October 14, 2019
For Starters, Stop Saying Due Date
By: Cara Terreri, LCCE, CD(DONA) | 0 Comments
As the saying goes, if I had a dollar for every pregnant person who says, "I just have this funny feeling that I'll go into labor before my due date," and then goes on to have a a baby after their due date, I would be rich!
Most of the time, you should listen to your gut. It's there for a reason, which is to warn us of something that isn't safe or help us act on things that need attention. But when it comes to the end of pregnancy -- a time clouded by exhaustion and discomfort -- and wondering when you'll go into labor, it's easy to confuse your gut instinct with a severe case of wishful thinking. Added to this is a medical and consumer culture that centers around the question, "What's your due date?" and you have the perfect recipe for a whole lot of anxiety, impatience, and heartache around the time of your due date. What if, instead, you could prepare for the end of pregnancy with realistic expectations? We offer five strategies to help make you feel less stressed about your due date.
5 Ways You Can Stress Less About Your Due Date
Think late, not early. When I was pregnant with my first child, a nurse in my care provider's office said these exact words to me. At the time, I was annoyed that she thought she knew better than me. Looking back, her advice was sage. As it turned out, I was "late" -- ie, I gave birth after my due date. Technically, "late" is when you go into labor after 42 weeks. Even if I had gone into labor before my due date, if I had allowed myself to believe I would go late, it might have made the last few weeks and days less stressful. Mentally, you'll do yourself a favor if you assume that your due date is two weeks out from your given due date ("due + two"). Assume you will be pregnant until 42 weeks.
Answer questions carefully. When people ask, "When are you due?" answer: "Sometime in [due month]." When people ask, "How much longer do you have?" answer with the number of weeks/months until you are 42 weeks pregnant. The less you fixate on a due date that puts you at 40 weeks, the more you start to believe you could be pregnant beyond that date.
Fixate on "dates" instead of a date. In your last month of pregnancy (remember, that month includes the two weeks after your 40 weeks due date), build in lots of time for rest and relaxation surrounded by fun and exciting dates and plans. The more you focus on things that don't include giving birth (lunch with a friend, a pedicure, a movie night, a walk in the park solo or with your partner), the less time you have to obsess over when you'll go into labor.
Use an end-of-pregnancy mantra. Mantras -- spoken out loud to yourself -- are used to bring a sense of calm, confidence, and reassurance. Create your own mantra for the end of pregnancy to help you get through trying moments. Or consider using one of the following:
- This is only temporary.
- I will not be pregnant forever.
- By this time next month, I will be holding my baby.
- My baby knows when to be born.
- My baby needs this time to grow and develop.
- This too shall pass.
Surround yourself with positivity. Seek all things supportive throughout your pregnancy, and especially during the last phase. Read positive birth stories, surround yourself with friends and family who lift your spirits and who really listen to you, and/or join a pregnancy support group. When you're surrounded by positive people and influences, you will feel more support, love, and compassion during a time when you really need it.
TagsBirth Pregnancy Due Date Due Month Pregnancy Affirmations Pregnancy Mantras