During the last week of pregnancy, the doc will want the unborn baby to stay in as long as possible so he/she will be able to grow and develop. This means, for many moms-to-be, the 40-41 week mark is the labor goal. Some mamas deliver as early as 36 weeks and as late as 42.
With that being said, the final week of pregnancy is not the same for every pregnant woman. Baby may come via induction or come naturally, but either way, there are still a list of possible mistakes that can happen during a mama’s final week of pregnancy. Below we have compiled a list of 15 mistakes that can happen in the last week of pregnancy, and some of these may shock you. This list consists of things that are a no-brainer to many and are totally shocking to most. The goal is to stay healthy, happy, and safe during this last week of pregnancy, and unfortunately, so much can go wrong. Some mom’s overwork themselves, while others start lying to their doc. The last week can feel like it takes forever, but trust us, it will be over before you know it.
Are you guilty of doing any of these things in your last week of pregnancy?
20 Drinking Castor Oil To Induce Labor
We know mama, that final week of pregnancy can seem like five years. Many moms try a variety of ways to get the baby out, including drinking castor oil. Castor oil, according to WeHaveKids, induces contractions in the bowels which can cause the uterus to begin contracting as well as dehydrates the body. According to HealthLine, castor oil may help dilate the cervix because it promotes the release of prostaglandin receptors. WhatToExpect states that drinking castor oil can cause mama serious nausea and diarrhea and make baby pass his first stool in the womb, called meconium. Meconium in utero can cause serious issues if baby inhales or swallows it. What seems to be a simple method for getting baby out can cause mama and baby some real trouble. Some mamas swear by this, while others did not have any luck, but it is just not worth the risk. It can be exhausting to be pregnant but keeping baby inside until he is ready (or doc is ready to induce!) is the best plan to keep mom and baby healthy and safe. According to StandfordChildrens, your baby may have the following symptoms if she swallows meconium: rapid breathing, grunting while breathing, blue coloring, over-distended chest due to trapped air, and retractions. As parents, it is our job not to cause our children harm. Do not be one of the mama’s who attempt this dangerous method.
19 Overworking Yourself
We know that mama’s get into the nesting phase of their pregnancy at some point, but we suggest not waiting until the last week to be doing everything. Running a million errands, deep cleaning the house, and putting all of the baby things together can lead to feeling exhausted very quickly. Doing these things may be super easy for dad or for someone who is not pregnant, but for you, it could be dangerous. According to BabyCenter, heart palpitations, chest pain, pain in your calf, fainting, dizziness/headaches, and even vaginal bleeding can all be signs that mama is overdoing it. We understand the need to get things done but asking for a hand or getting them done sooner are better options. Light exercise and activity are recommended in the last week, anything more than that could lead to bigger issues for mama and baby. It is best to set realistic goals in the last week of pregnancy. According to Babybelly, stress can influence your baby in the womb, so it is best to try to stay as stress-free as possible. It can be frustrating to not be able to do what you are used to doing prior to pregnancy, but rest assured that you will have the energy back at some point!
18 Being Too Far From Home
You may think it is safe to take the three-hour trip to your in-laws for an overnight stay before baby comes- but we do not recommend it. In that final week of pregnancy, things can change in a heartbeat. It is best to stay local to your doctor’s office and hospital during the final week. Being too far from the hospital can be a big mistake for mom. Although any hospital can probably help out this situation, it is best to stick with the doctors who have followed you during your entire pregnancy. According to TheBump, air travel is not recommended after 36 weeks pregnant. Traveling long distances while pregnant is (usually) a definite no-no in the last week of pregnancy. So, while heading to Wal-mart is not a bad thing to do, going on a mini-vaca could be a bad idea. There is also the risk of going into labor while getting to your destination. There is just too much that could go wrong. It is always best to ask your doctor or midwife on their opinion on travel in your particular case. Not getting the doc’s permission can be a big mistake that is just not worth taking.
