I've never met a mother in her final weeks of pregnancy that was not uncomfortable and ready to give birth. Well, I take that back. I do remember meeting a mom or two that just basked in the final weeks of pregnancy, but that is definitely not the norm!
As your baby grows, she is happily karate chopping your internal organs. She dances on your bowels and bladder and lovingly turns kart wheels into your ribs. It seems like your baby is running out of room. Oh the joy of motherhood!
In the midst of pregnancy discomforts, it's easy and tempting to slip into a mindset of "baby eviction." This mindset has an internal and external dialogue of "being ready to drop this load." Also, the anticipation of dressing your baby in all the cool things you got at the baby shower can cause you to lose patience and feel rushed to see your baby.
There's a lot of misinformation out there about what is full term. I encourage all moms to strive for 40 weeks of gestating your baby. Did you know that your baby is the one to decide when she's ready to come? Yes, that's right. Your baby know when she's finished baking. When she feels ready she will send a hormone to your body and the labor show will be on the road.
That's why it's so important to let labor start on it's own in the cases of low risk, normal pregnancies. Your baby's lungs and brain are some of the last organ systems to develop while in the womb. Babies that gestate to full-term are more likely to live healthy strong lives and avoid illness and death. So, the 4-6 weeks of constant discomfort will reward you with a lifetime of joyful moments with your baby.
Here are a few tips to help you through to the 40 week finish line:
1. Drink Water and Hydrate
Avoid sugary drinks that can spike your glucose levels. Your baby is swimming in water (amniotic fluid). Keep your baby happy by staying hydrated. One of the major causes of premature contractions is dehydration. The uterus is a muscle that’s working hard to grow your baby. Be nice to your uterus and drink plenty of water throughout the day. Drinking small amounts all day is easier than trying to down lots at one time. As the baby grows, you have less room in your stomach.
2. Prenatal Massage
Prenatal massage is awesome for so many reasons. I love it because it increases blood circulation. Keeping your blood circulating properly will help you avoid fluid build up and swollen limbs. This will keep your risk of preeclampsia lower. Also, prenatal massage can help relieve some of the aches and pains associated with the final weeks of pregnancy.
3. Chiropractic Adjustment
Similarly, chiropractic care can help alleviate aches and pains associated with pregnancy. Not only can it relieve discomfort, it can help you have a faster delivery. Your baby has the hurdle of getting over your pelvic bone during labor. If you are properly aligned, this increases your chances of a faster vaginal birth.
4. Stretching and Movement
Stretching and exercise is so important during pregnancy. Continuous stretching and movement throughout your pregnancy aids in strengthening the body and getting ready for birth. It also keeps the muscles loose and eases any pregnancy aches and pains - sore joints, lower back pain, and muscle tension. If done properly and combined with deep breathing, it can help bring oxygen to your baby and help your baby! Make sure to move slowly and gently and to discontinue anything if you feel uncomfortable or in pain.
5. Maternity Support Belt
Maternity belts are designed to support the abdomen and lower back during pregnancy. These belts also aid in promoting proper posture. By wearing these belts, you can help reduce over extension of the lower back. They can also be worn after pregnancy for additional support. After birth, it’s common for women to experience decreased core strength. With muscles and ligaments being strained during pregnancy, a support belt can help in alleviating discomfort and providing additional support to the abdomen and lower back.
Your body is working harder than usual to make a healthy baby so you will need plenty of rest and relaxation. Using relaxation during pregnancy can be beneficial by allowing you to cope with stress, reduce any anxiety you may have about the arrival of your baby, etc. You can practice meditation, breathing awareness, mental and visual imagery, or just about anything that allows you to have some peace at mind. By practicing acts of relaxation you can look forward to having a more satisfying pregnancy. Prenatal massage is awesome for so many reasons. I love it because it increases blood circulation. Keeping your blood circulating properly will help you avoid fluid build up and swollen limbs. This will keep your risk of preeclampsia lower. Also, prenatal massage can help relieve some of the aches and pains associated with the final weeks of pregnancy.