It can seem like forever when you’re in the last few weeks of pregnancy and you’re waiting for labor to start! You’ll appreciate Leigh Ann’s tips for things to do while you wait for labor to begin!
Guest post by Leigh Ann of Intentional By Grace
Dear First Time Mom Who is Waiting on Labor Start,
You are almost there! The day you have been waiting for since you found out you were pregnant, and you’re eager, oh so eager, to hold your baby in your arms.
You’re tired of imagining that little nose and tired of guessing whose eyes your baby will have. You are tired of having someone else tie your shoes and tired of running to the bathroom every five minutes because a certain little someone decided to use your bladder as a punching bag.
You’re ready to meet your baby. Ready to stop wondering when labor will start. You’re ready to be a mom of a newborn. Ready to start healing. Ready to just.be.done.
I get it.
The last few weeks of pregnancy can be really hard.
You’ve spent the last nine months reading weekly pregnancy updates, meticulously eating healthy foods, taking the best supplements for you and your baby, and researching everything pregnancy and baby related so that you can make the best possible choices for your family.
You have your birth plan written out, your bags packed or your home birth supplies gathered, and you’ve done every possible thing including deep cleaning the garage and shaving your legs one last time – just in case.
The last weeks of pregnancy can be a trying time for any mom. No matter how many times you’ve done it, the last weeks are just hard.
But Mama, know this: You are not alone. You will not stay pregnant forever. Mamas all over the world have been right where you are, and we want to encourage you. If you’ll let us.
7 Things You Can Do While You’re Waiting on Labor to Start
1. Put on your patience hat
Most women are “done” being pregnant by the time they are 34 weeks (sometimes sooner!). You will be counting down the days until you are considered full-term, hoping that soon after you’ll start active labor and have it over with. You will be tempted to do everything in your power to induce labor right now.
Mama, put on your patience hat as we say in my house. Choose to cherish this season of pregnancy. Choose to wait upon the Lord. Your baby will come when he or she is ready. Don’t rush your baby or your body. I promise you that you’ll regret it if you do.
Being a ticking time bomb is hard. It is so hard. But don’t give up. You’ve come this far. Your due date is just a guide. It feels really important because you’re worn out and ready to have your body back, but it’s not. You will not be pregnant forever. I promise!
2. Guard against complaining
Because the last weeks of pregnancy are hard, we are tempted to complain incessantly about what ails us. It’s normal. Totally normal.
But just because complaining is normal doesn’t mean we shouldn’t seek to guard against it. Pregnancy is hard work, and sometimes, it doesn’t feel like such a gift. But the Word tells us to “do all things without grumbling or questioning” (Philippians 2:14). All things does not exclude pregnancy.
When my heart turns to grumbling and complaining, it’s because I desire comfort and ease more than I desire to selflessly serve another – in this case my child. I desire for others to feel sorry for me. I want them to swoon over my discomforts. I’d like my husband to take over the dishes for the evening or for my son to stop asking for me to play with him.
Mama, we can tell others we are in pain, we can ask for help, we can be honest about how we feel, but we can do it with a spirit of grace and gratitude instead of a spirit of complaining and bitterness.
3. Keep supplying valuable nutrition to you and your baby
When you’re waiting for labor to start, it’s tempting to slack off your good nutritional habits. It’s tempting to just hit the drive through instead of making yet another pregnancy super food at home.
Mama, it’s more important than ever to keep giving your body valuable nutrition. Labor is hard work. Your body needs all the nutritional stores you can give it.
For the third trimester, foods that are high in Omega-3 fats are pivotal since your baby’s brain is rapidly developing. Eating fish is the best source, but a good cod liver oil supplement will do the trick as well.
4. Turn your phone off
When you’re waiting for labor to start, some well meaning friends and family members will “check on you.” Don’t feel like you have to answer every single message. You don’t need to update them with every contraction or movement. You don’t need to feel pressured to “move this thing along” or be reminded that “you look like you’re about to pop.”
