During the last trimester, as your partner’s body prepares for labour, there’s a swing of hormones which can make things really uncomfortable for her. But by understanding what she’s going through, you can provide the right kind of support and help to ease tensions in the home.
Important things you need to know
- She’ll feel an increasing amount of pressure in her pelvic area (also known as “lightning”) as the baby’s head drops into the pelvis area.
- She’ll be waking up a lot during the night to go to the loo, which means she’ll be tired during the day from not getting enough sleep.
- She’ll prbably fart a lot, which can be awkward and embarrassing for her.
- The change in her hormones will sometimes cause hot flushes, which means there may be days when she kicks off all the blankets at night because she’s so hot!
- She’ll have constant changes in libido – some nights you might find she finds her preggy cushion a better companion than you. (don’t take this personally.)
- Expect frequent cleaning episodes, which is also referred to as nesting.
- She may cry for no apparent reason which may leave you feeling confused, and helpless.
- She might be more forgetful, which will be frustrating for her.
How you can help
- During lockdown, you might both be working from home, holding down full-time jobs which leave you both exhausted after a long day. So, the best time to do something special for your partner may be on weekends, so she can get some much-needed rest.
- If you have other children, you can help with daily tasks like feeding, bathing and meal prep – even if it’s just preparing snacks to allow mom to catch up on sleep.
- Bring her the supplements she needs each day as a reminder to take them.
- Try attend antenatal classes together. This is a good opportunity to bond and grow together as new parents. It will also make planning easier for your precious little one’s arrival. Antenatal classes will also provide you with extra ideas on how to be supportive plus you’ll get to meet other couples going through the same thing as you. Remember, during lockdown, most antenatal classes are online.
- After a long, hard day, your partner will appreciate it if you run her a hot, relaxing bath. And if she loves a massage, this is the best treat you can give her to help relax her tired body and take the weight off her swollen feet. You don’t need to massage her yourself, if you don’t want to or you’re worried you’ll hurt her. You can ask a doula or pregnancy masseuse to provide this service in the comfort of your own home.
- Remember, it may be difficult for her to reach her extremities, so you can help her by applying body lotion to hard-to-reach places.
In the run-up to birth and labour
- Make sure you’ve organised all the documentation needed for the hospital, that the car has been filled with petrol and that you’ve mapped out the route to the hospital.
- Compile a playlist with music she’d like to listen to in labour.
- Whatever you do, make sure you take pictures to capture all those precious moments during labour and birth!
After labour and birth
The advantages of skin-to-skin contact for babies is well documented for bonding, temperature and glucose regulation, and growth and development. Remember, that this is something that you can help with too.
You can also assist mom by controlling the number of visitors to your home, especially during the lockdown period, but most importantly, make sure you spend time alone together, talking, laughing and creating your ‘new family norm’.
Ruwaida Ismail Moola is a proud wife and mother of two sons. She is a practicing registered fertility nurse and midwife. She currently works as an independent midwife at Genesis Clinic and does occasional lectures in midwifery.
She also works at BioArt Fertility Clinic as a senior fertility sister. Learn more about Ruwaida Ismail Moola here.