Staying Comfortable in the Final Weeks of Pregnancy

The countdown is on!  As of Friday I’ll be 38 weeks, and yes, I’m getting the comments.  “Anything yet?  Bet you’re ready!  How are you dealing with the heat?”  blah, blah, blah

My usual response is that babies are a lot easier to care for inside than out, and I’m perfectly content.  Babies come when they come!  (Says the lady who’s never made it to 40 weeks… talk to me after August 17 and I may have a different attitude.  ;)  )

That whole content thing?  I really am!  Yes, of course I’ve got a few uncomfortable things going on, and there are times during the day when I feel like I’m going to split in two (my discomfort is always in the pelvis/groin/hip region) but good grief, there are worse things!  I’m also a firm believer that I’m in control of much of the way I feel.  Out with the whining, in with the comfort measures.  Here’s what works for me.

Keep Moving

That whole pelvis/groin/hip thing I’ve got going on?  It gets worse if I get lazy.  It’s a good thing no one has the video camera trained on me when I get out of bed in the morning, because I’m sure those first few steps are rather entertaining.  My solution?  Walk it out.  With the insane 105-110 temps that we’ve had, I’ve been walking outside just as soon as I can kick myself out of bed in the morning.  I also walk/jog/dance and generally make a fool of myself at the swimming pool in the evenings.

Speaking of the swimming pool:  bliss.  The whole anti-gravity thing with the water lifting the baby off of my pelvis equals immediate relief.  I highly recommend making the effort to dance in some water!

Inside, I try to avoid my favorite recliner (which I’m sitting in now, typing away… oops!) in favor of sitting on a hard chair, the floor, or my birthing/exercise ball.  The ball is great because I can sit but still be on the move, rolling around and keeping things loose.  Also, there’s plenty to do around the house, and I still do it.  Last week I hands and knees mopped our wood floors.  On tomorrow’s list?  Washing windows.  I figure picking things up off the floor, while not the most comfortable thing in the world, is simply another opportunity to practice my squatting and stretching.  Just keep moving…

Make Time to Rest

Didn’t I just say to keep moving?!  Um, yes, but resting and being lazy are two different things.  Fortunately for me, our little dude almost always takes a 2-3 hour nap in the afternoon, and the other kids are well-trained for quiet time during those hours.  I’ve totally taken advantage of that time to sleep (hard!) many days each week.  I’m the lady who’s up 3-4 times a night waddling to the bathroom, and I also wake up every.single.time I roll over (blasted hips again) so really, a good night’s sleep doesn’t exist.  The afternoon siesta keeps me sane… and less grumpy.

Tennis Balls

Yes, really.  If you are pregnant and you haven’t tried this yet, you can thank me later.  My all-time favorite comfort measure, learned in our Bradley Method classes, is to have my husband roll tennis balls over my lower back, hips, and rear end.  I like to lay my upper half over our gliding ottoman (which feels fabulous in and of itself, it’s a great position for the baby to hang) and then he rolls the tennis balls.  The more pressure the better.  Lower back pain?  Sciatic nerve pain?  Gone.

This whole tennis ball thing works lovely during labor, too!

Eat and Drink Well

Drink a lot of water.  Simple enough!  Our bodies function better when well lubed from the inside, and the best way to keep things fluid is to drink.  Yes, that means 1,000 trips to the bathroom during the day, but I’d rather that than be miserable on the couch because I’m dehydrated, achy, crampy and having unnecessary contractions.

This baby likes fried dough, I kid you not.  I’ve eaten my share of doughnuts (and some!) but I’ve also tried to keep up my protein, fruits and veggies.  Starting the day with eggs and milk gives me energy to get through till nap time, and eating smaller meals and snacks (not all chocolate!) keeps me from feeling sluggish or having digestion issues.

Attitude is Everything

Maybe it’s because of the trouble we had getting here in the first place, and I’m just grateful to be where we’re at.  Maybe it’s good genes.  Maybe I really, truly am simply blessed with easy pregnancies (which I totally deserve after 3 of the nasty labors I’ve had!) but whatever the case, remaining positive mentally does a lot for me physically.  The flip side is true, too.

Take good care of yourself, mama!  You won’t be pregnant forever, I promise.  There are many women (think premature babies, early term still-born, miscarriages) who would give anything to be waddling in your too-tight shoes, not able to see their swollen ankles right now.  Blessings abound.  Enjoy!

What do you do to keep comfortable in the last few weeks of pregnancy?

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Comments

  1. Amy–I totally agree on all points! I also found that sleeping with a pillow–either a special one or just a regular one that fits your body–really helped with supporting the belly while sleeping on your side like you’re supposed to. I hope that these last few days are as comfortable as possible.

    • Yes on the pillow! I actually never needed one for my belly this time, but I’ve slept with an extra pillow between my knees ever since my very first pregnancy. I almost CAN’T sleep without that pillow!

