Pregnancy can feel like a very long nine months. The last month in particular can feel endless, especially when the arrival date can be anywhere from two weeks prior to the due date to two weeks after. One mom described pregnancy as ‘eight months and a year’ as the last month felt so long. The eagerness to meet the new baby and to be done with the all the less than fun parts of pregnancy is very strong.
However, there are plenty of things a mom and the extended family can do to welcome the baby even prior to birth. According to Parents, once the baby can move and hear, it will respond well to external stimuli and chatting, singing and touching can all be beneficial in soothing and entertaining the fetus.
The baby is very sensitive to its environment and the person who has most control over this is the mom-to-be. Keeping healthy and active and avoiding any toxins or harmful influences on the baby are all ways to show love and care for the unborn child. There are plenty of changes a mom can make in her lifestyle to give the baby the best chance to grow and develop healthily. Keeping family members, especially dad, involved, will aid bonding once the baby is born, and give the baby a sense of familiarity when it emerges to voices that aren’t unknown.
Once you are out of the first three months of pregnancy and you may be starting to feel the baby kick, it is time to start responding to the baby with some massage. According to FirstCry Parenting, gently massaging your baby bump might make the baby respond to your touch, and you can respond in kind with some gentle rubbing.
This is soothing and reassuring for both mom and baby and you can even incorporate some pregnancy friendly aromatherapy oils to release some soothing fragrances into the skin. This might not prevent or remove preexisting stretch marks, but it will do plenty to help bonding and relaxation in mom and unborn baby.
According to Healthywomen, around 23 weeks your unborn baby will start to hear noises like your heartbeat and your rumbling tummy. Add to the soundtrack with some singing and see if the baby responds to applaud or to complain! Playing music to the baby will soothe it and it might respond to the same tunes when it is born.
Babies respond well to their mom’s voice in the womb in preparation for entry into the outside world when the baby will recognize mom’s voice and feel reassured by the familiar sound. You might feel a bit odd singing away to yourself when you are on your own. However, once you start to get some kicks and nudges in response from the dancing fetus, you should feel more enthusiastic!
As the baby grows and her hearing develops, she will recognize the voices of her parents and her mom most of all. Make sure that she hears you chatting often to build up that recognition, and hopefully, she will remember, and be soothed by your voice when she arrives.
Talking to your baby helps to forge the bond that will last a lifetime, according to Aptaclub. Studies have shown that moms chatting to their unborn babies can calm them, and this is good for them in the womb. Particularly in the third trimester, your baby will hear tones and respond to vibrations from your voice and talking to baby is a start in their speech and language development and vital memory skills.
17 Looking After Herself
There is no greater gift a mom can give to her unborn baby than by staying healthy. Eating regular, healthy meals and taking all the necessary prenatal and pregnancy supplements all give your baby the best chance of absorbing the best nutrients, which is vital for growth.
Drinking plenty of water ensures a healthy mom and a healthy baby. Blood volume doubles in the mom during pregnancy, so feed that bloodstream with plenty of fluids. Keep yourself as active as you can, and exercise safely to increase oxygen flow through your body. A bit of walking, swimming or yoga in pregnancy can all help to keep the mom and baby in tip-top condition, according to Tommy’s.
16 Being Calm
You need to take time to relax and keep calm when you are pregnant. Stress is not good for mom or baby, as the baby will pick up on negative moods and stress hormones in the mom’s body. If you have a supportive partner, take time to just relax together, take a walk or a movie or just spend time together at home, enjoying each other’s company before the baby arrives.
If you are struggling to remain calm, try some meditation or yoga and see if you feel the benefits. Keep an eye on your mental health and make sure that you ask for help if you are finding pregnancy stressful. If you know you respond badly to stress, put some measures in place to keep yourself calm or seek medical help if you find yourself getting unwell, suggests Cope.
15 Eating Healthy
Making sure you eat healthy during pregnancy can help ease symptoms of sickness and fatigue and give your baby the best chance of growing successfully. If you are finding that your appetite is reduced because of morning sickness, eat healthy when you can and remember that the baby will take what it needs from your body.
