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Crunch Time: The Final Days Before Birth

Katlyn Joy |22, March 2014


It's hard to believe but you are finally getting down to the last days before baby arrives. The question is how to best fill those hours leading up to the big moment. One way to organize your time is to break it into categories. You have last minute baby preparation to do. That will be one category, but certainly not the only one. You need to prepare physically and mentally for the birth. And finally, and perhaps most importantly, you need to relax.

Last Minute Preparations

Take inventory.

What items have you not purchased yet that you need to have as soon as baby comes home? What chores still need done for baby's homecoming? For instance, have you set up the crib yet, or installed the car seat? Do you have the thank you cards and announcements all set to go?

Hospital information.

Make sure you have all your paperwork pulled together and ready. Do you have the last minute instructions from your physician, such as when to call, when to arrive at the hospital and where to go? Did you preregister? Do you know the best route to the hospital and have a back up route planned in case of traffic or other issues? Do you know where to park?

Make sure you have a plan for meals.

Have some take out menus gathered, and start making double portions and freezing meals. If anyone asks what you need help with, let them know meals would be appreciated in the early weeks. Forget about the coy, "We're fine. We don't need anything." Yes, you do or you will at least.

If you feel overwhelmed, break it down to the basics.

You don't need a swing to be set up when you walk into the house with the new baby, then don't fret over it now. Focus on the immediate, big needs; eating, sleeping, traveling (car seat) and a clean butt. Those are the necessities and whatever is left over, can wait.

Prepare for the Birth

Stay active even if it's five minutes around the block. Being in shape for birth isn't a last minute activity, but even if you've fallen behind in this task, it's never too late. Take a daily walk, take the stairs, stretch and tone in little moments.

Practice various relaxation techniques.

For such things to be helpful in the midst of labor pain, you need to be practiced at it. Take a few minutes each day to practice deep breathing, relaxing your muscles one body part at a time, or closing your eyes and visualizing a peaceful, joyful place or moment.

Read up on childbirth.

The more you know what to expect, the less frazzled it will make you when it happens. If you know that transition only lasts a short time of labor, but is the time you are most likely to lose your composure, you might be better able to handle it when it comes.

Eat healthy

You will probaby be eating much smaller and more frequent meals, due to less room for food. Keeping a healthy diet will give you more energy and make you feel stronger.

Surround yourself with positive views and stories about birth.

Don't feel obliged to listen to anyone's horror story.


Keep a journal to write your thoughts.

Expressing concerns, projecting hopes and recording the events leading to birth are positive ways to prepare emotionally for your baby's arrival.

Don't sit around watching for birth to begin.

Waiting because you don't want labor to start while you're out and about is a bad idea. Stay busy doing fun, but safe things. Go to a movie, have lunch with friends, take a walk in the park and have an ice cream afterwards.

Don't become baby obsessed.

Every book you read, every TV show you watch, every conversation you have doesn't need to be about parenting or birth.

Try yoga and meditation.

Even at this late stage, both of these practices can be helpful. Yoga helps breathing, posture, muscle tone and increases the endorphins in your body.

Connect with your mate.

Make dates, enjoy time together being a couple, not a family-to-be. The investment pays off in many ways, including helping you stay strong together once the pressures of parenthood begins.

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