17 Getting A Massage
With those sore, aching muscles a hot stone massage sounds just about perfect, right? Wrong! It may sound like a dream, but it is far from a good idea. According to MassageMag, hot stones can raise your core temperature which can be dangerous for mama and baby. During the last week of pregnancy, and the third trimester in general, a full body massage is a big no-no and it is suggested that only spot work be done. Deep tissue massage can increase the risk of blood clots when the masseuse works on the leg muscles. Massage is not totally out of the question in pregnancy, but it must be something that is discussed with the doc and the masseuse. If you are to get a massage, PghHealthandHealing suggests using a therapist certified in prenatal massage so that you can effectively, and safety receive a massage during pregnancy. According to Parents, a massage therapist must have you in a side-lying position so that you are not laying on your back. A massage can sometimes worsen the pain, according to Parents, because some patients in moderate to severe pain have a more heightened sensitivity to pressure. According to Parents, if you have sudden swelling, high blood pressure, or are a high-risk pregnancy, it is best to speak with your doctor before scheduling.
16 Not Keeping Count Of The Baby's Kicks
At the very end of your pregnancy, your OBGYN will talk to you about kick counts. According to Americanpregnancy, taking between 1-2 hours out of your day to count your baby’s movement is crucial. It is ideal to feel at least ten movements within two hours. Americanpregnancy states that when you pay attention to your little one’s movements, it can identify potential issues and prevent stillbirth. One of the biggest mistakes mama can make is ignoring this recommendation from her doc. Mom may think her baby is fine and does not need this special attention, but it can be a matter of life or death. It is best to do this after a meal and/or at night time. We all have busy schedules, but there is no excuse for not doing your kick counts. Even if you have had a perfectly healthy and happy pregnancy, things can change in a heartbeat, and being in tune with your body can save you and your baby a lot of issues. If you do not feel ten kicks in two hours, it is best to call the on call nurse, no matter what the time is. If you do not keep track of your kick counts, it could be the biggest mistake you will ever make.
15 Using Evening Primrose Oil
At some point in the last week of pregnancy, many women are googling answers on how to get the baby out ASAP, but this is not always the best idea. According to Healthline, evening primrose oil can be inserted vaginally or swallowed for inducing labor. This is an over the counter capsule. The myth is, according to Healthline, that evening primrose oil may help thin out and soften the cervix. The issue here is that evening primrose oil can trigger complications or troubles with delivery, act as a blood thinner and even create side effects such as headaches and tummy troubles. We know how eager you are to meet your little sweetie, but it is best to let your body (and your doc) make the calls for your body and not take anything to try to speed up the process. Although this could be of benefit for some mom’s, there are risks that are just not worth it. There is not much scientific evidence to prove that this is safe, according to Healthline, so it is best to speak with your doctor before starting any supplements at any stage of your pregnancy. The goal is to have your baby fully mature and both you and him to be healthy and safe during the final week and the delivery.
14 Stopping Prenatals
Many mama’s before conceiving baby learn about the importance of prenatal vitamins. According to MayoClinic, prenatal vitamins contain folic acid which can help support baby’s development and growth as well as prevent neural tube defects. In the last week of pregnancy, many mom’s think they are in the clear and are able to stop taking this vitamin. According toWebMd, a prenatal vitamin during pregnancy can help fill any nutritional gaps in mom’s diet. Mom’s body needs the nutrition and support and baby still needs those nutrients. According to MayoClinic, it is best to take your prenatal vitamins during the whole duration of your pregnancy. Your doc may even recommend that you take prenatal vitamins even after baby is born, especially if you are nursing. It is best to not stop taking any prescribed or recommended pills/supplements given during pregnancy until cleared by the doctor. Some mamas forget the last week of pregnancy while others just decide they don’t need it anymore- but trust us, it is not worth the risk of stopping. If your prenatal makes you sick, it is best to bring it up to the doc so he can get you on another brand of prenatal vitamins. These vitamins benefit you and your baby from the beginning to your pregnancy and even afterwards.
