Pregnancy is a journey that comes with a whirlwind of emotions including happiness, anticipation, and excitement. It is also incredibly difficult, and we salute all the women who have gone through this experience. Finally the last weeks of these long and challenging, but happy, months have arrived for us mommies: the final week of pregnancy before the little one comes! These remaining few weeks during the last trimester of pregnancy are not only full of anticipation, joy, and excitement, they are also equally full of anxiety, worry, and maybe even fear. After all, the arrival of the baby is the most important part of this journey, and it would be terrible for things to go awry at such a crucial stage!
All mothers always have to be extra careful and extra diligent during these last few weeks in their pregnancy. It is not that a miscarriage is more likely to happen; in fact, most miscarriages happen in the first weeks of pregnancy, and largely due to reasons not attributable to the mother’s actions at all. But it certainly does not do any harm to avoid doing certain things in these last few weeks just to be extra sure that the baby’s arrival will go as smoothly as possible! Here are 15 things pregnant women should avoid doing in the last weeks of pregnancy.
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15 Sitting Or Standing Too Long
There’s nothing wrong with wanting to be an active pregnant woman. Remaining active can even make an easier labor! Moving around in the kitchen cooking, helping paint the nursery (though this could be questionable too, more on that later), or having a nice stroll in the park are all easy activities. Even taking any other children to the playground! There’s also nothing wrong with wanting to stay perfectly put, like sitting down in a rocking chair and having a nice cup of tea while reading.
However, sitting or standing for too long could be a little bit troubling, especially in the last trimester since this is the time where the baby (and your belly) will be the heaviest. Why one may ask? Well, it is because all that extra weight can cause problems like swollen ankles and problems with the veins. To try and avoid these issues it is best not to spend too long in any one position.
14 Throwing Back A Few
Maybe you have heard that the occasional glass of wine is no harm to the growing baby, especially in the first trimester. And studies do show that drinking a little wine while in the early days of pregnancy may not be so bad after all. For example the Harvard Health Blog says that “no more than one drink per day” is alright. But now, we are talking about the last weeks of pregnancy, where the baby is developing even further.
We also do not know the full risks of drinking for different mothers, so it may be best to just avoid any alcohol at all costs during the last few weeks of pregnancy. After all, alcohol “passes quickly from the bloodstream to the placenta and umbilical cord to the baby,” as stated by Healthline. Alcohol is such an easy thing to avoid, so why take the risk? Potential risks to the baby can include the following: brain damage, premature birth, and other birth defects.
13 Eating Raw Foods
This is sage advice for any stage of pregnancy, whether the first, second, or third trimester. Heck, from the time a woman announces that she’s expecting people will go out of their way to tell her what she shouldn’t be eating. One of these big pregnancy no-no’s is raw food. Foods such as shellfish, raw fish, raw eggs, and raw meat have to be said goodbye to (for now). So no sashimi or sushi (gasp!), no oysters, not even undercooked beef, or homemade mayonnaise and hollandaise sauces.
The foodie in you may cry, but these restrictions are only temporary. But the baby in you will rejoice and be thankful for these restrictions because raw foods carry the risk of several food borne illnesses that can be more severe during pregnancy. So make sure to avoid raw foods! But you will still need a lot of nutrients, so fill up on all of the safe veggies and fruits and proteins.
12 Foregoing Making “Freezer Meals”
Now, this is something you are going to be mad at yourself for forgetting to do in those last weeks, especially in the week you are due to give birth. One of the last things moms want to do after bringing a new life into the world is to cook for their family. They would rather be resting! In many families mom’s partner will be able to take over the cooking responsibilities, but why not make it easier on everyone and put a few meals in the freezer during the weeks leading up to delivery.
Why you may ask? Well frankly, mommy won’t have the time or energy to cook meals right after she gets discharged from the hospital, and making a salad isn’t always an appealing option. So prepare several meals ahead of time. Put a couple in the fridge for the first day home, and put a few more away in the freezer. That way dinner can be taken out of the freezer, heated up, and eaten with absolute satisfaction and zero effort.
