Week 21: Doulas for labor support
A doula provides support consisting of praise, reassurance, measures to improve the comfort of the mother, physical contact such as rubbing the mother's back and holding her hands, explanation of what is going on during labour and delivery and a constant friendly presence.
-World Health Organization, Care in Normal Birth: A Practical Guide
What's Happening in Your Body?
By now, movements of the baby are distinct, especially after eating, drinking a cold beverage, walking around, and patting your belly. You may notice that it is helpful to sleep with more pillows, or even to purchase a large body pillow, to make sleeping more comfortable.
What's Happening with Your Baby?
Your baby is now about six to eight inches long, and still weighs less than one pound. If your baby is a girl, her clitoris has now formed.
Doulas for Labor Support
How would you like to:
- Reduce your labor time by 25 percent
- Decrease your chances of having a cesarean by 50 percent
- Reduce the likelihood that you will need interventions such as pitocin, forceps, or vacuum extraction by up to 40 percent
- Reduce the likelihood that you will ask for pain medication or an epidural by as much as 60 percent
- Decrease the likelihood that you will experience postpartum depression
- Improve your bonding experience with your baby
- Learn to breastfeed with greater ease
- Feel that you had an overall fantastic labor and birth experience
If that sounds good to you-and it's hard to imagine that it wouldn't sound good to any woman-then consider hiring a doula. Click here for more information about doulas. Nourish Yourself
Apricot-Nut Bread supplies necessary vitamin A (essential for vision and bone growth) and iron. It also tastes good and has a touch of moist sweetness to satisfy your dessert cravings.
Your changing weight and body distribution can cause back strain. Cat/Cow is a yoga exercise that is good for releasing the upper and lower back.
Get on your hands and knees on a yoga mat or towel. If your knees are tender, put additional cushioning underneath them.
Begin by slowly tilting your pelvis as much as possible until your buttocks are sticking up in the air. Raise your head and look towards the ceiling. Allow your belly to sag toward the floor as your spine arches.
Then begin to tilt your pelvis in the opposite direction and lower your head until you are looking at your knees. Your spine should make the shape of a C.
Continue to slowly move from one position to the other. Think of initiating the movement with the pelvis and allow the rest of the spine to follow it like a gentle wave.
During pregnancy, you may experience more headaches than you usually do. This could be because of tension, which is the most common reason for all headaches. Low blood sugar and increased sinus congestion might also cause headaches.
Avoid aspirin and ibuprofen products during pregnancy. Acetaminophen products (such as Tylenol) are usually considered to be safe. Check with your practitioner.
Before using painkillers, though, try these headache-relieving techniques:
- Use a cold compress or ice pack on your forehead.
- Rub peppermint oil on your forehead and temples, or place peppermint oil in an aromatherapy diffuser.
- Ask your partner to massage your head and temples. If you like, ask him to rub your forehead with Tiger Balm, a Chinese herbal salve available in most health food stores.
- Lie down in a dark room if you suspect your headache is tension-based. Try to incorporate more meditation and exercise into your daily schedule to help prevent tension.
- Be sure to eat regularly in order to avoid headaches that are the result of low blood sugar.
As your child grows inside of you, don't forget to honor the child that you once were. This week recreate a childhood memory: go out for an ice cream cone, have a sleepover with some of your buddies (perhaps at a nice bed and breakfast), go to the movies, or go on a picnic.
Image by Durga Yael Bernhard