Physically, that's not always easy at any point in a pregnancy, especially when trying to get a good night's sleep. Listen to your body and don't overdo it, recommends Dr. Foley. Support hose can ease leg swelling. Sleeping with extra pillows can also help: Prop up your head and chest to control heartburn and stick a pillow between your knees to alleviate backaches. "Lower back pain was the worst for me," recalls Axtell, who recommends warm showers at night. "[And] have your wonderful husband rub some nice cream on your feet after soaking them," she adds.
Mental adjustments are important, too. Use affirmations to boost your attitude and remind yourself this is a temporary situation: I'm ready for my baby when he's ready to be born. Soon, my pregnancy will be over and I'll get to meet my baby. And if you still can't get a solid night's sleep? Think of this as early training for waking up with a newborn.
During the last few weeks of my pregnancy—which lasted 41 weeks—I attended a rock concert, splurged on dinner at a fancy restaurant, cooked and froze some extra meals, visited with friends, and got involved in a wonderfully distracting plan to repaint the living room with my husband (not recommended—seven weeks after my son was born, we're still living with the sample patches on the walls). And if you don't like any of those ideas, there's plenty more you can do to make your waiting weeks enjoyable.
- Rachel Goldstein, a mother of two in Los Angeles, California, suggests you take a special outing—such as trips to museums or zoos—to try and get labor started by walking around. (There's actually no proof walking can induce labor, says Dr. Foley, but you might as well try provided you're feeling good and promise not to overdo it.)
- "Go shopping for really cute outfits that you pick out for your baby," recommends Katie Bloom, a mother of two in Cape Elizabeth, Maine. "That is really fun, and moms don't do it very often because they get so many outfits from the shower."
- "My recommendation to moms who are past their due dates is to get a lot of rest. Pamper yourself a little—put your feet up, and read a good book," says Axtell. "Write a journal to your baby. Sing to your baby. Read to your baby. Pray for your baby."
The last weeks of pregnancy may feel like forever. But remember, all babies are born eventually. And before you know it, you'll be holding that long-awaited baby in your arms.