The following information -- and much more -- can also be found in the free weekly email Lamaze Pregnancy Week by Week. Sign up now to receive helpful information for your stage of pregnancy. Subscribers will be given the opportunity to complete a Lamaze Parent Satisfaction Survey after their pregnancy and receive a Lamaze Toys coupon. We want to hear about your birth experience and the impact that childbirth education may have had so that we can continue to make sure parents have the information they need for the safest, healthiest birth possible.
You're in week 20 of your pregnancy!
Pregnancy and birth are normal processes for a woman’s body. Our bodies are designed to grow, birth and nourish babies. Like other involuntary processes, we cannot consciously control pregnancy and birth unless we physically intervene. Did you need to learn how to make your heart beat? How to breathe? How to digest your food? How to produce hormones? No, you didn’t need to learn how to do any of these. You don’t have to do anything to make these processes work. You can support them, or you can intervene, but they will happen all on their own. You can trust them.
Trust your body. Trust yourself. Listen to the voice inside you that says you know how to grow this baby, how to bring forth this child, how to nourish your baby. You know how to be a mother.
What's New with Baby
Once you begin to feel your baby move, you may notice she is more active at certain times of the day. Your baby has already begun to follow sleep cycles and has definite periods of sleep and activity. You might be headed to your first ultrasound appointment this week, and this might be your first chance to see your baby and perhaps discover the gender. For girls, the uterus and ovaries are now fully formed and contain a lifetime’s supply of eggs. For boys, the testicles have begun their descent into the scrotum. Your little one has been busy growing, and now measures about 16 cm long—the length of a medium-sized banana.
What's New with You
Congratulations, you are now halfway to the finish line! Your growing baby is quickly taking up more and more real estate inside your abdomen. You may even begin to feel a little breathless from time to time, particularly during physical activity. This is a normal response to the growing baby and your uterus pressing against your diaphragm and cramping your lungs. Slow down when you feel breathless, taking time to concentrate on your breathing until the sensation goes away. Usually, this only takes a minute or two.
Story from a Mama who has been there
“My mother talked about birth being hard work—painful, yes, but an intensely physical experience with a tremendous reward when the work was done. I loved to hear her tell my birth story and those of my sister and brother. When she was pregnant with us, she refused to listen to the terrifying stories other women wanted to tell. My mother chose to be ignorant about birth over being in fear. She instilled faith in me that birth must be normal if there are this many people on the planet.”
“With my first baby, I’m sure I would have chosen the path that most women choose today—a medically-managed labor—if not for my friend Maureen. When her first baby was born, she used a midwife and had an unmedicated, low-tech birth. Maureen had 56 hours of back labor with this wonderful nine-pound girl, and she came away from it seeming so powerful and proud, not victimized and complaining like most other women I knew. She spoke about everything she did as if it were the natural way to give birth. She said labor was hard, but she was so high and felt so fine after her baby was born that I knew when I had my baby I would try to do it the same way. I realize now that this is just what women did before the last few generations became so terrified of birth. I learned from a woman who had walked the path before me, and I felt confident.”
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