11 Smoking Or Breathing In Secondhand Smoke
It is universally acknowledged that smoking is truly bad for our health, pregnant or not. It causes lung damage, ensures difficulty breathing, leads to a build-up of tar inside our system. And of course, the nicotine is bad for our health overall. The risks will be magnified when pregnant, of course since smoking will not only affect mom, it will affect the poor little baby too!
Okay, so we all know smoking is bad, but secondhand smoke is actually worse! According to the American Cancer Society, secondhand smoke is composed of two things: the smoke that comes from the smoker and the smoke from the burning end of the cigarette. So really, it’s just as (if not more) harmful. Risks include low birth weight, learning issues for the growing baby, and possibly even sudden infant death syndrome. So remember mothers to be: drop that cig, or tell others to kindly smoke somewhere else!
10 Painting The Nursery
With a new baby on the way many people turn their attention to the fun prospect of decorating the new nursery. It may be tempting to go all Meryl Streep and sing and dance while painting the child’s nursery while wearing cute denim jumpers, there may be risks associated with painting while pregnant. Though no one wants to stop moms from channeling their inner Donna, it is best to educate ourselves on the potential risks. So before putting on those gloves and buying the paint, brushes, and rollers, think about the dangers of exposure to toxic paint.
While generations of women have painted the nursery without incident it may be best to leave the painting on the walls and the crib to the hubby, or even to willing friends or siblings. This is because the solvents in the paint can be harmful and toxic to you and your baby. Though the actual toxicity cannot be acutely measured, and one can only measure the likelihood of such toxicity, it’s still best to stay away from the household paint. If it really can’t be helped, natural and organic paints are recommended. Happy painting!
9 Forgetting To Prepare The Baby’s Place
Now you might be wondering, didn’t we just say do not paint the nursery? Well, yes, but there’s also nothing stopping you from splurging on other items for the baby! So leave the building and the painting of the nursery to the husband, but don’t miss out on picking out the right colored crib, the blankets, the plushies, the pillows, and the toys. It’s time to go shopping!
The last few weeks of pregnancy are not only exciting, they can get hectic and anxiety-inducing as well since all many moms will be thinking about are the contractions and the arrival of the baby. The baby’s room, which we may have been putting off in the first and second trimester, might get forgotten completely. So here we are reminding you: go pick out that crib! Or you prefer a bassinet? Go get one of those too!
8 Forgetting The Health Insurance
Giving birth is not only physically, emotionally, and even mentally strenuous, it is also a financially challenging experience as well. Unless you are planning to have a home birth, going to the hospital entails a lot of expenses, from the doctor’s fees to the fees of staying inside the hospital unit. So what better way to prepare and ensure a smooth, worry-free pregnancy than to make sure the health insurance is squared away!That’s right: in the last few weeks of pregnancy, don’t forget to get as much of the financial stuff in order as possible.
There are many insurance plans for delivery and also prenatal care. Many websites can help you find what you are looking for. And do not forget to check on the health plans offered by your company as well! It is important to know what your insurance will cover and how much you’ll be asked to pay out-of-pocket.
7 Neglecting To Learn How To Feed The Baby
Though breastfeeding is instinctual, not all moms will get the hang of it right away. And that’s okay! For some, it will difficult and painful, and some will experience breast refusal, where, for some reason, the baby just will not nurse and will refuse to suck at the breast even if that’s technically the only source of food it has. This is especially distressing because exclusive breastfeeding is recommended for up to 6 months.
Thankfully, there are a lot of parenting books and mommy blogs, so you can spend a lot of time learning about different feeding techniques in the weeks before delivery. Try to avoid putting this off until after delivery, because many moms will just be too worn out and frankly busy with their new roles. There are options like using a breast pump (learn how to clean it) and formula (learn which brands will be best). Some hospitals will also have lactation consultants on hand for new moms who need extra guidance.
6 Forgetting To Talk To The Partner About Parenting
For some people, parenting may seem instinctual. Others may see it as a completely foreign concept. Maybe you were brought up in an entirely different manner from your partner, and you each have distinct ideas for how to raise children properly. Once the baby arrives these differences can easily explode due to the combination of stress and sleep-deprivation that comes with keeping a new human alive.
