You're 39 weeks pregnant, just seven days to go until your due date and, man are you bored! Unless you're one of those few women who are still desperately trying to clear a mountain of paperwork before baby arrives that is... If you've already been on maternity leave for a few weeks then the chances are that the nursery is ready, the moses basket is set up in the corner by your bed, the newborn clothes are washed and folded - and then unfolded, cooed over and refolded - the pram is in the hall, the infant car seat is in the car and a stack of nappies and wipes waits expectantly by the changing mat. All you need now is your baby.
Find out what's going to happen next week
What's happening to your baby inside your bump right now
Actually, that's not all you need now. What you really need, in whatever many days or weeks are left to you, is to try to fully charge up your batteries ready for the birth and for those challenging first days as a new mum. It's not surprising if you're having problems sleeping now - not only because of the discomforts of late pregnancy, but also probably due to you feeling a fair bit of excitement and apprehension too. If you are having disturbed and curtailed sleep then try to see this positively as your body preparing you for the erratic sleeping patterns of the months ahead: It's time to train your body to get sleep and rest whenever possible, rather than between your regular hours. While the temptation to get your house so spotless you could eat from the floors, windows and doors is completely normal and can be a useful distraction from any anxieties you have about labour, you do need to be careful not to let the nesting instinct take over completely. Balance your preparation for baby with indulging yourself in treats that will be out of reach once she is there and try and get to see all your close friends one last time as a non-mum.
By this stage many mums to be prefer not to go too far from home, just in case, and you may well have given up on driving, either because it's no longer comfortable to drive, or you no longer feel comfortable with the idea of driving. This is completely normal, and at this time you shouldn't think twice about sticking within your own comfort zones.
As your due date looms on the horizon it's easy to become fixed on it more as a 'due by' date. Try to put those thoughts out of your mind and accept the fact that it's far more likely that the day will come and go, turning out to be no bigger than any other day of the last few weeks. While it's most usual for babies to be born within a week either side of their due date, more babies are due after their due date than before, and this is particularly true for first babies: Keeping this in mind can help you avoid becoming too frustrated with the waiting.
If you've got time left over after doing the last bits of preparation for the birth, relaxing and pampering yourself (or running around after the rest of your family...) then take some time to think about how you're going to handle things after the birth itself. You can't know exactly what's going to happen, but you can give yourself a good idea of how you might feel, and the kind of challenges you may face, in the hours, days and weeks after birth, as well as how these first hours are for baby. If you've heard about the newborn APGAR test, but aren't sure what it is exactly, then read up on what the scores for your baby's appearance and activity all mean. Make sure too, that you and your partner have thought out how you're going to handle visitors in the days after birth, good teamwork here can make all the difference here.
It's important that your partner also understands that you'll need time for rest and relaxation after the birth, and is aware of what kinds of physical discomforts you can expect to have to cope with. Of course he should also have some basics of babycare under his belt too. If he hasn't shown much of an interest in finding things out for himself then print off some relevant TB articles and hand them to him to read before baby arrives and impress on him that this could be any time now. You've done pretty much all the work so far, now it's time for him to start rolling up his sleeves in preparation.
Things to do this week
- Catch up with your friends - Meeting a friend for coffee will soon never be the same again, so take the chance for a proper relaxed catch-up that doesn't involve catching spit-up mid-sentence.
- Cook double - If you haven't already got your freezer stocked with a few nutritious meals for the weeks after the birth then you don't have to make a frantic effort to do so now, just cook double of whatever you're making and save half for the freezer.
- Make a telephone number list - Have ready a list of people whom you want to contact right away after the birth to let them know. Bear in mind that your partner and yourself may have slightly different lists, so you'll need to be sure he has all the numbers you want if he's going to take charge of making the calls / sending the texts.
See here for more on how your baby will develop in week 40.