That Last Long Month of Pregnancy
Yahoo! An email from a man. I know you guys are out there and I know you read your wife/partner's Fit Pregnancy magazine or log on to the website when she's not looking but not many of you email me. Thanks Richard. Richard's fiancé can't get out of bed. She's heading into her final month of pregnancy and their baby is riding high in the ribcage. She's gotten so uncomfortable that rolling over and standing up in the morning is a big ordeal. Eventually, her baby wiggles down a bit and she hoists herself out but she's struggling. I'll bet. I remember it well. That long, last month when the baby seems to be banking off your pelvis and stretching himself as long as he can and as far away from the cervix as possible. You feel like you can't breathe, walk, eat or even get up from a chair.
Richard wants to know what his fiancé can do to move the baby down so she's more comfortable. He wonders if there are any breathing techniques that would help. Oh, if only breathing were possible. What a woman wouldn't give for a good, deep breath in her last month of pregnancy. Almost as much as she'd give for a good, long pee maybe once every few hours, like normal people. Not the "every 10 minutes whether she needs to or not" routine she goes through now. Late pregnancy is tough.
Well, Richard, there's good news and bad news. The good news is that in a month or so, this will all be over. The bad news is, there aren't any absolute cures for this predicament (other than labor and delivery) but there are some tricks to encourage your little one to move to more comfortable territory.
The first hurdle is getting out of bed. I'm going to get basic here because I know how hard it is to accomplish this previously taken for granted task. Let's say it's first thing in the morning and your fiancé is lying in bed on her side. She opens her eyes and tries to roll over. Uh oh, she's stuck. What now? You, Richard, are going to help her. Grab your pillow and wedge it under the "bed" side of her belly. Use one hand to support the pillow and her belly and stick the other hand under her knees. Then count to three and give her a gentle shove while she rolls over. You're essentially moving that baby for her because your little guy's so darn comfortable he's not going to help. Now that she's on her other side, stick that pillow under her belly again and your other hand under her shoulder. Then count to three and heave-ho. Help her sit up on the side of the bed. Grab her hands, bend your knees and pull while she stands up.
Once she's standing, she can lean with her arms around your neck, stick her fanny out and sway back and forth. This may (or may not) encourage your baby to settle into a different position. Hands-and-knees is a great for turning and repositioning babies. It's a pain in the butt to get into that position but with your good pillow support, you can help her get there. I recommend giving this a try on your bed or some other padded surface. It's a heck of a chore getting up off the floor but if that's your best option, put a foam pad or sleeping bag down to make it comfier for her. Then have her put her hands or elbows on the floor while kneeling. If you're into yoga, you'd call this the cow/cat pose. She'll arch her back up and down, sway back and forth and maybe lower the front half of her body down by bending at the elbows until her shoulders are closer to the ground. Sometimes it works. Sometimes those little guys are so wedged in they won't budge. There's not much room left for them to do gymnastics anymore and they've found the most comfortable accommodations available. It's just not often comfortable for Mom too. Dang.
I had one baby who was dedicated to squeezing her toes between my ribs. I always figured she was bored and it was something to do. Or maybe she thought if she hooked her toes in good and tight, she wouldn't have to come out. I'd find the area on my belly that I thought was her butt and apply gentle pressure. Sometimes she'd move. Mostly, she wouldn't. She liked it there. That kid's in college now and has the longest toes. She's always been a little funny about her feet.
My theory is the reason pregnancy lasts 40 weeks (more or less) is because we're relatively comfortable and content for the first 34 or so. Labor seems like a far off and crazy idea. It's those last weeks though that really brings labor into focus as something we'd be willing to do. We're so wildly uncomfortable that hours of contractions followed by birthing a big baby seems like a great plan. Pain? Bring it on. Water, blood and poop? You betcha. Sounds fabulous. I'm game. Whoever designed pregnancy in the first place knew we'd never be willing to go through labor if the whole nine months was a bed of roses. That last month, Richard, makes labor seem like the best party in town. And, believe it or not, it will be. It's a birthday party after all. Good luck you two. I'm rooting for you.
Got a question for Jeanne? E-mail it to firstname.lastname@example.org and it may be answered in a future blog post.
This Fit Pregnancy blog is intended for educational purposes only. It is not intended to replace medical advice from your physician. Before initiating any exercise program, diet or treatment provided by Fit Pregnancy, you should seek medical advice from your primary caregiver.