By Shellie Spradlin As little girls most of us dream of the day we will marry and become mothers. We'll be pushing a stroller with a beautiful baby. We'll chose adorable outfits. Our partners will admire a smiling, content baby. Miraculously our dreams left out pregnancy, birth and the accompanying anxieties. It never enters our minds before we see that second pink line, the emotional roller coaster awaiting us. In the first trimester we live in the blissful glow of happiness that there is actually a tiny human in our bodies. In the second trimester we can actually see the evidence of that little human so that glow remains and intensifies with each kick or jab. The third trimester the worries switch from what crib or bedding to such concerns as:
- This baby is coming out now!
- What if I can't handle the pain?
- How will I even know what labor feels like?
- What if something is wrong with my baby?
- What if I don't bond with him/her right away?
- What if I end up not being the "motherly" type?
- What if I have to have a c-section? Can I still breastfeed?
- Will the car break down on the way to the hospital?
- What if my midwife doesn't answer the phone?
These are just a few examples of what you may feel during the last 6 weeks of your pregnancy. Almost everyone who has ever been pregnant has worried about one or more of these things. The weeks leading up to the birth can be tiring, exciting and terrifying all at the same time.
There are many ways to ease your discomfort and your mind
- Speak in length with your provider. Make sure that he/she has a copy of your birth plan. Let them know if you will have a doula present, if siblings/family members will be present or if you will breastfeed right away. If you have any concerns or questions, write them down and ask at one of your routine visits to ease your mind.
- Drink plenty of water to stay hydrated and eat small frequent meals to stay away from an upset tummy. Your waist may be expanding, but your organs are getting moved around with the growth of your baby. Too much food in a cramped up stomach can increase your discomfort and cause nausea. If you become dehydrated you feel lousy, which will increase your anxiety. Staying hydrated helps prevent swelling, preterm labor and a host of other complications.
- Prop those tootsies up and relax! Swelling is common in the last trimester so prop those feet up and let someone else worry about the laundry or grocery shopping. While you are relaxing write your baby a poem or a letter. Enjoy the time that only you can "hold" your baby, soon you will be sharing that little bundle with others.
- Keep in touch with friends and family. Ask them how they relaxed and eased their minds before delivery. Just be sure to tell them that you do not want to hear their horror stories. They mean well, but sometimes they can increase the anxiety rather than help it. Your family and friends love you and want to support you. Let them be your shoulder.
- Get that nursery ready. Many people have already set up the nursery up way ahead of time, but one last go over won't hurt. If you have a rocking chair in the room, sit and imagine that soon your baby will be snuggled in this warm, cozy room. This room will hold many memories for you in the future. It will be where your baby sleeps, where you rock him/her in the wee hours of the night and where you will enjoy special time just you and baby.
- Make sure you have everything you need packed for the hospital. A few things that I thought important were:
- Comfy/Warm socks, your feet will freeze in the hospital! Also if you don't like house shoes, they make socks with little grips on the bottom so you won't go sliding when you walk.
- Along those same lines are warm pajamas! As I stated above you will freeze! Apparently hospitals don't use heat. Brrrrr!
- 2 coming-home outfits for baby. We all know accidents can happen. New babies have spit ups and poo accidents frequently so be prepared.
- Schedule yourself a massage or a day at the spa. Enjoy the time you have by yourself to be pampered. After baby comes along you may not have this time again for a while.
- Make sure the baby book is up to date and ready to add information while you are in the hospital. Many hospitals will put the babies footprints in the book for you after the birth. Some will even put the footprints on your husband/SO shirt, so be prepared.
Shellie Spradlin is a long time Pregnancy.org contributor and beloved member. As mom to three beautiful girls, two boys and a 1995 angel baby, Shellie has experienced both the pains and discomforts of pregnancy along with the excitement and joys! Shellie resides with her family in the Bluegrass State of Kentucky. Copyright © Shellie Spradlin. Permission to republish retained by Pregnancy.org, LLC.