It is completely okay to turn your phone off so you can concentrate on taking care of yourself and your baby.
5. Enjoy your spouse
Go on a date with your husband. Sit on the couch and just hold hands. Have sex. Take a “baby moon.” Enjoy your spouse!
Your lives are about to forever be altered. This season will be gone before you know it – this sweet season of just the two of you. Soon you will be parents – wonderful parents. And soon your attention will be divided and consumed by the demands of a newborn.
Spend what energy you have each day enjoying one another without the need to get a babysitter.
6. Make final preparations
If you haven’t already made final preparations for your baby, then do it while you wait. Below are a few ideas.
- Pack your bag for the hospital
- Gather your home birth supplies
- Stock your freezer with meals
- Print off scripture memory cards for labor day
- Read encouraging birth stories
- Read a parenting book
- Wash your baby’s clothes
- Create a nursing station
- Make a Nursing Mama Tincture
- Install the carseat
You probably already have your own list, but use this time as your wait for labor to start to make any final preparations.
Take advantage of the nesting instinct, but also take plenty of time to just rest in your final weeks. You never know when you will go into labor, and your body needs all the rest it can get.
Soak in an herbal salt bath to ease the aches and pains. If you have swollen ankles, put your feet up and sip some tea made from dandelion root. Don’t feel guilty about resting. Resting is not idleness. Rest is a gift. So take plenty of time to just rest!
I know this is your first time to experience pregnancy and an impending labor. You don’t yet have a baby to hold while you wait. I know that you’re eager and excited. I know that you’re tired and worried about labor.
Will it hurt really bad? Will I need an epidural? Can I really have a natural birth? What about modesty? Will my husband be okay? Will I …
Dear Mama, this too shall pass. You will look back on these last days and weeks with amazement at how fast it really did go. Or not. And you won’t even care.
Let me tell you something, New Mama. You will do great. You will make it through this. You will quickly forget all the aches and pains the minute your new baby is laid upon your chest. Every single moment of this pregnancy will be worth it all in that one single moment when your life changes forever.
You will see your baby’s face. You will stroke that soft belly and kiss those sweet toes. Soon. Very soon. Just not right now.
So hang in there. You are almost there. And remember this: you are an amazing mom! Don’t let anyone ever tell you any different.
What tips would you give a first time mom as she waits on labor to start? Are you a first time mom waiting on labor? What are you doing while you wait?
Note from Erin: For help with preparing for a natural childbirth, check out the #1 bestselling online childbirth course, Mama Natural’s FREE week-by-week pregnancy updates . It will empower you to have the natural birth you want…and you can watch the course in the comfort of your own home! You may also like Mama Natural’s FREE week-by-week pregnancy updates to keep track of your baby’s development!
Leigh Ann Dutton, author of Live for Him: A Grace-Filled Look at Planning, is the wife to the man of her prayers, Mark, and mama to two loveable little boys, Samuel (born in a birth center) and Timothy (born at home). She takes joy in spending her days creating memorable moments with her husband, conducting kitchen experiments, researching every natural alternative known to man, and making her little boys laugh. She does it all by the grace of God.
This was encouraging to read! I’m 4 days away from my due date and am definitely feeling anxious! Thanks for posting this!
Leigh Ann @ Intentional By Grace
I’m so glad you were encouraged. You’re almost there!! 🙂
Such good words I wish I’d had when I was expecting. After 2 months on bedrest, I was out of my mind with boredom and angst. And also felt super robbed of the bliss, ability to nest and even be productive. For those ladies who are in a high risk situation: definitely try to remember it won’t last forever. Turning off the TV and social media also helps – listen to relaxing music, etc. And remember that tho this is not how you imagined, it is still a beautiful story bc it’s your journey and your baby’s.
