When sleep is impossible, strangers start saying any day now, and your hands and feet are swollen to the size of a novelty sport hand, it’s time for baby to arrive!
Oh yeah Mama, I feel ya. I've been in your shoes (or flip flops, if your feet are anywhere as big as mine were... Once that nine month mark (or full term) hits, many of us are not only ready to be through with pregnancy, but are so ready to meet our little babes.
But, alas, babies come when they’re ready...
Try to take comfort in that. It means your body and their little bodies are working together to determine the exact optimal birthing time! That said, mind/body spirit: Mamas are part of that determination. And there are ways that you can help to prepare and encourage b-day along.
Here six things I tried once I reached full term in my pregnancies (my daughter was right on time and my little guy arrived one merciful week early!):
1. Walking is key!
My pelvis was in such bad shape going into my second birth that I couldn’t really walk, but the morning before my first baby was born I walked 5k!
I got this jolt of energy and the walking helped distract me from the contractions that were starting. If it is accessible to you, I really recommend movement to help bring on labour (squats, too!).
This was HUGE for me. About two weeks before my son came, I was feeling a lot of anxiety. As much as I was ready to be done with pregnancy, I wasn’t ready at my core to welcome the birth process.
I had been going to acupuncture to mitigate anxiety throughout my pregnancy, and began the shift to cervical ripening at term.
Then I got hit with a really sharp sense of fear. What if this second pregnancy wasn’t as good as my first? What if this baby *is* too big, like they keep warning (he wasn’t)?
So I went in one more time and explained how I was feeling. I told them to LEVEL UP! When I left the session that day, a sense of calm washed over me - I even called my doula and told her baby would be here soon (three days later, it turns out).
3. Spicy food
Heartburn be damned - great excuse for some takeout Indian! This one may be at urban legend-level, but hey, the worst case scenario is that you've eaten something delicious... Sign me up!
4. Raspberry leaf tea
This is one of those, hey, it can't hurt, methods. Anecdotally, it has been claimed that raspberry leaf tea can help shorten labour and stimulate contractions. The science behind this is... well, placebos are powerful things, too! I'd sip a cup and it at helped me feel like I was doing something to speed along baby!
5. A glass of wine in a bath
You should of course talk to your doctor or midwife as there is no known amount of alcohol that is considered safe during pregnancy. I’m just sharing my personal experience.
Days before my son was born, after a full-term alcohol-free pregnancy, I relaxed with a small glass of wine in a (not too warm) bath. It was all about letting go and allowing my body to relax.
This was a critical & daily practice for a Hypnobabies birth, but there is no reason for any Mama not to participate too - regardless of birth plan!
I purchased an extra hypnosis track from the formal program called “Come Out Baby” which helped to address any last fears (our mindset plays such a significant role in this time) that may be holding me back.
But, even just carving out some quiet time for yourself to focus on breath will help. And there are many meditation apps out there too (I’m liking Simple Habit these days; there are tons of great free options available).
Overall, whether we can speed labour along or not, it’s so important to feel aligned on all fronts: physically, mentally and spiritually.
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*This is a personal account of one Mom's experience. This is not medical advice. Please consult with your doctor or midwife before engaging in any of these activities.