Take Care of Yourself to Get Ready to Care for Your Baby

This week, you can

• Decide on specific and fun ways to nurture yourself before the baby arrives
• Consider which forms of self-care you wish to permanently incorporate into your life

YOU’RE ALMOST THERE! If you haven’t already had your baby, you’re now forty weeks pregnant and have either reached your estimated due date or are very close. Congratulations! Your baby will be here very soon.

Even though it can be frustrating to wait, a “late” baby presents an opportunity. Most likely you’re on maternity leave from work or have wound down your duties considerably in anticipation of your baby’s birth. Nobody is expecting much of you right now. Take advantage of this slow time of your life and savor it as much as possible. I know, that’s easier said than done at times. But think of it this way: No matter how uncomfortable you are right now, your baby will never be as easy to care for again. Right now, your body and your baby are doing all the work of getting her ready to be born.

In a few short weeks you’ll probably be tired and overwhelmed and may find yourself looking back on this time with a bit of wistfulness. Don’t wish these precious last few days of quiet anticipation away! Instead, look at them as an opportunity to take care of yourself really well so that when the moment of motherhood arrives, you’ll be as refreshed and ready as possible.

Now is a great time to:

• Get a massage. Opt for a therapist experienced in pregnancy massage. He or she will know how to comfortably work on your pregnant body. Also, there are certain pressure points that have been shown to stimulate labor—a therapist who specializes in prenatal massage will be aware of these points and stay away from them until your baby is full term.

• Get a pedicure and manicure.

• Read. You may find that your brain is too foggy or full of baby thoughts for War and Peace. That’s okay. Essay and short-story anthologies are great for right now since you can read in short bursts. Or, if you’re drawn to fashion or home-decorating magazines, that’s a great pastime, too.

• Go to the movies.

• Go see a play.

• Go for a slow, gentle walk around the neighborhood or through the woods. Take time to really experience the season—remember, you’ll probably be spending a lot of time indoors in the very near future. Will you miss smelling the lilacs or watching the leaves turn color this year because you’ll be so busy sniffing your baby’s scent and staring at his fingers and toes? Get your fill of nature now.

• Go out with your spouse.

• Spend some time with your baby journal. Whether you’re feeling excited, anxious, impatient, or all of the above, getting it out on paper may help you work through feelings that are subconsciously holding you back from going into active labor.

• Get your hair cut and/or colored. Highlights are generally considered safe for pregnant women since the dye doesn’t sit on the scalp and so can’t be absorbed through the skin. Semipermanent vegetable-based dyes are also considered safe. Talk to your stylist about a cut that will grow out well and can be worn in a variety of styles that will fit your new life. Trust me, it may be a while before you can dedicate forty-five minutes a day to blow-drying your hair again.

• Partake in some gentle prenatal yoga. If you don’t feel like going out, try a DVD. I recommend Jennifer Wolfe’s Prenatal Vinyasa Yoga Short Forms.
• Meditate. By now, sitting in tailor pose may be quite uncomfortable. Try sitting on a pillow so that your hips are slightly higher than your knees. You can also use yoga blocks to prop up your knees on either side so you don’t get too intense a stretch.

When people are tired, rushed, and working at home, it’s easy to forget you haven’t brushed your teeth, and flossing becomes nothing more than a good intention. Stop the madness! Plaque has been linked to heart disease and stroke. Brush those pearly whites and floss in the morning when you wake up and at night before you go to bed. After each meal is the ideal and that’s a lovely habit to create right now. And while toothpaste actually isn’t necessary—it’s the brushing that matters when it comes to oral hygiene—the best substance to use is baking soda with peroxide. It alkalizes the system as well, which some doctors consider to be an anticancer precaution. It’s the perfect time to take care of that beautiful smile!


You’ve seen her. I know you have. She’s been on Oprah, all the morning shows, and most afternoon talk shows, both local and national. She’s got long, straggly hair and she hasn’t been out of sweats in years. Her shoes are all utilitarian. She doesn’t remember the last time she wore makeup or jewelry. And don’t ask about what she wears to bed. She carries one large black purse all year long, which weighs a ton, and her shoulders slope under the weight. Speaking of weight, she’s packing an extra forty pounds and has the blood pressure to prove it. Who is she? She’s a mom. And I don’t want you to be like her!

Something happens to certain women after the birth of a baby that is downright scary. These women believe that all of their energies are to be poured into their children. Oprah calls them ‘schlumpadinka’ moms. They’ve gotten the idea somehow that the more they sacrifice, the better off everyone in their family will be. The little things that once made these women feel feminine or even like a real human being now somehow feel frivolous and even selfish. Go for a jog or buy new underwear? Why, schlumpadinkas have baby bonding and college savings to put first!

I can empathize with these moms. Of course, parenthood equals sacrifice . . . a lot of it. But these women aren’t doing their children any favors by sacrificing everything that makes them happy and whole for the pursuit of parenting perfection. It’s great to add motherhood to your life. It’s not so great to jettison everything that has come before now because . . . you are a mother.

On television, the host of the show gifts our schlumpadinka with a head-to-toe makeover. Her husband salivates in the first row of the audience. Her kids can’t believe this is their mom. And the makeover artists all take a bow.