This article and this comment have helped calm my anxious heart. I’m 35 weeks and just elevated to high risk last week. My doctor had some tests run late last week, so I’m playing the waiting game. She’s very concerned about my health at this point. Add her concern and having to wait for answers, to the way I feel – physically, mentally and emotionally, and the need to stay focused at work… I’m an anxious, unproductive mess.
This reminded me that these moments are part of my story, even though it’s not the story I had hoped to write. Thank you.
Lisa @ This Pilgrim Life
These are great tips. Those last few weeks are hard no matter if you’re having your first or fourth baby!
I remember being SO READY for my first to come. I was teaching 5th grade and it was the end of the school year. Testing was done which basically meant I had to go to school everyday to do random things with the kids and stand outside during recess in 90 degree heat. My son was big (it was quite obvious!) and I hoped, hoped, hoped that meant he would come early. But, no. I made it to the last day of school. And then through all of my end of the year work days. He was 9 days late and 10 pounds 3 ounces. However, it wasn’t long at all after he was born that we realized how thankful we were that he had all that extra time to get strong and develop his lungs. He was unexpectedly born with a bad case of pneumonia and spent a week in the special care nursery. (He’s fine now).
All this to say, as hard as it is, trust God with the timing of your labor! His providence is perfect even when it takes hindsight for us to realize it.
And as far as the labor part…just remember that when you think it’s the worst and you can’t possibly go on…you’re SO close to being done! 😉
That’s what I say too! When you can’t stand it anymore, you’re almost done! First baby takes longer, but the ones after that are usually 15 minutes away!
I am so thankful to you for this post! I have read a lot of helpful articles, blogs, etc. as I’m preparing for the birth of my first child, but this is such a sweet and simple Christian perspective. The part about not complaining especially hit home for me. I find myself complaining about all the little hardships more than I should… my life is blessed! And the fact that you included a Bible reference (and the link to more at the bottom) was awesome! I actually told my husband a few weeks ago that I expected to get caught up during labor, but that I really wanted to bring Bible verses along with me to help me remember that, no matter what situation I’m in, I am above all else blessed to be a child of God – with a responsibility to represent His grace. Your post just helped me bring what is important back into focus .
I am just a couple days away, and I am trying so hard to stay positive and trust in the universe. It feels great to know other women experience all the frustration and doubt and excitement of not knowing when that moment will come. Thank you for sharing this.
Congrats on your new baby!!
What do you do when your only 18 weeks and already so anxious to see your lil baby!!? I have 22 weeks yet! For awhile it seemed like it went fast now all of a sudden I dream of having this lil baby and seeing his or her face!
It will go faster the second half of the pregnancy! Your baby will get here before you know it! Congrats!!
I’m due May 8th, 20% effaced and 1.5cm dilated as of April 22nd (my last OB appointment, next one is on the 29th). This was definitely encouraging to read that’s for sure! I’m thankful I came across this on Pinterist. I’m trying so hard to not try and naturally bring on labor, but as you said, I am so over being pregnant and so ready for my baby girl to be in my arms! I keep cleaning, repacking my bag ans diaper bag, organizing baby girl’s clothes, and trying to keep busy. The thing that really takes my mind away from wanting labor to start is making the scrapbook pages for my soon to be daughter, but that only distracts me until my next contraction, which are more than likely just prelabor contractions. Great post and wonderful encouragement to those of us waiting. God bless! 🙂
I am so thankful to you for this post! I have read a lot of helpful articles, blogs, etc. as I’m preparing for the birth of my first child, but this is such a sweet and simple Christian perspective. The part about not complaining especially hit home for me. I find myself complaining about all the little hardships more than I should… my life is blessed! And the fact that you included a Bible reference (and the link to more at the bottom) was awesome! I actually told my husband a few weeks ago that I expected to get caught up during labor, but that I really wanted to bring Bible verses along with me to help me remember that, no matter what situation I’m in, I am above all else blessed to be a child of God – with a responsibility to represent His grace. Your post just helped me bring what is important back into focus 🙂
I really needed to read this this morning!! I’m 2 weeks from my due date and sooooo anxious. Thanks for reminding me to be patient and soak up every single moment ☺️
Thank you for sharing this! I’m two days past my due date and feel like I’m going out of my mind! Such good encouragement, thank you.
