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5 Things to Do Before You Go Into Labor

So you’re in the home stretch. You’ve printed out the checklists, oohed and aahed over all your shower gifts, and fought about names. Now you’re sort of just...waiting. The last few weeks of pregnancy are a tightrope--on one side, you don’t feel like doing much at all. On the other side, you have to do all the things because you could go into labor at any second and what if the baby’s room is the wrong shade of gray?

Whether you’re trying to do a million things or just stocking up on sleep, here’s 5 things I found essential to cross off my list before going into labor.

1. Get a pedicure, massage and maybe even bikini wax. While I'm not a huge fan of the whole “get a blowout and bring your makeup” idea (sorry, but a blowout doesn't last me ten minutes on a day where I'm not pushing a baby out of my hoo-hah), I do think you should feel good about yourself when everyone’s snapping pics of you and the new babe. And feeling good means something different for every mama. I remember being in the delivery room staring at my gnarly toenails like “Really? On the day where my toes are framing about a million faces, this is how they look?” My mom tribe also recommended getting a prenatal massage, a haircut (especially a low-maintenance one) or even trimming things up (ahem) down there. We bet you could use some pampering at this point in your pregnancy, plus a pre-hospital spa day might help keep your head in the game, you know, like a well-groomed quarterback.

2. Deep clean your kitchen. It'll be a while before you have the luxury of spending more than an hour on anything once the little one gets here, so take advantage of the relative calm (and that nesting urge!) and empty out the fridge and the cupboards. I'm a bit of a germaphobe on a good day, but I was ten times worse when I thought that every surface in my house was going to spread some incurable illness to my newborn. Once your fridge is clean and empty, you can restock it with pre-prepared, freezer-friendly meals. I made about six weeks worth of pasta sauces, mac & cheese, and stews and it saved my whole life.

3. Go on a date night. Even if this isn't your first child, chances are you've gotten used to it just being the two (or three, or six) of you. A new baby will definitely demand all of your attention for a little while. Get dressed up, take advantage of the (relatively lower) cost of childcare, and go try that new restaurant you've been curious about. Or check out a concert, or go bowling—or anything that wouldn't be as much fun with a stroller.

4. Pack your bags. Labor can strike at any time! Ok, kidding. Well, kind of. While most first time moms actually go past their due date, and even a sizable number of second and third time mamas, I felt like a ticking time bomb as soon as I hit 37 weeks. Having my labor bag packed in advance made me feel much more prepared. It didn't help that I left it at home the day they decided to induce me, but at least my husband didn't have to run around looking for anything.

5. Run your errands. Trust me when I say that you will not have time to run around doing all the things you normally do once that baby gets here, and that's if you even feel like leaving the house. Here's the big one: return all the things that you didn't want or got duplicates of at your shower, because once you come out of that new baby fog you're likely to be past the return window. Then put as much of your life on autopilot as you can. I scheduled deliveries of groceries, diapers, paper towels, trash bags and all the other household goods that I knew we’d be likely to run out of.

Finally, enjoy the countdown! It's almost time to meet that baby. And if you don't get around to everything, don't worry. It will still turn out perfect.

Photography by Amy Frances for Well Rounded.

Who says you have to wait for birthdays or holidays to give your bestie a great gift? A sweet surprise that tells her you've been thinking of her might be the pick-me-up she needs in these more-than-trying times. We've rounded up some of our favorite go-to gifts that are certain to be a bright spot in her week. But be warned, you may want to snag a few for yourself. (You deserve it, mama.)

Here are some our favorite "just because" gifts to give our hardworking mama friends.

New Mother face + body care duo

volition face + body care duo

This correcting oil and stretch mark minimizer is perfect for the pregnant mama looking to keep her pregnancy glow. The correcting oil brightens the skin while reducing dark spots, and the stretch mark minimizer works to smooth her ever-growing belly.

$70

Allover roller

esker allover roller

This jade roller goes beyond your typical face roller and can be used anywhere on the body. It works to increase stimulation and reduce puffiness and is perfect for applying any oils to the face or body. Plus, it feels like a mini spa treatment.

$65

Kombucha making kit

farmsteady kombucha making kit

What could be a more perfect gift for the health-obsessed friend? This kombucha making kit comes with everything you need to brew your own homemade green tea kombucha. They'll think this is the tastiest gift ever.

$45

Laetitia lipstick

cupid & psyche laetitia

This red lipstick is perfect for your makeup enthusiast bestie who is looking to spruce up her life in quarantine. Crafted in the United States, these bee and vegan-friendly and cruelty-free lipsticks are created to flatter all complexions. Cupid and Psyche Beauty makes finding the perfect red lip way too easy!

