Due dates: Are they accurate? Do they help? What can we do while we're waiting?
Updated: Sep 8, 2022
Part of the fun of being pregnant, to many of us, is counting down to ‘The Day.’ We circle dates on calendars and plan accordingly. We prepare for time off from work based on that date (we’ll get into a whole other blog about working after pregnancy later), we plan for other important life events to take place around them (I’ve been a very-pregnant bride’s maid before), and we settle ourselves into this dream of this perfect day, happening in exactly 40 weeks from the first day of our last period. *major groan*
And then that date comes. And goes. And we are barraged with messages and phone calls from friends and families (we do realize it’s all well-intended) asking us if there’s any sign of baby yet. Usually, there’s not. And we're stuck going ANOTHER DAY pregnant, feeling no changes, and having to wait more.
Studies show us that about 4% of the time, babies actually show up on that due date. Which leaves us feeling a myriad of things, from being a complete failure (can’t even have a baby on the due date!) to emotionally over it entirely and disappointed that we can’t have our bodies back to ourselves (ha!) yet. There is something to be said about being able to see your nice pedicure!
There is a logical reason to have a set timeframe that our baby is due to arrive around. These dates allow us to have certain genetic testing done early (if that’s your thing) as well as define a ‘metric of care’ for the pregnant person. But many babies come anywhere between 37 weeks gestation and 42 weeks gestation, with the average happening at 41+3 days, so it’s good to see it more as a guess date than a due date.
So, instead of dwelling on that one, particular date, here’s a list of things you can think of doing while you wait for baby to come, that can help you really savor those last moments before they get here:
Eat. Soon, your mealtimes will be put on the back burner of importance and a little one’s schedule will become priority for a while. Enjoy eating with two hands while you can!
Savor those little things like bathing, going to the bathroom, and leaving home whenever you want to, at a moment’s notice.
Journal. Write down all those thoughts, fears, excitements, etc to look back upon later on. Some like to write little notes to baby every day as a pregnancy momento to them.
Plan for your birth. Create a space in your mind that you which to engulf yourself in during that journey (birth doulas help with this!) into parenthood and write it down. You should know what that space wants to look like, smell like, sound like, etc. Creating affirmations for yourself to see, that can hang in your space, is a wonderful tool to use during labor, too!
Get your hospital bag ready. It’s completely subjective on what you want to take with you, but there are some basics that are nice to have for everyone (our blog next week will cover this!)
Enjoy alone time with your partner. It doesn’t matter if it’s your first child or your fifth, this is a life-changing moment you’re both about to take on, and it’s never a bad idea to stop and appreciate what is there now, before taking that plunge that will significantly change you both.
Leave the home. If you can get out, do. The postpartum period should really be spent focusing on healing and bonding with your baby for 12 weeks, at home, in your safe space, your nest. It’s a time that is sacred and often rushed; don’t plan on rushing this part.
Nest and clean your home. It’s an innate instinct that we have to clean and put into order our home and our baby’s space before they come; take advantage of that extra energy. When help is offered, though, TAKE IT!
I could probably add another twenty things to this list but you get the gist. Labor and birth are an amazing thing to go through, and it’s so very important to prepare yourself before the arrival of your little one emotionally as well as physically. Slow down, breathe, and enjoy the moments as they are before they change forever.