Transitioning from bump to baby
First, the last few weeks of pregnancy remain periods of preparation for the baby’s arrival. Most health experts and even your hospital staff would say have your bags ready from week 32, and I agree, as a few babies prefer an early arrival, so a packed bag gives one less thing to worry about. Usually, the hospital would give you a list, but from experience, that list is hardly comprehensive so in addition to that, speak to a few moms especially those within your neighbourhood, and if possible, who birthed babies before you in the same hospital for counsel on what to pack.
If you miss out on some vital things, you would have to pay double the cost or more to purchase it in the hospital, since with labour and delivery; time is always of the essence. With your bags packed, find out from your hospital if they provide an area where you can drop it off before hand so no matter where labour meets you, you don’t have to make the trip home to pick your bag, you can just re-route to the hospital. Just make sure it is safe, and also ensure you are not making many trips too far from home so your hospital bag is not stuck at hospital A while you are far away and have to end up in hospital B.
The final stretch also requires that you pay even more attention to your prenatal fitness. Research agrees that even if you start to workout in the third trimester, you still enjoy significant benefits in labour and delivery (of course not as significant as a previous exerciser). So instead of sitting it out, please commit to at least thirty minutes or more of consistently working out. Taking a walk counts a lot because it helps the pelvic muscles, which are heavily involved in labour and delivery to stay stronger and well lubricated for the job. However, don’t just stop at thirty minutes if you are able, hit the one-hour mark. Waddle if you have to but move.
Dancing is another good way to get a workout in right at home. You don’t even need to have a rhythm or grace, just move your body from side to side then up and down to work up a sweat. Turn on some music and dance for at least thirty to forty-five minutes, shower and then go to bed if you decide to do this at night. It would also help you sleep better. Working out also gives you more energy which you would need not just for birth but also for post-natal.
Something else to do as you prepare for that baby is to shop and meal prep for yourself. This is something that most moms tend to overlook, especially in Nigeria where the power situation is a factor. However, I have learned that sometimes, planning ahead makes the process easier. So, create or buy a nursing-friendly Nutrition plan from a professional, prepare in advance and stock up your freezer for at least 2 to 3 weeks, and if possible, a month, and then make plans to buy or have whatever extra thing you need to be delivered when needed. If you have a domestic help, plan with her too. It could be pointing out to her where and when to shop for whatever thing you need per day, and how to prepare it, whether from scratch or halfway. No domestic help? Then ask a neighbour or a friend to please help you shop for a couple of things on some specific days. People are happy to help a new mom so have a list ready for anyone coming over, and ask them to pick up a few things for you on their way.
If this is an option, also speak to your mom or mom-in-law coming for ‘Omugwo’ on how you would like your meals done. I had to do that with my mom as I didn’t want to gain ‘Omugwo weight’ which is usually the case for most Nigerian moms.
With these plans in place, though by no means exhaustive, chances are high that you would make the transition from bump to baby a little more gracefully.