13 Not Staying Active
The last week of pregnancy is not the time to start a fitness routine, but it is beneficial to get moving a little bit. Not staying active can make mama feel worse mentally and physically. According to AmericanPregnancy, remaining active during the last week of pregnancy can actually relieve constipation, help improve sleep, help reduce backaches, increase energy, get your blood flowing and even improve your mood. The last week of pregnancy, or pregnancy in general is not the time for weight loss, so if that is your goal, it is important to weight until after the baby comes. According to AmericanPregnancy, exercising for a half an hour on most or all days can be beneficial. Even going on a fifteen-minute walk is better than nothing. This can simply mean a brisk walk with the older kids at the park, swimming in the neighborhood pool, and even yoga. It is also believed that walking can start labor due to the rhythmic pressure of your baby’s head n your cervix stimulating the release of oxytocin, according to BabyCentre. You should keep your doctor updated on how often you get exercise and for how long so that she can make sure you and your baby are doing what is best.
12 Heading To The Hospital For Braxton Hicks
Braxton hicks are contractions of the uterus, but they do not cause your body to go into labor or your cervix to dilate, according to Familyeducation. It is common to start feeling these contractions in the second trimester and it feels like tightening of your stomach. Your doc will inform you on how to look out for real active labor, and it is best to pay attention during that conversation. Your doc does not want you traveling to the hospital for Braxton hick’s contractions because they will be sending you right back home. The nurses will attach you to a monitor and monitor your contractions, but they will advise you to take a bath, drink some water, and change positions to alleviate the discomfort. Going to the hospital for Braxton hicks will not hurt anyone, but it is just a waste of yours, your doctors, and even the babysitters time. If you are experiencing discomfort and you are not sure if it is the real deal, it is always best to call the nurses line at your doctor’s office so that you can speak to someone who will answer any of your questions. Braxton hicks are annoying and uncomfortable, but they are perfectly normal and do not pose a danger to you or your baby.
11 Waiting Too Long To Get To The Hospital
There are mama’s who will try to hold of going to the hospital for as long as possible, and that may not be a good thing. We understand the desire of holding off going in until things progress further because many mama’s want to labor at home. The risk is that you can wait too long, and baby can come sooner than expected- on the living room floor, in the elevator, or even in the car! It can be a little tricky to tell exactly when baby will make his exit, but if you follow your doc’s instructions on tracking labor signs, you should be okay. Some mama’s do not make it to the hospital on time simply because they are not prepared. It is best to have the hospital bag packed and babysitter ready before your contractions become too close together. If this is your second baby, it is time to head to the hospital if contractions come every 5-7 minutes and last 45-60 seconds, according to Thrive. If this is your first baby, it is best to head to the hospital when contractions are every 3-5 minutes apart and last over an hour-long period for 45-60 seconds. Many mamas’s make the mistake of waiting too long to go to the hospital and this can result in mama having the baby outside of her desired location.
10 Lying To The Doc
Your OB is there to help you every step of the way, but when you are not open and honest, it can not only hurt you but the baby too. If you are feeling pains, not feeling the baby as often, starting a new medication, deciding to start smoking again or even feeling depressed it is very important to let your OB know. When it comes to the health of you and your baby, there should be no secrets. We understand that things happen that we do not always want to share, but it is crucial to speak up. It can be embarrassing to admit that you may have contracted an STD during your pregnancy or even that you do not feel equipped for this parenting thing, but it is important to communicate new feelings and situations to your doctor. There is probably nothing that they have not seen and heard and being embarrassed or afraid to speak up could hurt you and the baby. According to RedBookMag, your doc needs guidance so that they can provide you with the best medical care possible. They cannot read your mind, so you have to be open and honest with them about everything from head to toe.
