You’ve been pregnant for forty weeks now. Your hospital bag has been packed for a month, you’ve made a birth plan and prepared to meet your baby. Your due date comes…and then it passes without anything happening. It is surprisingly common for babies (especially your first child) to be born late. Both of my daughters were two weeks late! After waiting for so long, it can be very frustrating to have to keep waiting. Here are some ways to cope.
1. This is hard, but try not to get too attached to your due date. Due dates are actually an estimate that means your baby will probably come within two weeks of the date. That means that your due date is actually a four-week-long window of opportunity! It’s hard not to think of a particular day, but it will help if you prepare yourself in advance that your baby may not be born by then.
The anticipation and excitement to meet your child means that the last month of pregnancy can seem longer than the other eight months.
2. If it helps, avoid people. This doesn’t mean to become a recluse. I know from experience, though, that it is horrible when you show up somewhere and dozens of people ask “why haven’t you had that baby yet?” or “how late are you?”. For me, it helped to go to church at a different congregation than normal for a week or two before the baby was born. That way, I could attend church in peace and the other people there didn’t know that I was already due.
3. Screen your phone calls. Obviously, your family wants to stay informed, and it can be helpful to talk to them. However, nosey neighbours, co-workers, etc. can wait. If you don’t want to talk to them, just let them leave a message on the machine. You can let them know after the baby’s born.
4. Go on walks. A lot of people say that walking a lot will trigger labour. It didn’t work for me. However, going on daily long walks will help you to feel healthier and happier, and is a good way to fill time while you’re waiting.
5. Try to stay comfortable. By this point, even if you’ve had an easy pregnancy, you are probably very uncomfortable and ready for the baby to move out! Try to be comfortable. Get either a professional massage or make your partner or a friend give you one. Take baths. Go swimming (great because it supports your weight). Wear comfortable clothes and don’t worry about how you look.
6. Sleep. I understand that it can be difficult to sleep at this stage, but soon you will have a newborn baby who will wake you up during the night. Even if you can’t sleep well at night, try to take a short nap during the day, or just lie down and watch a movie and rest.
7. If you have other children, spend quality time with them. Soon they’ll have to share you with a new baby, and you may be gone in hospital for several days with the birth. You’ll both be glad that you had some special time together beforehand.
8. Get out of the house. Sometimes just a change in scene can help lift your spirits. Go shopping, go to the park, go to a museum. It doesn’t really matter where you go.
9. Don’t lose hope. Your baby will come out eventually.