12 Things to do During the Last Weeks of Pregnancy

Friday, November 20, 2015
Happy Friday! I'm feeling a little antsy lately. While my body is yearning for slow, easy movement...the newest issue of Triathlete Magazine just arrived...and I'm itching to train. I layed in bed before going to sleep last night, reading through and daydreaming of bricks, body glide and spandex.

While I don't have anything on the books yet...I do plan to start rebuilding my core and my strength as soon as I'm cleared to exercise. Then I'll have to see what my body is up for, from there. Realistically I'm aiming for a few running races through the summer, with (hopefully) 2 triathlons during August. I'll most likely stick to the sprint distance this coming year.

As much as I'd love to come back fast and furious, I know that a slower comeback will be essential for making sure I start rebuilding strength from the ground up, without any holes. I jumped back in after having Aria way too fast, which left me with a lot of weaknesses and resulted in a pretty bad pelvic instability injury.
Armed with knowledge, experience and an awesome triathlon coach, I'm doing it right this time! Patience, patience, patience.

I'm just 5 weeks from my due date, and in anticipation of Zoe joining us, I've begun looking over my "last few weeks of pregnancy list".

1. Pack your hospital/birth center bag.

Sure 35 weeks may feel like bit early to pack your hospital back, but I assure you, it is not. Labor and birth are unpredictable as it is. Having your bag prepped and ready to go, can eliminate some of the anxiety of the unknown. Additionally, if you do go into labor earlier than expected, you don't want to be rushing around trying to pack, while you're body is trying to labor.

2. Familiarize yourself with the carseat and install it. 

You don't want to be trying to figure out how to adjust the straps or the size of the straps, the first time you buckle your very new baby in. If you familiarize yourself with it ahead of time, you can approach the situation with  much more confidence...which goes a long way when you are transporting a tiny, helpless human, for the first time.

3. Actually, while were on the topic...familiarize yourself with all of the baby gadgets.

It can be very helpful to just know how all of these contraptions work before using them for the first time on a live baby. I did not do this last time. The postpartum hormones, leaking breasts, silly exhaustion, combined with navigating a new baby's cries, all while trying to figure out the new bouncer or open the pack and play, is unnecessary stress for you.

4. Meal Prep.

Freeze as many meals as you can in those weeks leading up to your due date. This will be hugely helpful once baby arrives. The first few weeks are survival mode, just because of physical exhaustion, healing and caring for your sweet baby. Having good, hearty meals on hand will save you.

5. Make your labor plan.

Start thinking about a few different scenarios. Not to the level that you feel stressed about it. But, just incase you need to call in some back up.
If you go into labor midday, while your partner is at work, who will be available to be there with you? If you have a very fast labor and are home alone, who could be available to take you to your birth place on a moments notice? If you have other children, who could be available to care for your children if your partner is not home?

6. Buy some postpartum clothes.

There will be a period of time right after the baby is born where you won't be big enough for your maternity clothes, yet you won't be small enough for your pre pregnancy clothes. Buy a few things that are loose fitting and make you feel good.

My go to's are usually a few loose button up shirts (also make breastfeeding easier), leggings, and loose sweaters.

7. Prep pets.

Bringing a new baby into the home can be an adjustment for pets. Both of our dogs handled Aria's arrival very well. When we brought Aria home we took her hat and blanket for the dogs to sniff first.

But even before that, while I was still pregnant, I started walking around at times with a baby doll wrapped up, so the dogs would get used to seeing me holding the baby. Additionally, the baby sat on my lap while on the couch, and during other times the dogs would normally be in my lap. This got them used to the idea that they couldn't always be in my lap anymore. They would sit next to me and I would give them attention, while holding the pretend baby.

I also periodically played video's on YouTube of babies crying, and walked around with the baby and the video, so that they would have the opportunity to get familiar with the sound, before bringing in the actual baby.

8. Prep older children.

Use this opportunity to spend some extra time with your other children. During this extra time, talk to them about the baby and ask questions. See how they feel. Talk to them about some of the scenarios, easy and challenging, and talk to them about how they can be involved.

9. Clean all of the things you absolutely don't want to clean. 

You know that closet that you've been meaning to get to for months? Or the basement stairs that have needed sweeping and vacuuming for a while now? Or those cabinets that are full of odds and ends? Take care of them now. Once baby comes you will have even less time to do these things you already can't seem to find time for. If you don't do them, then will continue to loom over your head. If you do them now, you won't even have to think about them again! It's a nice relief.

10. Identify your support system.

Knowing what support you have can be very important for a new mom. What family support is nearby to help if you need an actual presence? What friend support is available if you need to call someone to ask a question to, or just to talk about your experience? Those new mommy hormones can be a beast, and having a friend you can call can be extremely helpful! What type of support is available if you need assistance with breastfeeding or with bottle feeding? Are there any positive mom groups on social media you could join?

11. Prep for feeding baby.

If you're breastfeeding, make yourself a couple of breastfeeding stations.
Breastfeeding stations can be just a small collection of things that you will find handy while you are feeding. You can make a few boxes of these items and store them in the nursery until baby arrives. Then you can stick one in each of the places you feed most often. Breastfeeding stations often consist of things like nipple cream, nipple pads, snack (Larbars are great), a water bottle, burp cloth, magazine or book, and tissues.

If you're bottle feeding, have your bottles prepped and ready to use.
Before baby comes, sterilize and wash all of your bottles and nipples. Store them in an easily accessible place. It can be helpful to set up a bottle making station right on your counter. There's a good chance that you'll be making a lot of bottles with one hand, and having everything out and readily available to you can really help.
Buy a couple back up bottle brushes. Familiarize yourself with your bottle warmer, if you are using one. You also may want to think about some feeding stations.

12. Think about baby's sleeping situation.

Where are you planning for baby to sleep when you bring him/her home? Do you have a couple of options available, just incase baby doesn't like the sleeping arrangement you're hoping for?
There's nothing like spending $300 on a bassinet to find that your sweet baby hates it and having to scramble at the last minute to find another option. :)

I hope you guys find these to be helpful. I'm starting right from the top, with my birth center bag this weekend!

What's on your list for the last few weeks of pregnancy?

What are your plans for coming back to exercise after baby?

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