If you’re feeling kind of down about missing your due date, relax – only 5% of babies actually show up on their predicted birthday. Chances are I’m not actually overdue – it’s far more likely that your due date was inaccurate. Even though I’m getting pretty cramped in your belly, I should still be moving and grooving a bit. Your doctor will likely keep close tabs on me with your help; including how often I’m moving, what my heartbeat is like, and whether anything feels particularly different. While you’re keeping a pulse on how I’m doing, my endocrine system is gearing up and producing a flood of stress hormones. Many doctors actually theorize that stress hormones are what triggers your body’s shift into labor, so rest assured, I’m doing my part to say goodbye to your womb.
So what’s going on with your body? You might be feeling alternate bursts of energy and fatigue. That get-up-and-go feeling comes from that still-going nesting instinct, while the exhaustion is a result of the fact you’re still carrying around a pretty hefty load. Because I’m so big, expect to make more frequent trips to the washroom than ever – so practice those Kegel exercises! And remember, keep an eye out for those telltale signs that labor is around the corner: extreme versions of menstrual cramps can signal contractions, spotting or vaginal discharge can be signs of a loosening mucus plug, and of course, your water breaking (whether a trickle or a gush) are all good reasons to pack up and hit the hospital.
Although I’m not overdue just yet, you’re probably eagerly awaiting my arrival. While there’s not a whole heck of a lot of concrete scientific proof for any of those ‘tricks’ to help induce labor, it’s possible one of these might be the trigger you’re looking for. If you’ve given up your pregnancy workout routine, try strapping on some sneakers and taking a walk around the neighborhood – the force of gravity and the wiggling of your hips can actually increase pressure on your cervix and help get the labor train going. The next idea is to have some fun in the bedroom. Semen contains prostaglandins, which can stimulate contractions. There are also plenty of theories that eating spicy food, pineapple, or eggplant are also labor inducers. While they may not work for you, it’s not the worst idea ever to scarf down a few more fruits and veggies before my birth, so give it a whirl. If something seems a little strange or risky, talk to your practitioner before trying it.
I know you’re feeling anxious mom, but try not to worry about me too much. Enjoy these final days on your own, and remember, “We should recognize that women become mothers the moment they are pregnant.” – Alveda King (Minister)