For many of us, the first trimester seems to be slow, with our due date a far of, as yet unimaginable, place….yet when listening to women share experiences our Pregnancy Yoga Classes, it seems the second and third trimesters seem to fly by….weeks coming and going surprisingly fast, then once we reach later pregnancy, 37, 38, 39 weeks and beyond, things seem to slow again. We can feel exhausted, physically worn out and uncomfortable as our bodies continue to direct so much energy to our babies, and they continue to grow and move. Late pregnancy can be a time of ambiguity; excitement to meet our baby and fear and anxiety of labour, looking forward to labour in some ways, but anxiety and uncertainty as to when baby will come. We can often find it harder to sleep, eat and generally feel comfortable.
We can take our mixed emotions and physical feelings at this time as a signal to be extra kind, gentle and nurturing to ourselves, caring for ourselves through our physical and emotional landscapes in these last days and weeks of pregnancy before our life changes forever, we experience the intensity of labour and begin the next stage of mothering when we meet our baby and hold her in our arms.
Give Yourself Permission To Rest
These days pregnancy is busy for women; we tend to work as late as possible to have more time off after, we put lots of energy into changing our homes and organising the clothes for baby’s arrival, as well as keeping up with partners, friends and family. Give yourself permission to slow down at this time; listen to what your body needs, and is crying out for, and feel okay about letting yourself rest.
Labour can be long and extremely intense, then once baby is here, we are super busy working out how to care for them pretty much constantly day and night, and our bodies have spent a tremendous amount of physical, emotional and mental energy getting them here. So in these quiet yet uncomfortable days of later pregnancy, let yourself rest, let your energy reserves collect; have lie ins, lazy mornings, take gentle, short walks, have slow baths and showers, take time to prepare your favourite meals and the time to enjoy them. Watch films, let yourself say no to big days out which feel draining. Take time to practice gentle yoga postures, all fours, do a couple of pregnancy yoga relaxations each day. Have early nights and afternoon naps… these are gold dust of our first pregnancies, for if we go on to have our second or third babes, trying to take afternoon rests which a toddler or two in tow is a totally different ballgame.
Nurture Your Body
Really listen in to what your body needs. Each week in the Pregnancy Class we listen in to our physical body, our energy, our emotions and our mind. This builds a picture our ourselves and our needs in this moment. Continue with this in later pregnancy. Listen to what you are feeling in your body. Listen to where you feel discomfort, listen to your back, your shoulders, your pelvis, your breath and digestion. And try to respond….. practice slow, gentle stretches, raising our arms up above our head in some of the lotus circle stretches is a lovely way to ease heart burn and that feeling of a hard little foot wedged under our ribs.
It can be so difficult to feel comfortable as baby is expanding in all directions and our body is changing to accommodate their growth and prepare for labour. Listen in, and then work with some hands and knees all fours practices; gently circle your hips, moving slowly and mindfully into areas of discomfort, use the birth ball for circular, rhythmical movements, try some gentle swimming, breast stroke and front crawl are good for Optimal Foetal Positioning; brining our babies into the most favourable position for birth, but do avoid breast stroke if you’re experiencing pelvic pain. Just floating around in the water can be really supportive.
Take some gentle walks in nature, sit and lean against a wide, ancient tree…. feel its steadiness and groundedness to the Earth. Imagine as you exhale you are letting all of your discomfort, anxiety and uncertainty be released down into the Earth, and just as we do in the class, inhale from these deep roots and bring in a sense of peace, stability and connection. Walk on the beach, take off your shoes and paddle in the cooling water, walk in the rain and feel the coolness on your skin, paddle in rivers and streams, watch the sunset, then head home for rest and delicious, slow cooked food.
Nurture Your Relationship
Pregnancy is a time of change for couples, yet certainly it is women who feel this much more than dads and partners; yet these times of late pregnancy can be times of connection and quiet in your relationship before the intensity of labour and new chapter of parenting begins. Have a pregnancy photo shoot together and marvel at the beautiful curve of your belly. Take slow walks or short drives out together, go to some of your favourite places and explore new local areas, take the space to talk about both of your feelings, your hopes, fears and wonder at the process and what the future may hold. Explain how you would like your partner to support you during labour (we have a whole section on this in our Beautiful Beginnings Pregnancy Yoga & Birth Prep Handbook, and I offer couples sessions where we explore the valuable role of the Birth Partner in detail). Enjoy being together, choose to talk about and consciously let go of any resentments and nurture your partnership, enjoying some simple time of communication and togetherness in your relationship before baby arrives.