It’s a fairytale ending, but I’ve got a better idea. How about remembering to nurture yourself? Of course, we all have our good days and bad. Just remember there are positive things you can do from the start to keep you as close to your personal best as possible. It’s the little things really that add up: the regular haircut, a touch of lipstick or gloss on your lips each morning, and wearing something nice to bed instead of that old, torn T-shirt.

So far this week we’ve focused on ways to care for yourself while waiting for your baby to arrive. But what about when she’s here? One day—far in the future, but one day—she’s destined to leave home. In order to avoid the empty-nest syndrome, keep your nest filled with your true self. In addition to the restful activities you’re enjoying right now while waiting for your baby, here are some small, simple things you can try to incorporate into your life both now and when she’s here:

• Put on your favorite lipstick.
• Wear your favorite fragrance.
• Moisturize your face and hands.
• Exercise.
• Babies love shiny objects, so while you tuck your earrings and necklaces away, wear an ankle bracelet!
• Shave your legs and underarms.
• Do yoga and meditate.
• Sleep in something feminine.
• Join a book club.
• Make time for your hobbies.
• Tour art studios. You can continue to do this with your baby in a carrier!
• Get some sensible yet attractive shoes.
• Buy a new music CD.
• Pick up a bouquet of fresh flowers each week at the supermarket.
• Order a DVD of that movie you missed in the theaters but really wanted to see. Better yet, join a program like Netflix and have a monthly movie night with your sweetie.
• Take a class in something you love that’s not taxing and comes without homework. For instance: flower arranging, writing poetry, or a cooking demo.
• Change your clothes every day and don’t sleep in your sweats.

What would you add to this list? Some of these items may be things you do already do regularly, while others may represent adventures for the future. I’m not suggesting that you embrace everything on this list or that you do them all before your due date. Of course there will come a time when running out for a massage, heading to yoga class, or even watching a movie all the way through becomes much more logistically difficult than it is right now. Plan for that eventuality. If massage makes you feel like a whole new woman, figure out a way to work it—and, if needed, the cost of child care—into your budget. Think about your hair. Will you have two inches of dark roots by the time Baby is two months old? Maybe now is the time to get an appointment on the books. Soon enough you might be feeling a little stir-crazy from caring for the baby all day, and your appointment will give you something to look forward to.

Build routines into your week or month that will be easy to keep after Baby comes. For instance, if you love to read, make a certain day of the week your library or bookstore day. Mark it on your calendar so you don’t forget. Once your baby is here, you can bring her along. Making it part of your regular routine now will help you keep from letting an important part of your life go by accident.

Your baby is almost here, and she needs you to be the happiest, most whole mother you can be. You are facing down an enormously life-changing event, and nothing will ever be the same again. Take care of yourself . . . now, and in the future. Your baby is counting on it!
Top search
- 6 Ways To Have a Natural Miscarriage
- Foods That Cause Miscarriage
- Losing Weight In A Week With Honey
- Can You Eat Crab Meat During Pregnancy?
- Grape Is Pregnant Women’s Friend
- 4 Kinds Of Fruit That Can Increase Risk Of Miscarriage
- Some Drinks Pregnant Women Should Say No With
- Signs Proving You Have Boy Pregnancy
- Why Do Pregnant Women Have Stomachache When Eating?
- Top Foods That Pregnant Women Should Be Careful Of
- 6 Kinds Of Vegetable That Increase Risk Of Miscarriage
- Your Pregnancy After 35 : More Than One Baby (part 3) - Twin-to-Twin Transfusion Syndrome
- Your Pregnancy After 35 : More Than One Baby (part 2) - Increased Risks Associated with a Multiple Pregnancy
- Your Pregnancy After 35 : More Than One Baby (part 1) - How a Multiple Pregnancy Occurs
- What to Eat When You're Pregnant and Vegetarian : Planning a healthy diet (part 3) - Planning meals
- What to Eat When You're Pregnant and Vegetarian : Planning a healthy diet (part 2) - Protein foods,High-fat or high-sugar foods
- What to Eat When You're Pregnant and Vegetarian : Planning a healthy diet (part 1) - The five food groups - Fruit and vegetables, Starchy foods
- Your Pregnancy After 35 : Tests for You and Your Baby (part 10) - Tests for the Woman Expecting Multiples
- Your Pregnancy After 35 : Tests for You and Your Baby (part 9) - Pap Smear
- Your Pregnancy After 35 : Tests for You and Your Baby (part 8) - Cystic Fibrosis Screening Tests, Jewish Genetic Disorders
- Your Pregnancy After 35 : Tests for You and Your Baby (part 7) - Tests for Blood-Sugar Levels, Nuchal Translucency Screening , Fetal MRI , Instant Risk Assessment
Top keywords
Miscarriage Pregnant Pregnancy Pregnancy day by day Pregnancy week by week Losing Weight Stress Placenta Makeup Collection
Top 5
- 5 Ways to Support Your Baby Development
- 5 Tips for Safe Exercise During Pregnancy
- Four Natural Ways Alternative Medicine Can Help You Get Pregnant (part 2)
- Four Natural Ways Alternative Medicine Can Help You Get Pregnant (part 1)
- Is Your Mental Health Causing You to Gain Weight (part 2) - Bipolar Disorder Associated with Weight Gain