40 for 40!

40 Things to do in Ottawa When You’re 40 Weeks Pregnant

You are so done.

You want your baby to be healthy and come in his or her own time but this has been the longest 40 weeks of your life, and you're ready to meet your baby!

So, you could keep testing old wives tales and hoping labour begins, or you could try a few of our forty favourite activities that Ottawa parents can do when they've reached their due date.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

1.     Take a nap! For some, it seems counter intuitive to get more rest when they could be walking and lunging and stimulating labour, but we often find rest is just as useful for getting labour going if your body is ready.

2.     Play board games at the Loft Lounge

3.     Get a prenatal massage.

4.     Test your problem-solving skills at Escape Manor. You are locked in a room and have to solve a series of clues to escape!

5.     Tentatively schedule your newborn photography session.

6.     July through September visit Northern Lights, the Sound and Light Show on Parliament Hill . A nightly event, the show documents prominent figures and events throughout Candian history.

7.     Write a letter to your baby.

8.     Buy a baby book so you can document all your baby’s milestones.

9.     Have a sunset picnic at Westboro Beach.  

10. Install your baby’s car seat.

11. Finish up the nursery with a trip to Snuggle Bugz.      

12. Stock up on nutricious snacks to fuel your postpartum recovery.       

13. Fondue Monday’s at Absinthe.

14. Prepare to breastfeed with a private consultation from an Ottawa IBCLC.

15. Beat those hot flashes with gelato at Montovani.          

16. Prepare slow cooker freezer meals for easy to make dinners after you baby comes.

17. Visit the National Gallery of Canada.

18. Go to a movie.

19. Visit your chiropractor to ensure everything is lined up for your baby’s birth.

20. See an acupuncturist. They know a few things about getting labour started.

21. On Wednesdays, head over to Yoga on Parliament Hill. Modify any poses for comfort.

22. Picnic at Andrew Hayden Park and visit the lighthouse for fabulous views.

23. Indulge in a pedicure.

24. Buy yourself flowers at Lansdowne Farmer’s Market.    

25. Spend an afternoon at ByWard Market.

26. Indulge in a sweet treat and amp up your Instagram game at The Cupcake Lounge, or SuzyQ Doughtnuts.  

27. Go window shopping in Westboro Village.

28. Paint some pottery at Mud Oven.

29. Buy a baby carrier.

30. Go for a Capital Country Drive.

31. Feed the animals at Omega Park.

32. Make labor-aide!

33. Play with Pinterest! Create some new boards for your parenting adventures with pins for making baby food, nursery rhymes, baby activities, etc.

34. Visit UC Baby Ottawa for 3D/4D ultrasound. Late pregnancy ultrasounds can be a little tricky when it comes to visibility but it’s a great way to feel connected before your baby’s birth. The heartbeat bears make a great gift for grandparents-to-be!

35. Sign up for a baby registry and make it easy for your baby shower attendees to pick the perfect gift. If you’ve already prepared your baby gift registry, go over it and make sure your needs haven’t changed.

36. Hire a birth doula! It’s never too late, unless your baby has already been born. In that case you should…

37. Hire a postpartum doula.

38. Shop for nursing tops and dresses.

39. Write a postpartum plan! We’d love to help!

40. Get some serious rest and relaxation. Whethers its just a quiet noght in, a long soak in the tub, or an afternoon of Netflix, your body has been working very hard for the past nine months. Put your feet up!

Doula Myths Busted!

I'm probably not what most people picture when they hear the term doula. No paisley, no Birkenstocks, no sage smudge. In fact, you could confuse me for any professional, because that's what I am, a professional. Don't get me wrong; many doulas do wear paisley and Birks, and smudge their spaces. Those attributes have nothing to do with how professional a person is. I guess what I am trying to say is that the doula profession is like any other, we are diverse individuals with a job to do. Some wear slacks and blazers; others wear flowing skirts, still other wear denim and leather. Stereotypes about the way doulas dress are just the beginning.

Doula work as a profession is a relatively new career path. Anything new has its misconceptions. Let's get right to it and clear up a few of the most common myths about doulas!

“Oh! Like a midwife!”

Yes, and no.

