9 Things To Do After You’re Due

If you’ve ever waited for your due date to come and then watched it go by with no sign of baby, you know how frustrating it can be. All the phone calls, e-mails, and text messages checking in with “any signs of baby?”, though well meaning, certainly don’t help. You may even start to think that you are never going to have this baby! Fear not. Here are some great ideas of things to do to help take your mind off your impending labor and delivery and help you to enjoy your last moments before meeting your little bundle.

1. Have a last date night….or two….or three.

Take the opportunity to nourish your relationship with your partner or girlfriends. You will have many long days and nights ahead of you with fewer opportunities to bond. Even if you decide to go out for “spicy food” to get the baby moving around, allow yourself to let your mind wander for a moment away from baby and to reflect on all the days/weeks/years that got you to this point. You’ll make a wonderful memory with your partner or girlfriends (so definitely snap a few pictures!), and have a nice night of “freedom” without thinking about a babysitter, the next feeding, or worrying about “missing” baby’s next big development.

2. Meet with your girlfriends for a treat and enjoy some female bonding time.

If this is your first pregnancy, you may be surprised to find out just how bonded you’ll feel to other women after your baby comes–if you don’t already. Call up your girlfriends to have a lunch or shopping date and try to get in some good laughs and stories. You’ll miss having “adult time” soon enough, so make use of the time you have to have some fun without kiddos around.

3. Pamper yourself.

Go get a manicure, get your hair cut, visit a cosmetics counter at the department store for a makeover, or just give your curling iron a workout at home. You can pretend that you’re getting gussied up to meet baby, but better yet–just try to enjoy the moment for what it is–a moment of quiet and to appreciate your beautiful body that got you to this point in pregnancy.

4. Do last minute shopping.

If you haven’t already, make sure your pantry, refrigerator, and freezer are fully stocked. Do you have enough overnight pads for the first few weeks of care at home? Breast pads? Healthy snacks? Even if you have meals planned from family and friends, you’ll be glad that you have extra stuff laying around. You may also want to prepare some healthy meals in advance to freeze for when the meals stop or if you just get tired of casseroles.

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5. Take a nice walk around town.

A fun little “game” to play in your last days of pregnancy is telling strangers that you’re due (or past due)! Many people (who have never had a baby) seem to think that a pregnant woman is at any moment going to drop to the ground in pain and instantly deliver a baby in their store or restaurant. Have a little fun out on the town and enjoy getting out and about without a schedule or agenda.

 6. Get more sleep!

You’ve probably already been told this one–but for good reason! Stock up on your sleep. You will need it. The last thing you want is to go into labor with a sleep deficit due to late nights up worrying or perusing netflix. Take a leisurely nap and go to bed early. You’re probably waking up a billion times at night anyway, so take the extra sleep while you can get it.

7. Remind yourself that you’re normal!

If you are going past your due date with the hopes of delivering without an induction, you are normal! In a 1990 study (Mittendorf et al.) with first time mothers, their pregnancies lasted 288 (41 weeks, 1 day) on average. So, if you are even a few days after this point–remember that 288 days is just the average here and you are still normal! Your due date is also based on an average cycle lasting 28 days–problematic for many reasons since many women do not have 28 day cycles, nor do they ovulate right on day 14. Take a breath of relief if you’re considered “late” and remind yourself you may not even be late at all! And if you have friends and family members trying to show their concern or asking you about scheduling an induction (if you don’t want one yourself), go ahead and send them a link to the article above.

8. Stock up on helpful books or bookmark websites with tips for newborns, diapering, breastfeeding, etc.

While we all wish that each baby just came with their own manual, this so far has not been the case. Ask your friends with babies for their favorite book recommendations and websites on parenting and newborns so that you have them at the ready should a question arise (and they will!). If you plan to breastfeed, write down the numbers for your local La Leche League leaders and find out where there are local breastfeeding support groups. Even women who are lucky to get their child to latch correctly at the beginning will likely need support from other moms from time to time. Having these resources available to you and/or your partner will save you a lot of time and worry in the future.

9. Cherish your time with your family.

If this isn’t your first child, you probably already have a good idea of how much your life will change with a new baby. But whether this is your first, second, third, or so on, cherish the last few days or moments that you have to spend with the family you have now. Newborns take a lot of time–especially for the mother, so try to strengthen your family connections with others. New moms often say that they miss having the time connecting with others–when their attention isn’t divided counting how many wet diapers so far or when the last feeding was. A bonus of spending extra time with your family is that they will probably also help you out by making sure you are comfortable and resting–an extra bonus for spending time with your loved ones during this special layover time.

Did you go past your due date? What other advice would you give to moms struggling to fill the time after their due date? Going past your due date can take a real psychological toll on a pregnant woman. You’ve spent months counting down the days and weeks until you meet the baby and those few days after the due date seem like an eternity. If you are a friend or family member of someone who is past due, reach out to them and help take their mind off the baby. Chances are good that they are well prepared for baby’s arrival and probably could just use a fun distraction.

Photo Credits: Title Image: David Salafia (c/o Flickr (CC)); Thomas Pompernigg (Flickr (CC)); Nico Caramella (Flickr (CC))

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Katherine lives in Kansas City with her husband, toddler, and 3 furry children. When she is not at home with her daughter, she is finishing up her Ph.D. in psychology or working on one of her multiple half-finished art projects. She loves ceramics, crafts, fitness, paper mache, and pretending to learn French and Spanish.

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