Eating plenty of fruit and vegetables and cutting out salty foods gives the vital vitamins and minerals to the mom’s body and to the baby. If you are taking a pregnancy supplement, that will make sure that your vital vitamin and mineral needs are met, but complex carbohydrates, lean protein, and calcium-rich dairy products are all good resources for a mom to be, reminds Baby Centre.
14 Cutting Out Drinks
As the information regarding how much alcohol is safe in pregnancy is varied, the safest approach is to avoid it completely. This is particularly important in the first three months when the chance of pregnancy loss is most likely, although if you have been drinking and were unaware that you were pregnant, don’t panic, just avoid it as soon as you know.
Any drinks that the mother consumes will be filtered and passed to the baby through the placenta. The amount that the baby receives depends on how much is consumed and the metabolism of the mom, according to Drink Aware. Alcohol consumption in pregnancy has been linked to premature birth.
13 Keeping Away from Puffing
The contents of a cigarette can introduce the baby to over 4,000 foreign chemicals, according to NCT. If you are a smoker, now is a great time to try and give it up. What better motivation than the health of your unborn child? Some moms find that sickness means they lose the inclination to smoke, but if this isn’t the case, ask your health provider for advice on how to quit.
Smoking in pregnancy has been associated with health issues such as small birth size and breathing issues (and the list goes on), and these problems are also relevant to moms-to-be who inhale second-hand smoke. Try to keep away from anyone who smokes during pregnancy and keep away from places where you are likely to encounter cigarette smoke.
12 Playing Music to the Baby
As noted, your unborn baby will start to hear noises from around 23 to 27 weeks. The first sound they will be aware of is the beat or your heart, but they will be able to pick up certain noises outside the womb as well. It is very noisy in the womb with rumblings of your digestion and the water in the uterus, so the baby may not pick up everything.
When you are still and quiet, the baby has a chance to pick up music that is played outside the womb and may respond by kicking or even by going to sleep if it is a relaxing sound. BabyCenter says that by 29 to 33 weeks the baby will be able to pick up high-pitched sounds such as a car or smoke alarm. You may find that if you play music to your baby, they respond to that music from memory after they are born.
11 Keeping Up with Appointments
Depending on when you find out you are pregnant, you should have around ten to fifteen appointments during the pregnancy. It is really important that you keep these appointments as they can alert medical professionals to how the baby is doing, and any problems can be picked up and dealt with sooner.
Blood pressure testing and urine sampling can pick up abnormalities and alert doctors to conditions such as pre-eclampsia and gestational diabetes. According to WebMD, the OBGYN can also check the baby’s heart rate and size to make sure it is growing and developing as it should. Your health is important too, so the doctor may ask questions to check you are coping and to see if there is any more help you need.
10 Getting Daddy Involved
It’s a very mommy focused experience, pregnancy. The dad has obviously played his vital role, but after that, there’s less involvement until nine months later. However, many dads love to feel involved and part of the pregnancy journey.
Hopefully, you have a supportive partner who will want to be part of the journey. Ask him to come along to all your appointments, particularly sonograms, which will help him to feel part of the process. Once the baby is kicking he can feel the unborn baby and chat and sing to the baby just like you do. BabyCenter says that he can also be involved by helping mom too. Getting a massage or a foot rub can help the baby by keeping the mom relaxed, so don’t be shy of reminding him of that!
9 Getting Plenty of Rest
It can be hard to get enough decent sleep when you are pregnant. Needing to get up to go to the bathroom or struggling to get to sleep because of discomfort can interrupt a normal sleep pattern. Hormones and worry can give some moms-to-be insomnia, so it is important to get as much rest as possible when you can.
Even an hour of relaxing time with your feet up will help to rest your expanding body and there is no need to feel a compulsion to do all the things you used to do before you were carrying another life around with you. Putting your feet up can help with swollen ankles and rest will help nausea as well. According to Early-pregnancy-tests, even if you can’t sleep, a favorite movie, a good book or some soothing music will help to keep you calm and give you some much-needed rest.
8 Keeping Active
You might feel completely exhausted for much of your pregnancy and the last thing you feel like doing is exercising. According to WebMD, exercising can give you more energy, so if you can rouse yourself to get involved, you might find it really beneficial.
