1. Do not share your due date. Sharing that info only sets you up for pressure as your due date approaches, and the pressure only increases if you go past your due date. Those who know the due date may ask you why you aren't getting induced, if you and baby are ok, if there is something wrong ect. One idea I suggest is to give a due window like sometime in June or July instead of a definite date. I think this is the most important thing you can do to make life easier as your due date comes, and potentially goes before baby arrives.
2. Do not listen to birth stories. Birth stories are like fishing stories, they get bigger, scarier and more dramatic with each retelling. If you want to hear birth stories, source them from people you trust or read a book with birth stories such as Ina May's Guide to Childbirth by Ina May Gaskin.
3. Do not tell everyone when labor has begun. Sometimes labors are start and stop, or they may take longer than people think they should. You may start getting questions asking if everything is ok, what is the delay, and so on. Decide beforehand who needs to know your labor has started, and who you want to tell that you know isn't going to make it public.
4. Be prepared. Attending a good childbirth education class will help you be ready. I am not referring to the classes the hospital does that have a heavy emphasis on how to be a good patient and what to expect at the hospital. If you are planning on having your baby at the hospital, they can be a good supplement to childbirth education. Bradley classes, Birth Bootcamp and Hypnobabies are among the many good classes out there. Many have shifted to an online format which makes them easily accessible to everyone.
5. Practice the exercises, coping mechanisms and whatever else the childbirth education classes recommend to be prepared for birth. It will be much harder to draw on the skills, coping mechanisms and comfort measures if you haven't practiced them. Being familiar with them is not the same as having experience actually doing them.
6. Plan some fun activities to do to savor those last few days and weeks before your family grows with the birth of your baby. Sometimes the anticipation of baby arriving pulls focus away from savoring the last days or weeks before things change with birth.
7. Plan on your pregnancy going past your due date (you can read more about how accurate due dates are here). If you plan and expect to go past your due date then it's no big deal if baby hasn't come by the due date, and a bonus if baby has arrived.
8. Trust your body. Your body doesn't need any help and there isn't anything you have to do to go into labor. You won't be pregnant forever. Your baby and body know the perfect timing for birth.
9. Dial in your self care. This will look different for everyone. Ideas to get you thinking include buying that book you really want to read, getting a massage, taking naps, or watching that movie you've been meaning to get to.
10. Consider handing phone duty off to a friend, partner or other family member you trust until baby arrives. You may find you have lower stress letting someone else screen phone calls and text messages for you instead of having to interact with everyone who contacts you.
I hope you find something on this list that helps you have a less stressful time as your due date approaches, and perhaps passes. Please share any ideas you have, you can leave a comment below.
Update: A reader recommended making ahead freezer meals and easily made meals you can pop in the oven or crockpot after baby arrives.