By the time you reach the 37-week mark in your pregnancy, you may start to wonder when your baby is ever going to make their arrival. More often than not, once you're full-term, you're ready to stop being pregnant and start being a parent. Though every moment seems heavy with anticipation for the big day, you can still find ways to enjoy the last few weeks and days of your pregnancy (and many of these also apply if you're baby is arriving through a different process like adoption or surrogacy.)
Take advantage of alone time. Up until now, your schedule has had the room for cherished solo activities that keep you sane. Once baby arrives, you may find that it's hard to squeeze working out, shopping, drawing or settling down with a boxset into your schedule. Of course, your time will be filled with someone you love much more, but there's no harm in taking guilt-free advantage of the last few days with an unnecessary shopping trip or a few more episodes of your favourite show.
Sleep. Women often find it harder to sleep during the third trimester, as your baby's increasing size intensifies your pregnancy symptoms. Modifying a demanding schedule of early mornings and late evenings can help you stay more energised ahead of the birth. Stay active in the day with light exercises such as walking, yoga and swimming to help you feel more tired at night. Napping can also make a real difference to your energy levels in the final weeks. Most people leave afternoon naps to the toddlers, but getting some extra shuteye in the afternoon provides a boost to everyone. Set a timer for half an hour in order to wake up refreshed.
Savour one-on-one time with your partner. The realisation that your baby will change your family dynamic forever often doesn't hit home for many first-time parents until the final weeks of pregnancy. Take every opportunity to enjoy each other's company. Have at least one 'date night' a week. Even if, in the current climate, that means ordering a takeaway or playing board games together, it's important to spend quality time enjoying yourself and each other. You will still see a lot of each other once baby arrives, but will be in an undoubtedly different capacity.
Take care of household chores. Though it may not be the most thrilling activity, there may be a number of things on your to-do list that will be far easier now than after baby arrives. Preparing ahead of time reduces your stress as you know everything is in place. Adding finishing touches to the nursery room, changing a lightbulb you've been putting off, or preparing a week's worth of freezer meals for the first week after birth are not completely necessary, but can all contribute to making your transition to parenthood a bit easier.
Prepare for your return from the hospital. It's likely that you've covered all the things your baby will need by now. But have you set aside time to think about what you might need once you're back home with your bundle of joy? Stock up home essentials such as toiletries, laundry detergent and snacks now. This is especially true if you have a favourite bubble bath or shampoo you can only get from a very specific shop, as you may not have the time or energy to nip out on the regular during your baby's first few weeks. Having a few extra pairs of pants and pyjamas a size or two bigger than you normally wear can also be useful.
Remembering that your baby will be here in his or her own good time can help to de-stress. Growing a small human inside of you is no small feat, so pat yourself on the back and enjoy the last few days while they last!