Not all contractions mean that you're going to deliver soon, which at this point should have you breathing a sigh of relief! Just like your unborn baby's body takes time to develop and mature before he's ready for his birth, your body readies itself for labor by practicing. These beginner and sporadic contractions are called Braxton Hicks contractions. Although they do not lead to active labor, they do prepare your body (and your psyche!) for when the time comes. If you take time to sit down, put your feet up and drink a glass of water or two, these contractions will subside. Labor-inducing contractions don't stop even if you relax for an hour or two.
Nervous about working right up until your due date? Propose working from home a day or two during the last few weeks prior to taking off. It will help you ease into your leave without eating into your actual sanctioned time off. Oh, and don't forget to factor in any remaining vacation or sick days when you sit down with the calendar to hammer out your exit strategy; many companies will let you count them toward your time off.
It's Week 33 and you can just about see your due date on the horizon. But, since babies can be about as unpredictable as everything else in your life, it's a good idea to do what you can to prepare (which believe us, isn't as much as you think). If your idle hands are itching to do something in preparation for so much busyness around the corner, it might be time to put them (and your partner's) to work packing that hospital bag. But what exactly should you put in it? Opinions differ and we'll discuss the essentials in this week's podcast.