Pregnancy Week 21 – Your Childbirth Options

(Scroll down for Guide to Childbirth)

What is happening this week?

20 weeks pregnant

20 weeks pregnant

  • Baby’s crown to rump length is 18 cm or 7 inches. Baby weighs about 300-350 grams or 10.5-12.3 ounces.
  • Baby is regularly swallowing amniotic fluid i increasing amounts.
  • Fingernails are beginning to grow. There is no danger of the baby scratching itself, since the skin is covered in vernix, a white lanolin-like coating.
  • Baby’s developing brain is picking up electrical signals from the baby’s body about sensations such as pressure and temperature. At this stage, a baby’s nervous reactions are not conscious but simply reflexes.
  • In girl babies the ovaries have descended from the abdomen into the pelvis.
  • You may have had an ultrasound and know your baby’s gender.
  • Baby’s nipples now appear on mammary glands.
  • Mom might have more vivid dreams or nightmares.
  • If mom is planning to breastfeed, a breastfeeding class is recommended.
If all you know about childbirth comes from what you’ve seen on TV – it doesn’t look like fun! There’s a lot of screaming, sweating and swearing! But it doesn’t have to be this way…

Have you decided on how you want to give birth to your baby yet? I always knew I wanted to go natural, I believe in the power of my mind and body so it’s only natural that I would research natural birthing options.

From what I’ve learnt so far a c-section is usually a traumatic experience, mostly afterwards and should only be used if absolutely necessary, which is in a very limited percentage of cases. If your pregnancy is low-risk, like mine, you just need to prepare yourself for a natural birth, women have been doing it for centuries!

I was deeply touched and empowered by Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth

Here are just a few things I learnt:

–  the mind-body connection during childbirth is extremely important. Your husband’s or partner’s words “you are marvelous” can help open your cervix.

–  “If any bodily process ever required a maximum degree of relaxation, it is birth.”

–  “An unwelcome or upsetting presence could stall labor.”

–  “A vagina is able to accommodate the size and shape of what it contains, whether we are talking about a penis or a baby. The big ‘secret’ is that it is better able to accomplish this task when we can imagine or ‘picture’ this happening.”

–  Birth just as “sexual intercourse may be extremely painful or ecstatically pleasurable, depending upon the skill and sensitivity of the sexual partner and the willingness of the female involved.”

–  “There are some good reasons why birth pain seems less for women who have home births. First, they are far less likely than women having hospital births to be confined to lying in bed during labor, to be denied food and drink, or to have stranger around them as they labor.”

–  “A change of position, attitude, or atmosphere in the birth room, and a host of other factors can utterly change the inner sensations of labor.”

–  “Labor pain is a special type of pain: It almost always happens without causing any damage to the body.”

–  “The state of relaxation of the mouth and jaw is directly correlated to the ability of the cervix, the vagina, and the anus to open to full capacity.”

–  “A good belly laugh is one of the most effective forms of anesthesia.”

–  “Deep abdominal breathing causes a general relaxation of the muscles of the body, especially muscles of the pelvic floor.”

–  “Immersion in a warm water bath can also be very calming to a laboring mother.”

–  “Women whose mouths and throats are open and relaxed during labor and birth rarely need stitches after childbirth. As long as they don’t push the baby out too fast, they tend to give birth without tearing or being cut.”

–  “Singing will maximize the ability of the body’s sphincters to open.”

–  “I have never noticed anyone’s cervix remain tight and unyielding while speaking loving and positive words.” So it’s best to feel love for your partner, love for your baby, love for the people taking care of you to have an easy delivery.

–  “The pelvis that might be a little small while you are lying on your back becomes significantly larger when you are on your hands and knees.”

–  Arm wrestling is an unusual but effective way to accelerate labor.

–  “Pleasurable intercourse during the last weeks of pregnancy helps the woman’s body to go into labor.”

–  “Nipple stimulation causes the release of oxytocin into the maternal bloodstream, and this oxytocin then stimulates contractions of the uterine muscles.”

–  “Breast stimulation is especially effective in starting labor at term when it is combined with sexual intercourse.”

–  “Some women must be upright or on all fours to have a baby.”

–  “It’s difficult to remain tense while in water. Water helps a woman enter the meditative state that favors effective labor.”

–  Thigh massage and hand pressure against the lower back can be very helpful during labor.

–  “Shaking the large muscles of the mother’s bottom or thighs is an effective way of helping some women relax during labor.”

–  “Most women are well equipped to give birth without the slightest injury, given the appropriate help, preparation, atmosphere, and consideration.”

–  “A woman could actually increase the size of her vagina during birth by directing her attention in the right way.” Like this woman who was thinking “I’m going to get huge” as she was pushing.

–  “Kegel’s pelvic-strengthening exercises consist of contracting the pelvic muscles for five to ten seconds at a time and working up to eighty squeezes a day. Several ancient cultures recognize the need for pelvic muscle strengthening after childbirth in the dances that women do.”

–  “I’ve never seen a tear in a woman who was kissing her way through the pushing phase of labor or touching herself as her baby emerged.”

–  “A sheela-na-gig figure can be a great help at birth.”

–  “As long as women go on accepting episiotomies, doctors will continue to cut them.”

–  “Midwives agree that premature babies especially benefit from later cord-clamping.”

–  “Your baby will have a much easier time adjusting to breathing and will be less likely to suffer from anemia if the cord is left intact for several minutes after birth.”

–  “Women are beautifully and admirably designed to give birth.”


You might also like:

Orgasmic Birth

Growing Pregnant Belly Week By Week

Are You Bonding With Your Unborn?

Prenatal Parenting

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Categories: Childbirth, Pregnancy Book/DVD/Product Reviews, Pregnancy Week by Week

Author:Alinka Rutkowska

Alinka is a best-selling and award-winning Children's Author.


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