As a first-time mom-to-be, I could hardly make an educated guess as to whether my due date would prove accurate. I was definitely in limbo—not sure whether I should keep working or travel too far from home—but for someone who enjoyed pregnancy as much as I did, it wasn’t such a bad place to be. My theory? If I stayed relaxed, everything would, with luck, happen more easily and naturally.
Do the experts agree? Well, there isn’t any hard evidence that you can bring on labor by keeping stress at bay—but it can’t hurt to stay loose toward the end of your pregnancy, according to Dr. Jennifer Lee Foley, MD, an OB-GYN at William Beaumont Hospital in Royal Oak, Michigan. After all, labor will be easier to handle if you’re relaxed and open-minded about the entire process.
With that thought in mind, take these steps to savor the last weeks before you meet your baby.
Hide the Calendar!
You thought your due date actually meant something? It’s really just an estimate that tells you approximately when your baby will be born, according to Dr. Foley. Try to plan your life around that one special date you’ve marked on the calendar and you’ll drive yourself crazy. A more relaxed approach is to be ready for anything two to three weeks ahead of time. If Baby arrives early, great. If not, and your baby is late (as they often are!) you can use that time to nest and prepare. “Take short walks near the house. Smell the flowers. Do it all now, because when that baby comes you are going to be a busy woman!” says Peggy Axtell, a mother of three in upstate New York.