What to do in the last week of your pregnancy

Posted on 5 February 2019

Counting down to the big day means a lot of final planning – plus taking time to rest. Dr Ameera Adam, a gynaecologist at Mediclinic Constantiaberg, offers tips on what to do in your last days of pregnancy.

Diet

With only a few days left before your delivery, it’s tempting to use the ‘eating for two’ excuse before it’s gone. However, research shows that the food you eat now could have an impact on your baby’s long-term health.

According to Dr Adam, the best diet focuses on high-energy foods, fruits and vegetables. Think leafy greens, beans, fish, eggs and lean meats.

When it comes to snacking, try to steer away from crisps and choose a healthy alternative. “Dates are a particularly good snack and can be added to health smoothies for an extra boost,” Dr Adam says.

Dates aren’t just nutritional, they can also impact your odds of going into labour naturally. Studies show that women who eat dates during the last weeks of pregnancy are less likely to need induction.

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Exercise

Dr Adam says one of the biggest misconceptions women have in their last week of pregnancy is that they should be resting. “Keeping up some level of physical activity can have benefits,” she says.

A heavy belly and the constant need to use the loo may put women off from exercise. However, Dr Adam suggests taking regular walks can do the trick.

In fact, research shows that walking while pregnant can help lower your chance of developing gestational diabetes. It can also help prevent the onset of pre-eclampsia in those who are high risk.

But that’s not to say rest isn’t also important. “Try to take it easy and don’t push yourself,” says Dr Adam.

Be patient and plan

You might think this is your last week of pregnancy – but you could be wrong. And that’s where the waiting game comes into play.

“Women can be expected to deliver anytime from 37 weeks, so it’s difficult to determine when exactly your last week of pregnancy will be,” says Dr Adam.

If you’re inching closer to full term, now is the time to make sure you’ve got a clear birth plan and are ready for the big moment. “Have your bags packed and the route to the hospital mapped out,” she says.

If you’re having a planned C-section, you have a better idea of when the baby will come. This makes it easier to plan for delivery, but you’ll also have to plan for when you get home. “Prepare to have help at home for a minimum of a week post-delivery,” says Dr Adam.

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Positivity

The most important thing you can do during the last week of your pregnancy is to get into the right frame of mind, says Dr Adam.

“You’ve got to have a positive mindset, especially about what’s to come,” she says.

To help keep yourself balanced and calm, try meditation. It has been found to improve mood during pregnancy – with benefits that continue once the baby is born.

“Remember, millions of women have given birth before you – you can do it too,” Dr Adam says.

INFOGRAPHIC: How to (really) exercise during pregnancy

 

Published in Pregnancy

In the interest of our patients, in accordance with SA law and our commitment to expertise, Mediclinic cannot subscribe to the practice of online diagnosis. Please consult a medical professional for specific medical advice. If you have any major concerns, please see your doctor for an assessment. If you have any cause for concern, your GP will be able to direct you to the appropriate specialists.

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