As you near the end of your pregnancy you may be wondering: “What should I be doing now to get ready to give birth?”
This is a very common question that we hear as birth doulas in our prenatal sessions with clients.
This is an exciting moment for new parents-to-be because it means that your pregnancy is nearing the end and you’ll meet your baby soon!
While some may advise rest, exercise, nesting (all very good ideas), we like to recommend practicing relaxation. As Americans, we aren’t very good at relaxing. We need to practice, as very few people (maybe none?) can relax on cue in a time of great excitement, expectation and physical stress like labor.
Here are some ideas:
- We recommend you take 15-20 minutes (at least) out of your day for mindful relaxation and practice. With all of them, we recommend incorporating “mindfulness” – a focus on the present moment only (versus thinking about the past or future.)
- Listen to guided meditations or relaxations specifically for pregnancy and birth. You can find these wherever you listen to podcasts and through services like Expectful.
- Listen to your favorite, calming music on your headphones.
- Take a bath each evening, working to decompress and not think about anything at all!
- Go for a non-intensive stroll around your neighborhood or by the water at dusk each evening.
- Sit under a tree at your favorite park and just watch the world go by.
- Take a peaceful yoga class – like yoga nidra.
- Drink a cup of tea and read a good book.
- Take a childbirth class to practice other comfort and relaxation strategies.
Other things you can do if you need some distractions from the anticipation include:
- While listening to your favorite music, prepare some easy meals to put in the freezer that you can pop in the oven once your baby is here (nesting!) You will have less time or energy for cooking during the postpartum period.
- Go out for a nice dinner with your partner to celebrate as a couple before your baby joins you.
- Take a short babymoon, aka staycation, and spend more time relaxing.
Birth is often described as being similar to a marathon, and in a way, that’s true! You would never run a marathon (or 5k) without training first. Consider practicing relaxation to be your birth marathon training.