  2. I’m right there with you sister…and every time you waddle to the bathroom, I’m likely waddling too. :-)
    Unlike you, I want to be LATE….a week or two late would be good with me. My sister gets married 4 days before my due date. :-/

  3. All excellent advice! I have been seeing a chiro during this pregnancy and between that and my morning stroll, i’ve noticed my pelvic pain isn’t so bad. I still have 10 weeks to go, though…

  4. Oh, Amy, you’re so right. I’m just about 30 weeks right now, and starting to let the bad attitude sink in. I feel like my 2nd trimester energy boost was ages ago, and I was recently diagnosed with gestational diabetes, which is a big bummer. This pregnancy has been my best yet, but now poking myself 4 times a day and restricting the donuts (which has been a huge craving of mine this pregnancy too!), has put me in a bad mood. I’ve still got 10 weeks to go though, and two toddlers who need me to be in a better mood. Thanks for the uplifting post! Prayers for a smooth labor!!

  5. Okay first off, Loves but you make me sick, you look way too good to be that prego…You make pregnant look fun….which is what it was with my first 2, third – well I just LOVED swelling up like a whale..NOT!!!!

    Can’t wait to see #5!!!! WOW 5, did I mention your crazy??? LOVES & HUGS!!!

  6. Praying for an “easy” last few days for you!

    (P.S. I’m one of those wishing I were right there with you. We were due with #5 on August 17. I so wish I were getting ready to meet him instead of still trying to say goodbye.)

  7. I’m totally going to make my husband do the tennis ball method on my back! Not pregnant, but my lower back is usually shot.

  8. I only made it to 37 weeks, but yoga/stretching and the chiropractor kept my hips and back from being totally unbearable. I think being only 5 feet tall made pregnancy extra tough (at least that is what I tell myself :)).

    You are almost there!!

  9. What a great post — thanks!

  10. I’ll be 13 weeks tomorrow, but the groin pain is already waking me up at night and occasionally taking my breath away in the day. I’m really hoping this is as bad as that groin ache gets!
    The tennis ball tip is really great. I should’ve been doing this even when not pregnant!

  11. You should host another labor day birth story link up this year! I haven’t shared my birth story for Noah yet, but I’m planning on posting it that day. What do you think? :)

  12. At 38 weeks, I only have 6 weeks to go!

    So I’ve quit telling anyone that I’m 38 weeks, and I just figure 4 extra weeks, and tell them the MONTH that I’m due. It stops most of the annoying questions and people freaking out that I have 10 month pregnancies. I still end up explaining myself anyway to the rather insistenat ones who DEMAND to know a due date (what’s a due date, anyway? The baby gets here when it gets here, which for me is between 42 and 44 weeks). Babies come when they’re ready!

    I hope you have a wonderful birth!

  13. Attitude does make a difference and yours is great! I hope the next week or two go quickly and that your labor and delivery are perfect.

  14. Hugs to you and your belly my friend! You are so right, attitude is truly everything! I hope your labor behaves this time! Love ya!

  15. Jessica H says:

    Thanks! I’m almost 35 weeks. I am definitely trying the tennis balls. I think you are right in that attitude is everything. I had a scare early in the pregnancy that turned out to be just fine so now no matter how uncomfortable I get, I’m just happy to be carrying a healthy baby!

  16. Thank you SO much for adding the end about women who’d love to be that pregnant. Our first son was born 6 weeks early after 3 weeks in the hospital for me on bedrest just trying to not bleed one of us to death. He spent 17 days in the NICU before coming home.
    We had 2 miscarriages after his birth, one with twins.
    Now? We have a beautiful almost 3 month old baby girl who was born at 39 1/2 weeks after HUGE prayers for healing of my uterus and a healthy pregnancy. It’s a long story but she should never have made it full-term thanks to my odd shaped uterus and other things. But God is bigger.
    So yes, those last few weeks were uncomfortable, but a miracle!
    I well know the difference 5 little weeks can make in a baby’s development. So PLEASE, be miserable, even complain a little if it helps, but never WISH your baby to come before 36 weeks unless that’s the only way they’ll live. Those weeks of misery are MUCH better than visiting your baby in the NICU and crying as you pump alone at night. I promise.

  17. What a lovely post!

    My daughter and I are reading it together, she is at exactly the same place in her pregnancy and we found your blog while doing reading about the Bradley method! She has been preparing to use Bradley’s method for her birth, and she asked me to coach so her husband would be free of stress.

    Daughter is due August 17th, and coincidentally with one of the commenters, we have a second daughter getting married on the 12th! We are hoping this baby stays in until at least the 13th.

  18. What great tips! Movement and attitude were key for me, too. When I was put on bed rest at the end of my pregnancy because of blood pressure problems, it drove me NUTS–not just because I was in nesting mode and had a bunch of projects to do, but because lying on my side all day was SO uncomfortable.

    And I was like you: had trouble getting pregnant, all the while surrounded by women who got pregnant as easily as they blinked and then spent the whole nine months whining about how they hated it (yes, they actually used the word “hate”). I was so grateful to finally have a baby growing inside me, especially once I got past the highest miscarriage risk, that I was DETERMINED to have a positive attitude. Not an easy feat, since I’m a naturally negative person, but God helped me, and it definitely made the physical discomforts (and, later, the complications) much more bearable.

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