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We all know that ‘normal’ labour can start anywhere from 37 weeks to 42 weeks gestation, and that ‘due dates’ are kind of an educated guess with only 3 – 5% of babies actually being born on this date. With a range of around 5 weeks, that’s a whole lot of waiting time and wandering around waiting for labour to start. So what can you do while waiting for labour to start?
For some women, they go on a massive cleaning and ‘nesting’ frenzy. I waited for this to kick in with both of my babies and it just didn’t happen. So I had to entertain/distract myself in other ways.
These are some of the things you can do while waiting for your labour to start:
1 – Take a Walk
Pregnancy can be a little rough on our joints, especially our hips and lower back. As our belly swells and our baby grows, our centre of gravity shifts and we compensate for this in various ways. Sometimes this can cause all kinds of discomfort, especially if we spend a lot of time sitting.
Going for a gentle walk can help alleviate some of this pain and help you stretch out. Walking has so many health benefits, including reducing stress and relieving hip and back pain. Many women also believe that walking can help induce labour, but keep in mind, your baby will come when they are ready and no amount of walking will rush them (I tried…).
Due to changes in your centre of gravity, you’ll want to avoid uneven surfaces and steep inclines or declines. Also, if you experience any sharp pains or increase in discomfort stop immediately and seek medical advice.
2 – Hydrate
When you think about it, there’s a whole lot of fluid required in pregnancy. At term, you can have around 1000mls of amniotic fluid, an extra 1250mls of blood and what feels like litres upon litres of urine. Dehydration can lead to many complications including preterm labour and low amniotic fluid. So it’s safe to say, staying hydrated is pretty darn important.
But… water can be a bit boring sometimes. Hydration doesn’t mean drinking copious amounts of water – your fluid intake can come from many different sources. Mix it up. I found drinking Red Raspberry Leaf Tea chilled with frozen blueberries and strawberries in it to be super refreshing and kept a jug of it in my fridge, plus it’s great for helping to tone your uterus in preparation for labour. Win/win.
3 – Relax and Rest
Labour isn’t a sprint, it’s a marathon, which means you should take the opportunity when possible to rest up and allow your body to relax before the event. What better reason do you need to binge watch your favourite Netflix series with your feet up and well into relaxation mode?
While it may be difficult to get comfortable, do whatever activity you feel helps you relax and rest. If that, for you, means preparing the nursery then go ahead, or if it means curling up with a good rom-com then go for it!
Soon you are going to have a newborn who relies on you 100% of the time and who you’re going to want to spend hours and hours on end watching (because they are so darn cute!!). Give yourself the space and time now to relax and rest.
4 – Spend Time With Your Husband
Oh hey there hubby… Often after our babies are born, our husbands tend to take a little bit of a back seat in the attention category of our lives. It’s not that we don’t want them around and that we don’t want their support, it’s just that we are adjusting to our new ‘normal’ and trying to navigate having this extra mini person in our lives. Especially when we are first time parents.
Take the opportunity now to shower your husband with love and affection, after all it was your love for each other that created this life you are about to bring into the world. You could even escape for a babymoon for some serious relaxation and one on one time – kind of like a honeymoon, but instead of after the wedding, it’s before the baby.
And just so you know, husbands, it may seem like we have replaced you with this new little baby but I promise we still see you and we still love you – this is just our season.
Dear Husband, I see you. I know. You may think I don't and I wouldn't blame you. I'm a whirlwind dinner time, nappy…
5 – Talk To Your Baby
Okay, this might sound a little odd but talking to your baby before they’re born can help you bond with your sweet little babe. From around 23 weeks gestation your baby can start to hear noises inside the womb, and one of the most frequently heard noises they will have (other than the hum of your heartbeat) is the sound of your voice. Your baby will know your voice better than any other sound before you even ‘meet’ them. Isn’t’ that amazing?
You can play music and dance around (great way to get some active movement in while preparing for labour), sing to your little one or even read stories. The sound of your voice is soothing and comforting for them and you might even notice your baby responding to your voice with little (or big) kicks and tumbles.
6 – Meal Prep For Post Baby
Let’s be practical for a minute: after your baby is born the last thing you’re going to want to do is get into the kitchen and cook – but the kicker is, you’re most likely going to be super hungry… all the time. So, why not use this time before baby arrives to get some meal prep happening?
You can do things like freeze meals (things that are quick to heat as snacks are good too like mini quiches – plus they are full of good protein from the eggs), prepare easy to eat snacks like granola or even prep up some ziplock bags of fruit for smoothies so all you have to do is add some coconut water or almond milk and blitz it up.
This is the one thing I wish I had done before I had my babies. Even though my husband was amazing and took care of all the cooking, I still wish I had good little snacks on hand so I didn’t eat as much Nutella… out of the jar…
7 – Get A Massage And Pamper Session
By the time you’re in your third trimester, just about every part of your body goes through some stage of aching. Everything feels different, and you might find you don’t really feel like yourself anymore. I struggled a lot when I looked in the mirror and didn’t recognise the body I was looking at. So, to make me feel better I would have little pamper sessions.
Pregnancy massages are amazing and can leave you floating on cloud nine. Be sure to see someone who specialises in pregnancy massage though as they will understand how to help relieve pain points and not make things worse.
You could also have a mani/pedi or even a relaxing facial. My skin was always so dry so having a lovely pamper session at the beauty salon made me feel so much better.
Whatever you do in the lead up to your labour, make sure it makes you happy and makes you feel good. This is such an amazing time with so much anticipation and excitement! It’s your time, we hope you enjoy it!