6 days past my due date… can’t wait to see my sweet son. I long for him every day to hold him in my arms! Thank you for the encouragement. I know the Lord will bring him to me when he is ready.
This post is a blessing. I’m very discouraged because I’m due since July 9th. I’m now 41 weeks pregnant and I’ve been in a weird labor since July 12th. It’s discouraging to think it’s the big day and finally the contractions keep coming and spacing out and nothing seems to progress. I was hoping for a very natural birth, but if labor doesn’t start to get consistent, I will have to be induced on the 19th. I’m praying and I think that God has a plan for us.
My son was born prematurely at 35 weeks and I was not yet at that “done” stage of pregnancy… so it was hard. I wanted more than anything to bring him to full term. He had to stay in the NICU for a week before we could take him home. He’s perfectly healthy now, but it was a tough start! I know that it is difficult to be thankful to make it to full term (or being overdue) since it is so hard and uncomfortable, but hang in there!
Thank you for sharing about this very unique and sometimes agonizing time from a Christian perspective.
This is my second pregnancy, but my first was induced with Castro oil by my midwife since I was having blood pressure issues. Now there is no issues and all I have to do is wait.
I like what you said about not needing to update everyone on everything and not rushing your body or baby when they are not ready. Around 38 weeks I began to slack off on nutrition, and I thank you for reminding me to pick up healthy eating habits again. Anyways, lots of good stuff here, thank you❤
My due date passed just yesterday and it was stressful to stand my ground on not being induced because my husband and I truly believe our baby will come in the right time on its own. Added to that is the desire to simply get to meet our first son or daughter. This encouragement was perhaps the most helpful and most needed in the moment of my entire pregnancy. Thank you.
Praise God you found a place of encouragement–and CONGRATS on the baby! I went 12 days past with my 3rd, but it was my favorite delivery!
…and I’m crying. Thank you for such an awesome post! I’m six days shy of my due date with our first baby (a boy!), and I have been feeling SO IMPATIENT. Every time contractions get started I think, “This is it!” only to be disappointed a few hours later when they’ve come to a screeching halt.
Thanks for the reminder that this WILL come to an end, and that that end is going to make it all very, very worth it.
CONGRATS on the new baby!
I came across this at the perfect time. Feeling miserable and just done with it. Your words are very encouraging and I needed to hear them. Thank you from the bottom of my heart.
3 weeks from my due date! Thank you so much for the encouragements. I feel between 2, so different than my old life but not yet a mom. To occupy myself I’m trying to knit a cover for baby, go shopping, and doing what I can to prepare myself and the house. I’ve seen so many women wanting to induce naturally before the due date but I prefer waiting, baby is getting stronger 🙂 we’ve been waiting for so long, couple more weeks wouldn’t hurt.
Thank you so much for this post. Even though I’m typing this trough streaming tears, I so appreciate the encouragement and supportive words. You are a blessing to many
There is a light at the end of the tunnel! You will be holding that new baby soon!
Similar to the waiting mom-to-be you’re addressing in the article, I don’t have a baby to hold in my arms while I wait. Unfortunately, it’s because I have been waiting for years to get pregnant, and because I have lost a baby to miscarriage. My advice is to be grateful. You have no idea how lucky you are to hold this baby inside you. Be thankful for your discomfort because it means you have a growing and healthy baby that you get to meet soon. Please, please don’t complain- I’m sure it is hard and painful at times, but there are so many women out there who would give absolutely anything to be where you are and when it comes down to it, I believe you wouldn’t trade it for the world.
