Pregnancy is a marathon, not a sprint. And like a marathon, by the end of it you desperately need to wee, your feet are swollen, and you’ve really had enough of this ‘marathon’ nonsense. Sure, the journey was great, and you’ll look back on it fondly…but boy, what a slog.
Let us be the helper who’s waiting at the finish line with a cup of Gatorade and a foot rub – here are our tips and tricks for surviving the toughest month of your pregnancy.
Is the last month really the toughest, though?
Only someone who’s been through it all before can answer that question. So, we sought our answers from mums on mom.me …
“The last month was rough. I had numb hands and didn’t sleep because I was so uncomfortable.” – Hannah J
“Simple. The last month of pregnancy made me feel like a whale.” – Christina H
“I’ve never visited a bathroom as often as I did in that last month of pregnancy. So. Much. Pee.” – Olivia P
Plenty of mums will tell you that their first trimester was worse though, due to the morning sickness, the relentless scans, and the concerns for their baby’s health. But the home stretch in your third trimester tests you in a different way: so we’ll focus on helping mums during that period.
What are expecting mums doing each week?
A 2010 study of woman from Sydney – all of whom were at least 20 weeks pregnant – recorded some intriguing results on what they were doing each week.
|Activity||Prevalence (95% CI) on all surveys completed*|
|Consumed caffeinated drinks||82.6%|
|Eaten hot and spicy food||47.2%|
|Had sexual intercourse||42.1%|
|Lifted anything of more than 12 kilograms||32.7%|
|Performed vigorous physical exercise||6.4%|
|Had an internal/vaginal examination||6.1%|
|Onset of an infection||5.0%|
|Traveled in an aeroplane||4.5%|
|Taken medication for depression||2.4%|
|Source: A prevalence survey of every-day activities in pregnancy, BMC Pregnancy and Childbirth, DOI: 10.1186/1471-2393-10-41 © 2010. * Variance is detailed in the URL above|
The big takeout is what so many Aussie soon-to-be-mums are enjoying each week: caffeine. Here’s what one expert has to say about that.
Coffee during pregnancy? While it’s not completely forbidden, it is recommended to cut down to 200mg of caffeine a day.
— Jeannette Bishop (@HanoverOBGYN) June 20, 2016
The ABC backs this up, stating in their story that you should be limiting your intake, but don’t have to kick the habit altogether.
Additionally, nearly 1 in 2 of these women from the BMC Pregnancy and Childbirth study ate spicy food. We explain below why it should be an essential purchase during those last few weeks of pregnancy.
Top hacks for expecting Mums in their final week
- Keep hydrated: It reduces constipation, helps absorb essential nutrients, and is good for the baby.
- Stay stretched out: Gentle exercise like yoga that utilises lots of stretching prevents cramping, may help prevent nausea, and improves circulation.
- Invest in a comfy pair of shoes: This will account for your changing centre of gravity, and the newfound pressure being place squarely down your legs.
- Buy some bra-back extenders: They’re widely available, and will give you a few extras weeks with your existing bra-set.
- Make a belly band: This will make your outfit work for you.
Your go-to shopping list for the ninth month of pregnancy
One big hack we can reveal is a ‘post-pregnancy’ and ‘b-day’ shopping essentials. You’re going to need these items before you head to the hospital, and setting aside an afternoon to gather the following will put your mind at ease…
- Baby essentials for their arrival: newborn nappies, wipes, singlets, onesies, muslin wraps
- Mum essentials for the hospital: toiletries, nursing pads, maternity pads, comfortable undies (boxer shorts, for example!), comfortable sleepwear, and a good book.
Relaxation hacks for the expecting mum
- Exercise for big benefits. Even though it’s one of the less popular activities outlined in the table above, exercise during pregnancy is hugely important. It helps you return to your pre-baby weight much faster after the birth, reduces the risk of gestational diabetes, and relieves stress.1
- A matter of sleep. You’ve no doubt heard that you should ‘sleep now, because you won’t be able to when the baby comes’ (and you’ll need your rest for labour), but this is easier said than done when your baby likes to boogie inside your belly while you try and rest. Just as you should ‘sleep when the baby sleeps’, nap when you feel tired, as the micro-sleeps may be enough to keep you rested.
- Spend time with your family. Once the baby comes, your free time is going to dry up overnight, so it’s ideal to use this last month to spend some quality time with the family. Go on some dates (ideally with your partner), or take your elder child to the movies. Additionally, put aside some time with your family to agree on names, finalise your birth plan, and prepare your birth announcements.
- Take full advantage of life before your baby arrives. Just as important as spending quality time with your family, is setting aside time for yourself. Clear your head, make sure you’re happy with everything around you, and – most importantly of all…treat yourself!
Prep the house (i.e. busy work while you wait for ‘labour day’)
- Clean out the freezer then stock it up for the future. There are a large number of options you can opt for here, but we suggest you start by visiting The Organised Housewife, which details how you should go about prepping, cooking, and storing meals. There’s even a wide selection of great recipes on the site!
- Get cleaning. You may hate the idea of cleaning, or it might give you a real thrill. Either way, it’s important to do a thorough clean before you head into hospital, so you don’t have to worry about it later…when you’re preoccupied.
- Wash any and all baby clothes. Baby’s have sensitive skin, so go ahead and launder all their clothes before the due date.
- Pack your bag for the hospital. Pack pregnant clothes for the trip home, as you don’t lose that baby weight immediately!
- Beware overly ambitious projects. If you’ve ever assembled a piece of flatpack furniture, or helped someone assemble theirs, you may be aware that they can be…a little frustrating to put together. Undue stress isn’t what you need right now, so plan any big builds with the help of your partner.
Sources & inspiration