Something like swimming or yoga can be relaxing, as well as having health benefits. Improving muscle tone can help you adjust to the added pounds of pregnancy and give you more stamina for delivery. Obviously, you need to exercise within safety guidelines, but keeping active during pregnancy can make it less of a struggle to get back into shape after the baby is born.
7 Have a Bath
BabyCenter says that having a warm bath is a great way of relaxing when you are pregnant. You need to be careful of having really hot baths, but warm water will relax your muscles and ease any aches and pains as a result of loose joints and ligaments. Hot water can raise your body temperature too much and be risky to the baby and can make you feel faint or sick and alter your blood pressure.
You need to ensure that any bath oils or additives don’t have any unsafe ingredients in them. Some perfumed bath additives can alter the acidity balance of your lady area and may lead to thrush, so try and keep the perfume limited to scented candles around the room instead.
6 Pregnancy Yoga
Even if you have never practiced yoga before, pregnancy is a good time to start. Not only is it a great exercise for pregnant women, but it can strengthen your body and relax your mind at a time when both are needed, says Art of Living.
Yoga can improve your circulation and muscle tone and ease any tension you might be feeling in your body. If it is a pregnancy yoga class, you might find other moms to bond with who are having babies at the same time as you. It is best to start yoga in the second trimester if you have never done it before and this is usually the time moms are feeling most energized.
5 Practice Hypnobirthing Techniques
The techniques learned in hypnobirthing classes can help moms have a more relaxed and joyful pregnancy and birth, plus are useful tools to use throughout life. WebMD says that if you are very anxious about giving birth, enrolling in some hypnobirthing classes can ease pressure and tension and make the experience less daunting.
Moms to be,/ learn how to avoid pain in labor by addressing what causes pain and learning to remain calm through the experience. By adopting calming techniques, they can relax and avoid producing stress and pain producing hormones throughout pregnancy and delivery.
4 Respond to Baby’s Kicks
The word ‘kick’ is not entirely accurate as it is used to describe the mom’s experience of any fetal movement, from any part of the baby’s body. The baby needs to move in the uterus to change position and feel more comfortable or to try and relax. Mom Junction says that they also respond to a mom eating or drinking and too loud noises once the hearing is developed.
If you gently poke or prod your baby after a kick, it might encourage another one. You can indulge in your first play time with your unborn baby by having a bit of fun and responding to the baby’s movement by touching back.
Reading while you are pregnant is a lovely, indulgent way to relax and catch up on all those books you haven’t had a chance to read. If you read out loud, your baby will be soothed by the sound of your voice and will learn to recognize your tone of voice says ModernMom.
Research has also shown that reading out loud to a baby in the last trimester can improve a baby’s language skills when they are born. It is also a great way to get dad involved or other siblings if this is not your first baby. It doesn’t even matter what the reading material is. The tone and lilt of the voice that is reading is what the baby will enjoy listening to.
2 Describing Your Day
You will get used to chatting to your baby once it is born and giving it a running commentary of what is going on. You may have heard moms chatting away to their babies in the supermarket and wondered what on earth they were doing when the baby clearly couldn’t respond.
However, research has shown that parents who talk to their babies and engage them in a conversation, albeit one-sided, have children with better-developed language skills, says Green Child magazine. As you chat to your baby and tell it what has been going on that day, you are actually helping to develop early conversational skills and improve brain development!
1 Introduce the Family
Your baby is not just going to be a son or daughter. It will potentially be a sibling, grandchild, cousin, niece or nephew. According to Raising Children, introducing the baby to the rest of the family can help everyone around you to feel more involved in the pregnancy and improve bonding between family members.
If the baby hears a voice often while in the womb, it is more likely to remember that voice when it is born and feel soothed and reassured by the familiarity. If you have older siblings they are bound to be heard around the home as children tend to be pretty vocal, but this is one time you can actively encourage the noise, to give the baby a chance to memorize its older siblings voice ready to meet them in person.
Sources: Whattoexpect, Upliftingfamilies, Babycentre, Hypnobirthing