So what should expecting couples do? Talk it out! Write things down! Ask their parents or neighbors who’ve had babies what they did for their babies, or how to get out of tight spots, or what things to avoid. Things will be easier to handle if the way baby is going to be brought up is harmonious because mommy and daddy talked things out and prioritized which values, practices, and activities are to be upheld in the household.
5 Neglecting To Pick A Pediatrician
A lot of things that seem to just be “there” in adult life actually take a lot of preparation and planning. Actually, the reason why some things come so easily to some mothers is because they planned and prepared for them! One of these things is picking a pediatrician for your little one. It might seem tedious and unnecessary now, but it really is essential to prepare for it in the last few weeks. This is not something to leave until the baby is running a fever.
The key is to avoid the rushing and the panicking. In the weeks before the baby arrives, ask family and close friends which pediatrician they have and which they recommend. Word of mouth is usually the best way to go. But looking up websites that rate doctors could also be helpful in pruning out which doctors you wouldn’t want to see. And do not forget to make sure the pediatrician is covered by insurance!
4 Forgetting To Put Important Contacts On The Phone
We all know that the due date of the baby is merely an estimation. No one really knows which night the water will break and gush forth into the whole delivery frenzy. When this time comes, the pregnant woman will think of nothing but how painful their contractions are, and how much “water” is seeping down their legs, and the work that lies ahead. This is why it is so important to get as much done as possible in preparation for the big day.
Leave it to hubby to get everything going along, but only if he doesn’t fiddle around in a panic not knowing which phone number his mother-in-law is currently using. Mom and dad may have a list of people they want to contact as labor gets underway, so program those numbers all in one or two phones and preferably put them on speed dial before the baby begins to arrive. If for some reason the partner isn’t home on that fateful labor day, don’t forget to have his number on the ready too! Even if mom changes her mind about calling anyone, it’s better to be prepared ahead of time.
3 Missing Out On Classes
And we are not talking about university classes! We mean baby classes! There are a lot of classes to choose from when preparing to welcome a new child into the family. Some may seem silly, but others are certainly not to be missed. So take a look at what is offered at the local hospital or birthing center and get signed up!
Things like baby care, breastfeeding, infant CPR and the like are all essential topics to get a grip on before the baby actually comes. Again, no to procrastination and yes to being prepared! This is a tiny human life that is about to change your life forever. There’s also childbirth classes which are helpful in preparing mommy and daddy for the labor and delivery experience. Ask your healthcare provider or “childbirth education teacher” for a list of the different classes available.
2 Forgetting To Create A Birth Plan
The last few weeks of pregnancy and especially when labor starts will be a confusing flurry of emotions, noises, and pain. So creating a birth plan can help prepare the mom to-be when it comes to the eventful day. Mom should think about whether or not she wants a hospital birth or a home birth. Talk to the doctor about whether or not a C-section is needed. Look up pain medication options and ways to cope with the labor and after-birth pains.
Moms should also think about who they want to be there in the hospital during delivery and have their contact information on hand. Get a hospital bad together ahead of time (clothes, toiletries, etc), and even do a test run to the hospital just so you know where the maternity ward is and where things are. Some hospitals even allow moms to fill out all their admission paperwork ahead of time without the distraction of contractions.
1 Forgetting To Relax!
Though the last few weeks may become hectic, anxious, and downright frenetic, forgetting to relax and cope with the “late-pregnancy jitters” may just add to the stress mothers are already feeling. There are a lot of things to stress over during the last few weeks. This is why it is so important to get as many things done ahead of time as possible. If mom has less to worry about as the big day approaches, she may have an easier time relaxing. And as all new moms grow tired of hearing, stress is bad for the baby.
So while the unknown will make mom nervous, learning about relaxation techniques, planning the labor as much as possible, and calling for support from friends, family, doctors can help reduce those jitters and anxieties. There’s nothing better than planning and mentally preparing oneself for the unknown to help reduce anxiety! So pop a strawberry in your mouth, sit back, relax, and read a childbirth book. Everything is going to turn out just fine for mommy and baby.
Sources: Harvard, Cancer, BabyCenter, MomTricks, MomJunction