They are bloody complicated in my humble opinion. But I'm determined to change that by the time this month is over, and be something of a pro. A pro who, instead of turning into a flaming ball of rage after a minute of trying to get the damn thing in can remain calm, cool and collected.
Practice really does make perfect when it comes to installing the baby seat. There's a very high chance that, if you don't have it sussed by the time it comes to taking the baby home, you may well be a quivering sack of nerves. A massive 95% of parents install the car seat incorrectly. Don't be one of them. Read the manual and practice, practice, practice.
9 Create A Birth Plan
You really can't wait any longer now to do your birth plan, so set aside some time in the next few days to get it done. What you will need to include is your name, your labor partner’s name, your doctor’s name, your doula's name (if you have one), and your baby’s name (if decided already), your due date, things you would like during labour i.e. if you would like ice chips for nourishment or want to be coached when it's time to push, what you would like when it comes to pain relief, i.e. if you want an epidural or not, things that you would like to happen straight after the birth, i.e. your partner to cut the cord, if you want to hold the baby straight away or after they've been cleaned up, special requests if you need to have a C-section, concerns and fears and anything else.
8 Learn About Delivery Options
If you haven't already looked into delivery options, now is the time to do so to find the best choice to suit your individual needs. For example, you might want to have a home birth, a midwife-attended natural birth at the hospital, a vaginal birth with drugs or a pre-planned C-section.
When it comes to delivery, this is your decision to make. If family members or friends disagree about your choice and make it out to be this massively controversial thing, remember that you have the power to tell them where to go. You have the power to say no and take your own road. This is not the time for you to feel pressurized and backed into a corner. Do what is best for you and what you believe is best for baby.
7 Think Of How You Want To Announce Baby's Arrival
When my fiancé and I found out that we were going to have a little girl, I couldn't contain myself. I was on Pinterest in a flash, looking for inspirational ways to tell the world. He, on the other hand, wanted to keep it quiet so he could ponder for a while.
We did keep it quiet for a few days, so we could have the joy to ourselves for a short time. But I predict that when the little one arrives, I'll have a card all prepped, ready for us to make an official notice to our family and friends.
From my experience, it's essential to talk to your partner about how you both want to announce little one's arrival. Make sure that you are on the same page. Once you have come to some agreement, then you can present your mountain of ideas!
6 Wash Baby's Clothes
If you have thrifted your baby's clothes (I have...about 50% of them are thrifted), have been given them or even have bought them new, you're going to want to wash them. Washing helps to remove any substances or dust which might end up irritating your little one's very delicate skin.
Always play it safe and use non-biological detergents. A gentle fabric softener is also essential as it helps to stop the clothes from being itchy. Some people don't think washing clothes before the baby is here is that big of a deal...but I'd rather be safe than have a sad baby.
Be aware that some of your baby's clothes might not be suitable to be bunged in the washing machine, so will need to be hand washed. Try and make life easier for yourself and always look for machine washable label.
5 Be Aware Of Late-Pregnancy Issues
While being in your third trimester is an exciting time, it's also a time when complications can arise, so ensure that you are informed of the things that could go wrong. Preeclampsia is one of the issues, and the symptoms include high blood pressure, protein in your urine and swelling of the hands and feet.
Gestational diabetes is also a risk. It occurs because your hormones during pregnancy make it more difficult for your body to effectively use insulin, which results in high blood sugar levels. There are no symptoms, but you ought to have had a screening for it during your second trimester.
Placental abruption is dangerous, though thankfully rare. It happens when the placenta separates from the uterus before labor. It can be fatal for the baby and cause serious bleeding for the mom. Symptoms include vaginal bleeding, stomach pains, and strong contractions.
4 Prepare For Breastfeeding
I take medication, so it's still on the fence as to whether or not I'll be able to breastfeed and I tell you something - if I can't, I'll be bloody disappointed. I want that connection with my baby.
Even though it might need to be formula for my little one, I'm still getting as much info as I can, just in case, it happens that she can have my milk.
In this last month, you're going to want to talk to other moms about their experiences with breastfeeding (that'll be where you'll learn the most), go along to a breastfeeding class, check out what local breastfeeding support there is and read books and blogs and articles about breastfeeding. Finally, buy yourself a couple of nursing bras which will give your boobs all the support they need.
3 Learn Techniques To Cope With Pregnancy Fears
It is so natural to have fears during your pregnancy, and if you've been anxious for the past 8 months, now is the time to focus on techniques that can calm you down, because there's a lot that needs to be done in the coming month and it doesn't include needlessly stressing yourself out!
If you have been scouring the web for things that can go wrong, STOP! I know it's not easy to quit worrying, and it all has to do with your hormones, lack of sleep and excitement/anticipation about the arrival of your baby.
Ask your partner and your friends for more support - don't be afraid to do this. Remind yourself that most babies are born happy and healthy. If it's so bad you can't cope, talk to your doctor and he may refer you to a therapist.
2 Make Hard Decisions
There's going to be some hard decisions to make now, lady, so you're going to need to be attentive and focused when you discuss matters with your partner and those responsible for your welfare at the hospital.
Some of the decisions you're going to need to make include whether or not the cord will be clamped immediately or not. By delaying the clamping, blood continues to flow from the placenta to the baby and studies have suggested there are many benefits to this.
Another decision will be whether or not to leave your baby's skin covered in vernix, the cheesy coating your baby is born with which acts as protection, a moisturizer, and a blanket! Removing it isn't necessary for hygiene purposes. There are suggestions it might even provide antibacterial promotion as well as wound healing.
1 Do Not Worry If You Are Overdue
Remember that due dates are not set in stone. Sometimes calculations can be off by a whole week or two. The majority of babies are born between the 38th and the 42nd weeks of pregnancy. If they're not there by the 42nd week, they're considered overdue. So many as 1 in 10 babies are overdue.
While the wait might be stressful, try your best to relax and remember that it's really common for this to happen. As long as the baby is healthy, it is ok. If you are only a few days past your due date, doctors won't likely offer to induce your labor for a little while yet, until you are beyond 41 weeks. Try and keep yourself occupied while you wait, by going out for last minute dates with your partner, stocking the fridge and freezer, and rest.
Sources: MumsNet.com, BabyCenter.com, Parenting.com, HealthLine.com, Nameberry.com, BabyCantre.co.uk