$23

Jigsaw puzzle

inner piecec jigsaw puzzle

Mamas need to destress now more than ever during quarantine. This adorable jigsaw puzzle is perfect for the mama who needs a brain break! The 500-piece puzzle designed by artist Ray Oranges features an abstract gradient design that fits a standard frame when completed. Bonus: It's printed on recycled paper and the company donates $1 from every puzzle sold to youth mindfulness programs.

$30

Matilda's Bloombox

matilda's bloombox

If we have to be stuck inside, we might as well have some gorgeous florals to brighten up the space. Matilda's Bloombox locally sources blooms, delivers them to her door and provides simple tips on how to arrange it into a beautiful bouquet.

$39

'I Am Enough' bracelet

I Am Enough bracelet

Let this dainty bracelet serve as a constant reminder to your bestie that she is enough. She'll wear this on her wrist and read this daily oath to herself, "I Am Enough."

$35

Glow assorted teas

vahdam low assorted teas

This tea gift box set covers the entire spectrum of flavors from sweet to spicy. Individually packaged in beautiful tins, your gal pal will feel like a queen sipping her morning tea. Originally $40, this set is currently on sale for just $24. We'll take two, please.

$24

Find your voice journal

find your voice journal

Journaling is a great way to ease anxiety and will slow your bestie's racing mind before bed. This gift is perfect for first time journalists and includes prompts, daily quotes and coloring pages to help her unlock her potential and find her voice.

$22

Premium frother

shore magic premium frother

This gift is fitting for your latte-sipping bestie who can't go a day without her coffee. All she has to do is add two scoops of collagen to her favorite drink, and she'll have a perfectly foamy drink ready in seconds. Skipping the drive-thru line has never been so easy!

$25

Bath soak infusion kit

maude bath soak infusion kit

Say hello to hydration! She'll be feeling smooth and relaxed as ever after a long bath soaking in these salts. This vegan + cruelty-free set incorporates dead sea salt and dehydrated coconut milk powder for an ultra hydrating experience.

$32

Tiny Tags 'mama' necklace

Tiny Tags 'mama' necklace

It's a hard-earned title she answers to a hundred times per day. Whether she's new to the club or a seasoned professional, this delicate script 'mama' necklace is guaranteed to be a perfect fit.

$105

Superfood honey

Beekeeper's Naturals B.Powered honey

With a lack of sleep and jam-packed days, getting through the afternoon can be a real challenge. Send her a powerful pick-me-up in the form of a therapeutic blend of royal jelly, bee pollen, propolis and raw honey. It makes the ideal companion for tea, smoothies, yogurt or even on its on.

$17

Calming midnight mask with melatonin

Who doesn't deserve a reminder to pamper themself every once in awhile? Even better, this mask does all its work at night while you're sleeping with no extra effort needed. It's an amazing plant-powered antioxidant-packed mask that has melatonin, wild dandelion leaf and hyaluronic acid to rehydrate, repair and reset facial skin. It's so good, you might want to gift it to yourself. We won't tell, mama.

$68

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Why do all of my good parenting or baby-focused inventions come after they've already been invented by someone else? Sigh.

Like the Puj hug hooded baby towel, aka the handiest, softest cotton towel ever created.

Safely removing a wet, slippery baby from the bath can be totally nerve-wracking, and trying to hold onto a towel at the same time without soaking it in the process seems to require an extra arm altogether. It's no wonder so much water ends up on the floor, the countertops, or you(!) after bathing your little one. Their splashing and kicking in the water is beyond adorable, of course, but the clean up after? Not as much.

It sounds simple: Wash your child, sing them a song or two, let them play with some toys, then take them out, place a towel around them, and dry them off. Should be easy, peasy, lemon squeezy, right?

But it hasn't been. It's been more—as one of my favorite memes says—difficult, difficult, lemon difficult. Because until this towel hit the bathtime scene, there was no easy-peasy way to pick up your squirming wet baby without drenching yourself and/or everything around you.

Plus, there is nothing cuter than a baby in a plush hooded towel, right? Well, except when it's paired with a dry, mess-free floor, maybe.

Check out our favorites to make bathtime so much easier:

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Our list of 100 baby names that should be on everyone's list this year includes more choices than in the past of names that are obscure and surprising. That's because there are so many more unusual baby names coming into widespread use and baby namers have become a lot more adventurous.

Expectant parents do not need to be told to move beyond Jennifer and Jason. Their thinking about names has evolved to the point that the most useful thing we can do is offer a large menu of intriguing choices.

Here are our picks for the 100 best surprising + unusual baby names now.


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