When I tell people that I am a doula, this is the most common response I get. Like midwives, doulas work with pregnant people and new parents. Doulas and midwives both tend to approach birth as a normal physiological process, and have a passion for supporting pregnant people. That’s where the similarities start to fade. Midwives catch babies; doulas do not. You see, a midwife’s job is to focus on the physical health of the parent and baby. Midwives manage all of the medical and clinical aspects of pregnancy, birth, and postpartum. Doulas fill the gap with emotional support and assistance with comfort measures during childbirth.

Doulas are only for homebirths.

Doulas are for every birth! Doulas work with clients planning homebirths and water births, un-medicated births in hospitals, birth centre births, birth with the use of medical pain relief, including epidural and even planned caesarian birth. Doulas are for people giving birth and people who have recently given birth.

A doula will replace (or displace) my partner.

You or your partner might be concerned about how a doula could interfere with how your partner experiences your baby's birth. A doula can never replace a loving partner, who knows you intimately, loves you, and is going through the birth on a personal level. In fact, a doula can help facilitate bonding between you and your partner during labour. Reassuring your partner, guiding them, and teaching them techniques to comfort you are a big part of what your doula can do. Further, I find partners are relieved to have someone else that can stay should they need to eat, step out for a phone call, or use the bathroom.

Doulas don’t do epidurals.

Totally false. Doulas love epidurals. Many of us have used epidurals as pain relief for our own births. For clients that are planning to have an epidural or decide to have an epidural placed during labour, doulas continue to provide the same level of committed support.

Most of the myths and misconceptions surrounding doulas focus on a preference for "natural", un-medicated birth or being a replacement for a midwife. However, at the core of this work is a belief in supporting choices. I am a doula not because I want people to choose or experience a specific way of birthing but because I want people to have the experience they wish. I am a doula because I believe people need support and reassurance, and to feel safe and educated. It doesn't matter to me if the birth they dream of takes place in a birth pool in their living room or an operating room at the local hospital.

 

How Do I Avoid Perineal Tearing?

 

The thought of a perineal or vaginal tear is, well, tearifying.

Your vagina is required to stretch significantly to accommodate your baby’s birth. And while your body is designed to stretch in this way, that doesn’t always mean you’ll escape the experience laceration-free.

So How Can I Prevent Tearing During Childbirth?

 

While nothing is foolproof, there are some strategies that have proven useful in reducing your risk, including:

·       Perineal massage. Some studies have shown that when giving birth vaginally for the first time, the risk of lacerations was reduced when perineal massage was used. Other studies have shown that perineal massage is not helpful, and may make tearing worse. Talk to your primary care provider about whether perineal massage is right for you, and how to do it safel. 

·       Different positions for pushing. You can try pushing on your side, on all fours, or squatting. Your doula or partner can help you get repositioned. Listen to your body and do what feels most comfortable for you. If something isn’t working, change it up.

·       Professional guidance during crowning. You may be asked by your primary care provider to pant or breathe deeply without pushing for a few moments, giving your perineum time to stretch more effectively. Follow these instructions to help ease your body through childbirth. One trick is to think about blowing like you are trying to keep a feather in the air; a sustained and upwards breath.

·       Warm compresses. Not only can warm compresses be very soothing, using them as the time to push gets closer will help relax your perineum.

 

Perineal tears happen as your baby’s head is being birthed. Most perineal trauma is considered superficial and either requires no treatment or minimal stitching. Should you require stitches the area will be numbed. If all is well with you and your baby, you’ll be busy snuggling your little one while your primary care provider repairs the area.

After birth your bottom will likely be sore, regardless of whether you have stitches or lacerations. You can ease your discomfort by using a perineal bottle (squirt bottles generally supplied by your hospital or midwife) to rinse your vulva while you pee. Rinse the area again after you’re done, and pat gently dry with tissue. You may find ice packs  comforting or, if it feels better, a warm compress.

There are several commercial products available to lessen discomfort as well.  They include numbing sprays, perineum healing sprays, or perineal spray of your choice) and herbal combinations for sitz baths. Talk to your primary care provider about what may work to speed up your own recovery.

If you’re feeling fearful about how perineal tearing may affect your postpartum recovery, talk to your doula or primary care provider. With a little planning for birth and post-birth care, you’ll feel more confident about the process.  Plus, being prepared will help get you back to feeling like yourself faster.  In this case, having more information is a win!