You're so over it. Whether your due date has come and gone, or you're at week 37 and it seems like your pregnancy will neeeever end, the waiting game can be brutal. So what should you do to pass the time?
Remind yourself of the benefits of waiting it out.
We now know that it is the proteins released by the baby's lungs when they are fully developed that let our bodies know the time has come. Every day you remain pregnant is another day that your body is providing a safe, comfortable place for your baby to grow until they're ready to be born. Waiting for your body to go into labor on its own also reduces your risk of a cesarean delivery, and if you are aiming for an unmedicated birth, avoiding Pitocin or other medical induction methods often help your contractions to be more manageable.
Plan for the postpartum period.
It's called the fourth trimester because the first three months post birth are very much an extension of life in the womb, as your baby transitions to the outside world. You can pretty much plan on the vast majority of your time being devoted to caring for your newborn; however, this is also a critical time of rest and recovery for you. It definitely helps to set yourself up for self care ahead of time. You could make yourself a care package with great recovery products, some super comfy nursing bras, energy packed snacks, a new water bottle and some reading material. It's also a great idea to make freezer meals, set up a meal train, sign family and friends up to provide postpartum help, or line up postpartum doula services.
Connect with your partner.
Though it may sound cliché, things are about to change in a big way, and your focus will shift almost entirely to the small miracle you're about to bring into the world for a good while. Take some time to connect with your partner and take in the last days of life as you currently know it. Do things you won't be able to do with a new baby- go to a movie, go to a nice restaurant, get intimate (bonus: it could help start your labor!). It's also a nice idea to plan an extra special outing on your expected due date, to take the pressure off and so you have something to look forward to- even if baby does decide to stay put a while longer.
Focus on yourself.
You're doing really hard work growing and carrying that baby, and you deserve radical and extravagant self care during this time. Spend some time doing things you enjoy, even if it seems harder to enjoy things at this stage in the game... Go to a prenatal yoga class (ask your instructor for modifications and focus on the breath work, as this will be really helpful to you when you do go into labor), get acupuncture and chiropractic to prepare your body for a smooth birth, get a prenatal massage, have lunch with a friend, read a non-pregnancy related book, treat yourself to a mani-pedi, splurge on a piece of new jewelry ("push presents" are a thing, why WOULDN'T there be "still pregnant presents"?!)
Finish tying up loose ends.
You may think you've already done all the planning you could possibly do for your birth, but maybe you still need to download a contraction tracking app, hear more positive birth stories, listen to more hypnosis tracks, revisit your birth preferences, or chat with your doula about last minute questions or concerns.
Written by Angie Traska of Align Doula Services, providing intuitive, attentive doula support that aligns with you. Looking for doula support, birth planning guidance or lactation counseling in the Madison area? Contact me here.