I’m so sorry for your loss, Catie.
Love love love this! Going on 39 weeks and this is so encouraging. Thank you!
Oh I’m so glad to hear you were encouraged, Chelsea! Congrats on the new baby!! You can do this!
Thank you this made me cry, not surprising because I cry over anything these days. I’m 2 wks from due date and soo ready for our sweet pea to arrive! I know the Lord is teaching me patience and its def worth the wait!!
I hit 41 weeks today and had my first breakdown yesterday as I reached my breaking point of people asking when I’d be induced or if there was any progress( and of course this breakdown happened as my sweet husband who is trying to comprehend birth asked if we had any more insight on when our baby girl would be here.) I had just finished meeting my midwife that morning, everything was checking completely normal so I want stressing until everyone else began questioning. My midwife and I have made a plan of introducing blue cohosh over the weekend if she’s not here by then. Thankful for this post and well as all your posts with your third daughter as they have brought comfort.
My best advice, besides patience is to read, “Childbirth Without Fear” by Grantly Dick Read. He was the first to write about natural child birth. He explains how to work with labor and accept it as a natural part of life. Fear and fighting the contractions makes things worse and causes pain. He explains how to relax and let your body do the work and how to help a Laboring mother. He has lots of stories and examples. Lots of good information and encouragement! As you read the book, you can practice his relaxation techniques which are quite simple and nothing weird… It’s just plain ole relaxing. It will help you with naps while you wait.
My first labor was with twins. My doctor was committed to a natural birth. The first baby was head down, the second was feet first. All natural, no medication. But it was a hard labor, because I was not prepared. Before the next birth, I read this book and it made a world of difference! My labor was so much easier! I have used his technique to coach my daughters-in-law through their labors. I recommend this book to all new mamas.
Thank you for posting this. I was 2 days past due date and I found myself complaining instead of being thankful. I loved that you quoted the Bible, it is very encouraging! God bless you!
A midwife I talked with said that due dates are bad for us. She said it’s like a finish line at the end of a marathon – you keep your eye on it and you’re determined that if you can just go that much further, you’ll make it! But what if someone all of a sudden moved the finish line 2 miles down the course, just when you had reached it? You’d feel like quitting. If you had never seen the finish line in the first place, but just knew that it was close, or somewhere around that area, you’d be so much more motivated to keep going until you made it there. It made so much sense to me! We have such a controlling attitude towards life compared to our ancestors who just had to deal with nature the way it was. We have to know everything. I find that when I let go of the need to control things I can’t control, I’m a lot more relaxed, esp. in motherhood.
Amen…I truly thank you for saying this. Today we want to control everything…I am glad I read this blog and your comment. Thanks again.
Oh my goodness gracious. I am in my 39th week and this is single-handedly the BEST thing I have read during my entire pregnancy. THANK YOU for speaking directly to me! You are gifted with your message.
This is very encouraging, I’m 40 weeks pregnant with my first baby, finding the wait quite tough, thought he would be out by now, only to realise I need to rely on God’s time not my own. I truly believe that in the end it will all work out perfectly.
This is exactly what I needed to read. 3 days away from my due date and really really really wanting this baby to come. But I have found myself complaining, when I know this time of rest I have is a gift and God will bring my baby girl at the perfect time.
I really liked your article as well. I am almost 39 weeks and I feel ‘hopeless’ sometimes, waiting and waiting. All you have said is true. I pray for courage and strength to pass through my planned natural birth and bring my baby girl to this world healthy and happy!
A HUGE congrats to you!!
Oh my word!!! This is so encouraging and l know its words that are spoken through you by God. Exactly what l needed to hear after feeling anxious and tired of waiting. Thank you so much. God bless you
This was really encouraging to read :). I am 40 + 3 today and I know my body was built for this and labor will happen naturally but the waiting is tough! I’m praying for peace and acceptance no matter what path my labor and birth may take.