9 Not Listening To Your Body
We know how the last week of pregnancy can be scary, exciting, and stressful all at the same time. According to Babybelly, getting plenty of rest, drinking plenty of water, and continuing a healthy diet are essential parts of listening to your body. Your body tells you what you need. For example, if mama is feeling especially tired, it is a sign that she need to stop doing errands and just rest. It is important to trust your body and understand that our body will communicate exactly what you need to you. Your body will also tell you what baby needs as well. It can be confusing to know how far you can push yourself, but if you listen to your body and your doctor, you should be able to ride out the last week of pregnancy without an issue! Your body is getting ready to bring that beautiful little baby into this world, you must take care of yourself before the big day! Your body will let you know when you need to slow it down, eat, drink, nap, and even ask for a big hug (when those pregnancy hormones are getting the best of you!) It is best to always trust and foster your intuition and be in tune with your mind and body.
8 Not Taking Maternity Leave Soon Enough
If you can take maternity leave through your work, it is best to not wait until the last minute to start. There is no set-in stone time to start your maternity leave. According to HealthyMummy, a lot of women start their maternity leave between weeks 32-36 of pregnancy. HealthyMummy states that the stress of your job, your energy level, and the health of your pregnancy all play an influential role in when the best time to leave work is. This is something you and your doctor need to be in contact about. Everybody is different, and it is best to not overwork yourself. According to HealthyMummy, some places require a letter from your doc if you wish to work longer than 36 weeks. Some mamas choose to stay at work past 36 weeks due to money, not wanting to just sit at home, or because they want to wait until as long as they can so that they have as much time with the baby as they can. Waiting too long to take your leave can result in going into labor at work and even stressing your body out to the point of going into labor early. When it comes to maternity leave, it is best to be open and honest about how you feel physically and mentally so that you and your doc can formulate the best plan for you.
7 Laying On Your Back
Once you reach the 20-week mark, your doc will inform you of the dangers of sleeping on your back. Sleeping on your back causes the weight of your uterus to press on the major vein that returns the blood from your lower body to your heart, according to BabyCenter. This can also interfere with the flow of nutrients and blood flow to your baby and placenta. Some mama’s may assume that at this point in the game, your baby is about to come out any second, and sleeping on your back could not do much harm. Your baby and her placenta need those nutrients until she is born, and there is no safe time in the last week to rest on your back. Lying on your back, according to Parents, can also make you dizzy as well. Things can take a dangerous turn in a second during pregnancy, and it is best to not take any unnecessary risks. We know back sleeping is not comfortable for everyone, you will be back to sleeping comfortably in no time! Your baby needs all of the oxygen and nutrients to come out ready to face the world, so it is best to not do anything to cause any potential complications for you or her.
6 Forgetting To Stay Hydrated
A mom-to-be can slack on the fluid intake for a variety of reasons- too tired to get up, not wanting to have to pee, or even not liking the taste of most drinks. Slacking on your water intake in the third week is not something you should ever do. When you do not drink enough, you become dehydrated which can lead to constipation, headaches, vertigo, lightheartedness, drop in blood pressure, and even weakness, according to MomJunction. Also, insufficient fluids to the body means insufficient amniotic fluid to baby. Become dehydrated can also lead to premature birth. We know how annoying it can be to constantly have to go to the bathroom, but before you know it those days will be over. It is critical to stay hydrated during not only the last week but your whole pregnancy. You may find yourself to be thirstier during pregnancy than ever before. Water can help with swelling, overheating, fatigue, and prevent constipation, UTI’s and hemorrhoids, according to WhatToExpect. Of course, water is not the only way to hydrate, just keep an eye out for calorie info, caffeine and pasteurization. Keeping up with your water intake is important for the health and safety of mom and baby.
5 Stressing Out
We all experience stress at some point in our lives, but when a woman is pregnant, stressing out could be dangerous. According to MarchOfDimes, elevated levels of stress can cause your baby to be born before 37 weeks, be born with lower immunity, or even be born at a low birth weight. Stress can be caused by marital issues, hormonal changes, fears about parenthood, the discomforts of pregnancy or even work-related issues. If you are feeling stressed, it is best to try to tackle the problem head on by asking for help, talking with your significant other or a friend, taking a childbirth education class or even partaking in relaxation activities such as prenatal yoga. If you believe you are depressed, it is best to talk to your doctor straight away to get appropriate treatment. Having a stressful day once in a while is normal, but if stress becomes a part of your every day life, it is time to try to take some of the stress out of your life. The main goal is to have baby be born healthy and safely, and elevated levels of stress can be damaging for baby.
