Do get lots of rest and sleep
It may sound like a given but these are the last 12 weeks before your life changes forever. It’s that small period of time where you’ve ‘come so far’ but still feel like you have a marathon to go. We all know that we need sleep but did you know that sleep in pregnancy is really important? Not just because you probably feel like a whale by now and lying down and closing your eyes is the equivalent to a full body massage, but the quality of sleep you get in pregnancy improves your immune system and regulates your growth hormones! I’m sure you’ve heard over and over again things like, “sleep now while you still have the chance”. This is true but suffering from heartburn, leg cramps, and peeing 6 times a night doesn’t make getting a good night’s rest any easier. This is why it’s a great idea (if you can) to rest WHENEVER you can! If you can manage a nap or two during the day then your body and mind will thank you for it. Even just setting some time for yourself to sit or lay and rest for short periods is really beneficial. And most importantly, don’t forget to ask for help if you need it!
Do walk and lightly exercise
This may sound like a horrendous idea particularly if baby is laying low or you’re suffering from SPD or sciatica but walking is brilliant in the last few weeks. In the third trimester, it’s advisable to take someone with you if you intend on going for a long walk just in case you start to have pains or need assistance. Have something small to eat before you go and take water with you so you can have regular hydration stops when you need to. Not only is walking in the third trimester good for general health it can also reduce back pain and constipation, reduce the risk of diabetes and pre-eclampsia, and it could also help induce labour if you are ‘at your time!’ Many women use their daily walk to reflect on their pregnancy and have thoughts about their baby’s birth and future. This combined with the walking itself will set off those endorphins giving you those feel-good feelings and positive vibes.
Do pamper yourself
Pampering sounds somewhat glamorous, doesn’t it? When we think of pampering we think of spas and luxury and treatments so… why not? You’d be amazed at how the little things really do make all the difference in those last few weeks. Book an appointment at the hairdressers, just a wash, trim and blowdry is bound to have you feeling a million dollars (and like a human again). Don’t feel tempted to just have a quick shower because you have X, Y, and Z to do, run yourself a bubble bath, light a candle and take some time for you - you deserve it! You could get a manicure or a pedicure, not only is this a treat, it’s always nice to look back on photos and think ‘wow, my nails sure did look nice’.
Do binge watch TV
There is absolutely nothing wrong with grabbing all your favourite snacks, stacking the pillows on the sofa and watching your favourite series’ or films for as long as you want. Yes, you may look like you’ve tried to create a bad fort and are eating a month’s supply of food but who cares! You’ve earned it! If seven long months have taught you anything it’s that everyone deserves a break especially those with beach balls for stomachs and swollen ankles the size of hot air balloons! Just think, soon you will have a little person who wants all your attention and probably won’t have time to chill like this.
Do organise your baby’s clothes and room
This is one of the few things in pregnancy that us mums get to take extreme pride in. Buying things for your baby and getting things ready are fantastic feel-good processes. Setting up your baby’s nursery, choosing colours, and building cots are ways that you are bonding to your baby. You are showing yourself and your baby that you have got this; you are ready and look how much effort I’ve put into this for you. This helps you feel closer to bump and also gives you a feeling of achievement and relief that everything is ready for your new bundle, setting off those feel-good vibes again. (Just try to remember when you start nesting that you’ve already cleaned the skirting board in baby’s room twice and it doesn’t need doing again!)
Don't worry (well, try not to)
You may be worried about birth itself, how painful it will be, how long it will take, if you get the birth you want. You may be worried about whether you will make a good parent or if your baby will scream 24 hours a day. You may have a high-risk pregnancy due to underlying health problems or previous birth issues. Some women report that their biggest fear was the state that ‘down there’ would be post-birth. No matter what you are worried about though, just remember that your worries and fears are all valid. There is always someone to speak to - there is NOTHING your midwife hasn’t heard before. You can join a pregnancy forum online and speak to like-minded mums to be who probably share your fears or can answer your questions. Worrying in pregnancy is completely normal but if you feel like your worries are overwhelming you it is so important to speak about them in order for you to have the best pregnancy and birth experience possible.
Don't try to make labour happen
Yes, this last stretch can feel like a lifetime, especially if you go overdue. It can seem very tempting to try and bring things on yourself - but DON’T. Just because Auntie Julie did it back in 66’ with “good old castor oil” doesn’t make it safe or warranted. If the baby isn’t ready to come, it will not come and trying to bring on labour yourself is dangerous. This is why you end up having a sweep and/or be induced in a medical setting surrounded by qualified staff. As fed up as you might be and as tempting as it is, you have waited this long - I know you can wait that little bit more.
Don't get too attached to your birth plan
In a perfect world, you and your midwife will make a plan and everything will go wonderfully. HOWEVER, babies have that lovely way of being super unpredictable. And it may not be the baby; you may want to change your birth plan yourself. For example, you may only want gas and air but end up asking for an epidural. You may want a water birth but unfortunately, you just aren’t progressing enough in the water and need to get out. You may have a vaginal birth planned and want to go home that day but end up needing a cesarean and staying in the hospital for a few days. The main thing is that your baby is born safely and you're both well.
Don't compare yourself to others
This isn’t a particularly useful skill to use in any walk of life but especially not when you are getting ready to birth a tiny human. Comparing your body, your weight, your activeness, your tiredness, etc. with other mums to be is pointless because just like no two babies are born the same, no two pregnant mums are the same. You may feel like a friend of yours looks radiant and healthy when you don’t, but I bet your friend has thought something similar herself about the way she is. Be kind to yourself, this isn’t a competition; remember your end goal is to create a life who will love you more than anything and that along with your own health really is all that matters.