Pregnancy Week 40: What to Do While You Wait

The countdown is on but what am I supposed to do when I’m creeping up on the due date (or past it) and I have no more work, I can’t leave for the weekend, and I’m marginally or extremely uncomfortable in my huge pregnant body? Here are some ideas!

Coloring Books

They’re all the rage right now and can definitely eat up a considerable amount of time depending on how meticulous you are with the result. They’re also great for redirecting your attention if you’re feeling anxious, impatient, uncomfortable, or worried about the many upcoming changes. It’s also incredibly inexpensive and simple to use. Just open to a favorite page and color!

Meal Prepping

Meal Prep

The day I went into labor, I was actually prepping meals for a client. In short order these meals became our meals for the next week. I whipped up some tuna salad with heirloom tomatoes, Italian roasted veggies with pesto shredded pork, a big batch of chicken soup, and chocolate chip cookies. ( This is also a good time to watch your favorite action movies full of yelling and explosions. Kiss that pastime goodbye once there’s a sleeping newborn in the house.)

Yard Work

Not gonna lie, I was raking leaves the day before labor started. I mean, why not? It’s low impact, something to pass the time, and makes my yard look nice before I neglect it for three months straight. Many people may say that doing work outdoors or indoors is frowned upon for a woman so far along in her pregnancy, but the thought of ‘taking it easy’ seemed a little incongruent with the physical challenge I was about to undertake. Is labor “easy”?  No. It was two days of really hard work. It required strength and endurance, both of which you can’t maintain if you spend your pregnancy sitting around watching The Kardashian’s and eating cheese and crackers. This excludes the fact that some mothers may be told by their physician  to remain sedentary during pregnancy for medically important reasons. I would argue that because I felt good and able and did not have any such warnings, I chose to continue to be active and support my healthy mind and body in preparation for labor and delivery.

House Work

Organize receipts, important documents, and pay bills. Wash all your bed sheets cause Lord knows whence you’ll feel inspired to do that again. Toss old food/condiments from your pantry and fridge. This will make room for any meals friends or family bring during postpartum or your own prepped meals.

Stock-up on Postpartum Supplies

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Everything from protein or energy bars for late night feeds to maxi pads, dermaplast, and tucks wipes for post-birth crotch “maintenance”. Other great things to have on hand:

  • Freeze some maxi pads sprayed with witch hazel and aloe vera for a cooling “down there” ice pack
  • Moisten nipple pads and freeze for some relief while your boobies are adjusting to the hungry jaws of a newborn.

Make Lactation Cookies

Cookie Batter

I have my own version in the works and will link it here once I’ve got a winner, but search online for a “paleo-ish” or “gluten-free” version. Many lactation recipes use oats which aren’t paleo but tolerated by many and if you’re needing to increase your milk supply, then it may be worth your while to step outside the no-grains, no sugar rules for a bit.

Get in your Car and Go Somewhere

San Clemente

Why? Because I haven’t in 11 days. I’ve been in the car twice to the pediatrician and once to a breastfeeding support group. I’ve gone for 2 or 3 short walks and I certainly haven’t stepped foot in a Mall or Target. The first few weeks are gnarly and I can say with full confidence that leaving the house will never again be as easy as it was when I was not a mom or pregnant. You have to have a contingency for any scenario, the clothing choice has to be nursing friendly, and the pelvic floor has to be functioning enough that you won’t pee yourself in the middle of the kombucha aisle. I really savored every moment I had pre-baby. I was never in a hurry for him to arrive because I knew that once he did, that simple part of my life would change. So enjoy the freedom and go to that juice bar downtown or browse Anthropologie’s sale rack, because you can.

Visit your Spouse at Work

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I was off work a couple of weeks before delivery and my husband couldn’t stop working until I actually went into labor. So I would hop in my car and drive up the coast to meet him for lunch and then go chill at the beach. The fleeting alone time was precious and he was also sharing in the “waiting game”, so why not wait together?

Say “Yes” to Invites

Whenever someone would invite me to a meeting, outing, party, or date, I said “yes”. The last couple weeks of pregnancy did get a little uncomfortable, but I was fully aware that my mobility and autonomy were about to be stripped from me for the foreseeable future. I wanted to take advantage of every opportunity to get out of the house and attend any function easily, no baby gear needed, and without the threat of a hungry milk monster wailing his eyes out at any second.

Lucky for me, I eventually went into labor a couple of days before Week 41, so I didn’t have to extend the wait into infinity (as most past due mamas describe it). My Week 41 post will be my birth story since he was born exactly at the start of the week!

Follow my postpartum journey, clean eats, and nutrition posts on Instagram @thecleanplatechef (there’s baby Atlas pics too!)

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