4 Heavy Lifting
According to AmericanPregnancy, heavy lifting can result in a pulled muscle, hernia, low birth weight, and premature labor. It is best to avoid lifting heavy objects, but if you must lift something it is best to exercise caution. If you can ask dad, the neighbor or your best friend for a hand, it is best to do so to save you from potential complications. It can be hard to avoid picking up your other kiddo’s, and although this can lead to tantrums, it is best to say safe during this fragile time. Late in a woman’s pregnancy her ability to safely lift decreases mainly due to her center of gravity and balance changing, according to Today. This could make mama fall and get hurt which can lead to complications for both mama and baby. Today also states that hormones cause tissue, ligaments and tendons to soften, which can result in injury when lifting something heavy. We know it can be difficult to ask for help, but it is better to be safe than be sorry. We know it can be hard to depend on other people, but before you know it, those days will be over.
3 Hot Bath For Relief
Relaxing in a hot tub sounds like a great way to relax during the final week of pregnancy, but it is not a good idea. According to AmericanPregnancy, a hot bath is safer than a hot tub because much of our upper body will remain out of the water, which makes you less likely to overheat. In a bath tub, the water cools down throughout the duration of the bath, whereas in a hot tub the water does not. Hot tubs are a no-no in any trimester of pregnancy, but many people have heard that it is especially unsafe during the first trimester due to the risk of birth defects. Mama’s may think they are in the clear in the final week since your baby is fully developed, but it is a risk not worth taking. It won’t hut you to sit on the edge and let your feet dangle off of the sides, but letting your whole body go into the hot tub is something your doc will not recommend doing. A raised body temperature can cause you to become dehydrated which can result in preterm labor, according to BabyCenter.
2 Not Being Prepared
Some mama’s come into the delivery room with a typed out and laminated birth plan, while others do not bring a birth plan at all. If you do not have a birth plan written, it is best to at least decide what you do and do not want to happen during your labor, delivery, and recovery. It is hard to predict exactly what will happen during this process, but it is best to be as prepared as possible. For example, determining who will be in the room with you, if you would like a medicated birth, or if you are opposed to induction are some of the many things you should consider before the big day. Of course, things can take an unexpected turn, and you may not be able to prepare for it, such as a spinal leak due to an epidural or the baby being born with complications. It is best to have a general idea of what you would like in common situations. If you are unsure about what decisions to have figured out by the last week of pregnancy, your doctor will always give you helpful information to help aid in your decision making.
1 Eating For Two
You may assume that in the final week of pregnancy, you can indulge and “eat for two”, but it is best to not overdo it. According to Babybelly, you only need to increase your calorie intake by an extra 200 calories a day during the third trimester. Unhealthy weight gain can cause health problems for your baby. Your baby is gaining weight about ½ a pound per week in the final week of pregnancy, so it is not necessary to increase your calorie intake to “fatten” the baby up. You need to be eating healthy and giving your body and your baby lots of necessary nutrients to keep both of your bodies healthy. Of course, a piece of pizza or a slushie will not do any harm, but the last week of pregnancy is not the time to eat a lot of junk. Eating badly during the final week can give mama some tummy troubles, which is the last thing she needs to be dealing with on top of all the other discomforts during the final week. Be sure to eat those unhealthy foods in moderation and to be giving your body more of what it needs so it has the nutrients and energy for the big day!
References: bellybelly.com, familyeducation.com, americanpregnancy.org, healthline.com, wehavekids.com, whattoexpect.com, momjunction.com, babycenter.com, pghhealthandhealing.com, massagemag.com, stanfordchildrens.org, thebump.com, kaiserpermanente.org, mayoclinic.org, americanpregnancy.org, parents.com, babycenter.com, redbookmag.com, americanpregnancy.org, babycentre.co.uk, whattoexpect.com, marchofdimes.org