Explore Your Emotions
This is a time of uncertainty, especially with our first pregnancies, we are letting go of all we knew of life before and approaching new experiences; we are preparing to walk new and as yet uncharted territory as we step from the path of our previous life to the path of Motherhood. Take some time to listen in and write in a journal, sharing your different feelings, thoughts, fears and hopes. Let these quiet days be days of reflection; reflect upon your childhood, of what felt nurturing and what you would like to let go of; reflect on what you would like to bring from your own childhood to your parenting, and what you would like to do differently.
Remind yourself that you are your own person, and you are creating your family anew; explore what values you would like to lie at the heart of your mothering and your relationship with your baby and child. Reflect upon what you feel you are letting go of as you begin motherhood, and let this go with good grace, even just for a while, and create the new space for the motherhood experiences to fill. Take off the pressure for you to get back to normal as soon as possible and instead welcome the new experiences of motherhood and let them change you…. This is what my book Milestones of Motherhood explores… Motherhood can be such a transformative journey if we let it…. let loving your baby change you and bring to you a wealth of new experiences and emotions.
Connect With Your Baby & Prepare For Labour
Use these quiet later weeks to nurture your connection with your baby; bonding begins way before we come to hold our baby in our arms and continues constantly after, so enjoy nurturing the beginnings of this relationship now. Stroke and massage your beautiful belly, marvel at its shape and the real feelings of presence of your baby within. Picture their beautiful body within just as we do in the pregnancy class relaxations. Let the breath be your bridge of connection, taking your breath deep into the spaces around and behind your baby, enfolding them in your love with each inhale…. visualise the breath as a coloured light.
Share your feelings with her, let her know just how loved she is and silently or out loud repeat your affirmations; those positive qualities you are consciously creating for yourself and your baby each day. Practice the lovely Heart Womb Breath where we take our awareness from baby to our heart centre and back with each breath.Take a belly cast, draw, colour and write her a letter in your journal, your deepest hopes and intentions for your journey of love together. This could well become one of your most treasured pregnancy memories as he grows so quickly through childhood and you look back to these slow days of waiting and connecting before the intensity of birth and early mothering.
Continue with your birth preparation; visualise and really feel softening deep in your cervix and pelvic floor, feel the pressure of baby’s head moving downwards, melting into the space and softness of your cervix. Visualise baby being born, gently, bringing him up to your chest and the immense love that follows. Continue with your birth preparation postures, lots of all fours and hip circling to encourage baby into the most favourable position of their little spine against our belly. Rest and relax on your left side enjoying the pregnancy yoga relaxations and visualisations. Let baby know you are ready to receive her when she is ready. Listen in to any fears you have about labour, take these seriously, listen to them, share them and write about them, then come to a deeper place within, remind yourself how you trust your body and your baby deeply, that you will receive positive support and will receive and welcome any help you need. Let go of anxieties about when baby will arrive, and instead affirm that you are ready, letting baby know you are ready whenever they are.
Give yourself permission to be slow and lazy, practice much relaxation and keep your adrenaline levels low. Let your emotions flow and change as they will, it’s okay to cry, to feel nervous and emotional and then to feel great peace, joy, love and excitement. Give yourself permission to be exactly as you are in this and each moment, take your time, reflect, give yourself space, eat good food and let yourself enjoy these quite times, this pause, before the excitement of baby’s arrival. Let this quiet, loving gentleness take you through early labour, just breathing, listening to the sensations, breathing through them…. letting them go, trusting your baby and body know exactly what they are doing.
My Pregnancy Yoga and Birth Preparation classes in Whitehaven, West Cumbria are suitable from 16 weeks pregnancy to birth. We have many cushions, blankets and gentle practices of breathing, stretches and relaxation to keep you nurtured and comfortable through these later weeks in pregnancy. 🙂
07906 188 345