In the beginning of a pregnancy, it's all so new and exciting. There are all of those 'firsts', hearing the baby's heartbeat, getting that much anticipated sonogram, even those early midwife/OB visits seem to bring on their own special brand of anticipatory excitement. Then that last trimester sneaks right up on us. With the frequent bathroom breaks, seemingly endless cups of water, and aches and pains that go along with growing a human being start to catch up and take a small toll. Many of us 'mothers to be' in that space have a universal feeling of the never ending pregnancy. So, how exactly does one cope with the anxious waiting game associated with the last few weeks, and sometimes, those extra days beyond the prescribed 'due date'? Having patience in pregnancy can be a tall order in the end...take it from me, I was beyond 42 weeks when my little one decided it was time.
The first and best way to handle all that antsy pantsy-ness is pure distraction. It's great to use while in very early labor as well. While most mama's have a 'nesting' phase in the late 3rd trimester, it seems to serve a good purpose. Firstly, it can help you prepare for your new little one, by getting all the clothes, diapers, feeding supplies, and crib all prepared, you are also distracting yourself from playing that waiting game. Not only that, you are gearing up for a wonderful early bonding period because you are gathering all those necessary items beforehand. As any good boy scout can tell you, it's good to be prepared!~
A second way to move your mind away from counting days, is to focus on your support system. If you have a large friend/family circle, you could organize who is doing what and when. This way, you have all of your needs clearly defined, and all of your inner circle can be involved in their own way. (In a way that best suits YOU) This will alleviate some of the "anything you need, just let me know" conversations. You can create a schedule, or even dedicate specific days or even times when you are welcome to visits. If you are comfortable, you could even put in early requests for prepared meals, or laundry help.
Lastly, you could also create a form of documentation of the last days of your pregnancy. Something to add to a baby book, or even the early parts of a photo album. Some ideas to jot down are, special activities you and your significant other did to prepare for the arrival, a favorite 'last date' you may have planned, or even how you are feeling about the impending arrival of your little one. Taking photos to document your growing belly and changing shape during the later stages can be another fun way to document the last days of your pregnancy.
While many a mother has thought she would be pregnant forever, rest assured that every pregnancy will eventually come to fruition and a baby will be earth side. Those last weeks and days are something to treasure for a lifetime.
After the birth, usually the baby is kind of messy. While bringing baby into the world is neither easy or clean work, a lot of the 'messy' stuff remaining on the baby is quite useful for the early moments in life and bonding. Typically once baby is delivered, and placed on mama's chest, a gentle wipe down or towel off is sufficient for a while.
Aside from a beautiful beginning to breast feeding, bathing too soon may lower the infants temperature. Even when warm water is used, studies have show. The temperature can decrease up to 3 degrees. Infants are not fully able to regulate their own temperature until about 72 hours of life.
Delaying or refusing a bath in hospital also requires all people who come into contact with the infant to wear gloves. This not only protects the nursing staff, but also your little one. Using gloves means you don't have to worry about hand washing between visits with other infants. It's a great way to keep germs to a minimum.
So, whether you delay that first bath for a few hours, or even days, there are certainly benefits to be had.
During the childbearing year, so many of us prepare for the birth experience. We take childbirth preparation classes, such as Lamaze, Hypnobabies, or even Birthing from Within. While these are all gloriously wonderful techniques to use in preparation for and during childbirth, those first few 'baby moon' months are of great importance as well. The idea of the 'fourth trimester', or the first three months post birth, creates a soft landing space for your new baby to cope with the whole concept of being 'land side', and all the exciting experiences that come with it.
The newborns' experiences in the womb are often recreated post birth in order to calm/soothe baby. Such techniques include swaddling, which recreates the tight, enclosed womb like feeling they had while in utero, and swinging/swaying, again baby was constantly swayed while in the womb. Shushing, or humming are also quite soothing to baby since they have been hearing mom's heartbeat, and other body functions consistently during gestation. When new parents try to mimic the womb like environment they are often met with a soothed and calmed infant, and everyone likes that!
So while you are preparing for the birth of your new family member, also combine skills/techniques that will help you in the early days with baby. Some great tools for new parents are calming techniques. There is the 5 'S' approach. (Swaddle, Side lying, Swinging/Swaying, Shushing, Sucking) Seen used in the Happiest Baby on the Block which also contains the 'cuddle cure', and much more information pertaining to newborn emotional care. Taking time to prepare for those early moments can assist with the transition to parenthood, while also preparing you for what to expect once baby is home. May you have a bliss filled baby moon.
I am a DONA Certified birth Doula. Serving the greater Kansas City metro area. I am also Rebozo and Dad Certified and a Placenta Encapsulation Specialist. My heart's passion is to be able to work within the birthing community to serve expecting women through the childbearing experience.