A huge congrats to you!!
Thank you for this post. I am only a day past 40 weeks, in pain and impatient, but more so struggling with standing my ground on waiting on God to bring this baby out and not allowing my doc to even so much sweep my membranes. Thank you the reminder that He has complete control!
I’m not a FTM, but I feel like I’m actually even more discouraged this time around since chasing my 19-month-old around gives me no rest (SAHM). Thank you for this. I still have 2 weeks (or maybe more) to go and I am struggling to not cry to my husband every day about how tired, uncomfortable, and disheartened I am. I loved what you said about not grumbling. I don’t remember being this impatient with my first, but I think that’s only because I had plenty of time to nap, cook, clean, and organize while waiting for baby. I really need to ask the Lord to continue to grant me perspective because we want many more children and I’m now seeing it probably won’t get any easier as you have more to take care of.
Thank you, I really needed this. First pregnancy, two days passed my due date and I feel like I’m losing my mind. This spoke straight to my heart and was so comforting. ?
Because I see this so commonly misused now. .a “baby moon” is the month after a baby is born that mother and child spend bonding and no one visits. Just like with a “honeymoon” when outsiders are supposed to leave the newlyweds alone.
The term can be used for both.
This was just perfect timing for me (38 weeks). I’ve been so anxious and nervous over the last week. Your words really comforted me and shifted my perspective. Thank you!
This brought tears to my eyes… my due date is on 11/17 and I’m struggling in these last few days! Thank you for your words of encouragement and gentle reminders of what really matters. God bless you! 🙂
A HUGE congrats to you!!
This is the most helpful thing I’ve read throughout my entire pregnancy. I’m 6 days past my due date today and have been feeling so discouraged and overwhelmed with all the messages and people asking if there’s any sign of baby coming yet. These last couple weeks have certainly been hard but this was a great reminder that soon I will be holding my baby, in his perfect timing, and it will all be worth it. Pregnancy really is a precious gift. Thank you so much for the encouraging words
A huge congrats on your pregnancy and prayers for peace in the waiting!! You will have a sweet little baby to cuddle soon!
Ladies – COD LIVER OIL is absolutely NOT safe to take during pregnancy. It has high levels of vitamin A, which are not safe for your baby!
Appalling advice from ‘humblehomemaker’!!!! Shame on you for not doing your research!
This was a much needed and incredible read. As I was laying down feeling exhausted (currently overdue) I could not wipe the smile off my face and explain the encouragement I am feeling. Beautiful tip about printing scripture cards for the delivery. God bless you and thank you!
Thank you for these words. – so, so incredibly helpful as I continue to wait for my little girl.
My name is Nombulelo and I’m 40 years years old have two kids 14 & 10 year old, I thought I was done. Until now that I’m expecting a third one,but this is it, I’m happy at the same time I’m worried especially about my age and I have Tb meningitis, I completed the treatment got well, but sometimes after two or tree months I become dizzy,feel like going to sleep, start vomiting, loose my speech and become unconscious for about 15 to 20 menites. Love the page
Wow! Today is my estimated “due date.” I’m a 22 year old FTM and this was just what I needed to read for encouragement. The Lord is definitely teaching me some patience and also giving me time to prepare mentally for the baby’s arrival. So very thankful that I came across this post. It encouraged so!
I didn’t get a chance to look and see when this was published but it’s just amazing how even if it was years ago, it can still apply years after. God is amazing! God is loving! God is true! His plan and provision will NEVER fail!
Peace, Love, Happiness and Hope to all the mamas out there!
Thank you for this blog. I’m 38 weeks FTM and doctor just told me anytime soon then the anticipation began. I finished everything I needed to do on my to do list. Finished reading the books I wanted to read and here I am anxiously waiting. None of the books I read mentioned about this feeling I’m having right now. I feel more comfort now knowing that I’m not alone on this. Thank you for the encouraging words. Let go and let God.