Sometimes it helps to feel like you have a little bit of control, even when you don’t. You don’t have control over what your baby will look like, when he will come, whether or not labor hurts, and on and on. At the end of pregnancy, many women feel they should do something to make labor and birth easier. Hence comes the end-of-pregnancy regimen, prescribed by wise women who just want the best for us.
YOUR 37-WEEK PREGNANCY PRE-BIRTH REGIMEN
- Take a walk. Everyday. Walk at least 30 minutes without stopping to go out to eat. Remember that one of the best ways to train your body for labor is to condition your cardiovascular system. Your urge with your huge belly and breasts and a baby sitting on your bladder will be to lay on the couch as much as you can. While you do deserve to rest when you can you also need to keep moving, too. The fastest first baby labor I ever witnessed was a woman who rode her bike to work five days a week (over the Brooklyn Bridge) at 38 weeks pregnant. Actually, I ended up delivering her baby because the midwife didn’t make it in time. Remember that your hard work now will help you later.
- Take naps. Turn off the phone, turn off the tv or whatever other device you are using. Enjoy quiet, unencumbered silence without having to do anything for anyone else.
- Surround yourself with positive images of birth. When I was breech at 35 weeks, my midwives told me to put pictures of babies in the head-down position all over our house. Photos of homebirth, water birth, flowers opening, newborn babies all snuggly and warm – any image that resonates with you will help you imagine your birth in a positive way.
- Eat yummy happy healthy food. Eggs, avocados, walnuts, peanut butter, dark leafy greens, beets, watermelon. Take good care of your body. Take the slow food approach. Build your day around meals: spinach omelets with goat cheese, homemade mushroom ravioli, pork tenderloin with roasted apples. These last couple weeks may be the last time for a while that you can really enjoy a meal without having to breastfeed a crying newborn, or eating while showering, or trying to remember whether you ate breakfast eight hours later.
- Drink tea. A go-to bible for the use of herbs during pregnancy and beyond is called Wise Woman Herbal for the Childbearing Year. Raspberry and nettle tea is widely known as a tonic for the womb before and after pregnancy.
- Have sex. Trust me, you will not want to. You will have to get creative. But it will be good for you, and good for your partner. One of my favorite suggestions regarding sex during pregnancy is this: Whatever helped put the baby in there will probably help get the baby out.
- Get acupuncture. If there is one thing I would recommend for every mother-to-be, it would be weekly acupuncture sessions from 37 weeks of pregnancy. Some midwives offer three free acupuncture sessions for all their patients because acupuncture so dramatically helps make labor smoother, faster and less painful. *Remember that induction of labor using acupuncture is much more effective when treatment is begun at 37 weeks, rather than after the due-date is past.
- (Whatever it is. As long as it makes you feel calm, and happy.)