9 Months Pregnant: The Final Prep for Labor and Birth
I'm almost 38 weeks pregnant with my third baby, and it's starting to get really real that we're going to have a new human in this family soon! So many of my childbirth ed students and doula clients start to feel stressed out at this point of pregnancy - right when we want them to feel relaxed!
Here are some things I'm thinking about in my final weeks:
At 28 weeks, my baby was laying transverse (horizontally across the body). I needed to work to try and get baby into a head-down, LOA (Left Occiput Anterior) position. Babies in other positions will still come out, but we know LOA is most optimal for baby to work their way through the pelvis!
To move baby, I did a variety of things:
Weekly chiropractic visits with a chiropractor who specializes in the Webster Technique. If you're in the Twin Cities, go see Dr. Christelle at Empowered Health Chiro.
At home Spinning Babies exercises, with support from my partner
Replaced my desk chair with an exercise ball. If you do this, make sure that your pelvis is higher than your knees when sitting on the ball. If not, get yourself a larger ball!
Spend time on your hands and knees. This allows belly to hang, and gravity to work with baby. Try scrubbing your kitchen floor, baking, yoga, leaning over a countertop....anything to let baby hang!
Plan Fun Activities
I hate to break it to you.... If you're a first time birther waiting for your baby to go into labor on it's own (no medical interventions), statistically you're likely to go over your 40 week "due date".
So often around 36 weeks, I hear pregnant people start to count down to 40. But what happens if you're still pregnant at 40 weeks? 41 weeks? More?
Plan fun activities for your last few weeks of pregnancy! Make sure you won't mind missing it, if you happen to have a baby and have to cancel. A few favorites of ours in this pandemic environment:
Plan outdoor time with a friend! We're hosting another family for a bonfire this weekend (yup, in the snow!).
Book an online experience through Airbnb. We've loved the Tour of Venice, the Virtual Escape Room, and the cocktail making classes! It's a live class, and the host is in your Zoom room, so it feels completely different from just watching a video.
Create a list of take-out places near you, and try a new one every weekend. Who likes to cook in the last few weeks of pregnancy anyway??
For Minnesota adventures, check out this blog post: Things to do in Minnesota this winter. We're making our way down the list!
Pack the Hospital Bag
Pack like you're going to a hotel for the weekend! You'll want comfy clothes for you and your birth partner, a few outfits for baby, toiletries, and a phone charger.
I highly recommend a swimsuit for your birth partner, so they can join you in the shower/tub as you labor. Even if you're not planning a water birth, many people find comfort in a hot shower during labor!
Pack LOTS of snacks. With COVID, most hospitals aren't allowing partners to come and go, making it harder to go get food. Hospital kitchens have operating hours too - if you birth a baby in the middle of the night, you'll be super hungry by the time they open for breakfast! Think things that are high energy for you AND your partner, and easily digestible: honey sticks, granola bars, clementines, bananas, coconut water, oatmeal, applesauce pouches, etc.
Essential oils are fantastic for covering up hospital smells! Citrus scents provide energy, peppermint can help soothe nausea, and lavender is great for relaxing. I recommend having the bottles handy, but avoiding diffusing or putting them topically on your body. You want to be able to close up the bottle quickly if the laboring person no longer likes the smell. Set up a free consultation with me (Book Online - Bria) if you want to learn more about oils!
Prepare for Postpartum
We're in full meal prep mode over here! Dinners, lunches, snacks, breakfasts... all going into our freezer and pantry! My goal is to have warm, nourishing foods on hand to help my body heal.
For dinners, I followed a couple different free meal plans from The Family Freezer to create ready-made meals that we can dump into the crockpot later.
For lunch, I prepared a really simple frozen burrito recipe, inspired by my fellow doula friend: @birth_doula_brittany. Just taco meat, refried beans, cheese, and Spanish rice rolled into a burrito-sized tortilla and wrapped in plastic wrap for the freezer!
Snacks are all high protein, high fat, and high nutrition! Lots of nuts, Larabars, chia seeds, hummus, hard-boiled eggs, avocado, etc.
For breakfast, we're prepping frozen breakfast sandwiches and will have lots of oatmeal on hand. I'm also stocking my pantry with Mother's Milk tea to promote lactation and give me something warm to drink.
In addition to food, we're making sure our postpartum nest is set up so I can stay in bed and follow the 5/5/5 rule (read more about that in Tabitha's post: here). We're thinking through a plan for keeping the house clean, the kids entertained, and the credit card bill paid on time.
If you haven't thought about your postpartum period yet, I encourage you to sign up for our 3-hour Preparing for Postpartum Workshop! It's a game changer for learning what to expect, and specific tips and tricks to prepare in advance. The next offering is in June,with more coming throughout 2021.
What did you do to prepare in your final weeks of pregnancy?? I'd love to hear your ideas in the comments below, or reach out to us on Instagram: @brightearthdoulas