31 weeks pregnancy

At 31 weeks pregnant, you may find your baby’s acrobatics a little uncomfortable and may even be leading to a few sleepless nights, but you can always take comfort in knowing that an active baby is also a healthy baby. It is certainly not unusual for many women to begin feeling a little anxious about the impending birth, however, the more extreme forms of this fear is known as Tokophobia (an intense fear of giving birth naturally).

31 Weeks Pregnant

Tokophobia comes in 2 forms; Primary and Secondary. The first pre-dates pregnancy and can begin as early as adolescence and the second is associated with an earlier traumatic experience of childbirth. If you suffer from Tokophobia, advise your midwife of this and you will be referred to a consultant obstetrician or even a psychologist who specialises in this area.

This type of intense fear can often manifest itself into nightmares, extreme anxiety or even panic attacks. Some experts believe that hypnotherapy can help to tackle any subconscous fears of childbirth. A caesarean may even be recommended if your fear of having a natural birth cannot be overcome.

For those that have decided and feel comfortable with the idea of giving birth naturally may decide that they would like to have a pain-free experience none the less. This is often undertaken with an epidural. It is worth knowing, however, that labour has to be well established before you can have an epidural, so you’ll still experience some painful contractions. If it is your first pregnancy, it can be difficult to gauge exactly how you are going to feel so an epidural is something that you can opt for at the last minute. You can also change your mind halfway through labor as well.

However, electing to have a caesarean is a planned procedure. It is generally performed for medical reasons and not usually offered as a preferential option. The reason is that it is a major abdominal surgery and unless absolutely necessary, a vaginal birth is generally considered to be a safer option. Recovery from a vaginal birth is also much quicker too.

What exactly is an ‘active birth?’

An active birth is remaining mobile during the first stage of labor and remaining upright, squatting, kneeling or gently gyrating on all-fours during the second stage of labor. This makes delivery much easier, quicker and less painful. By working with gravity, not against it, it helps your pelvis to open and encourages the baby’s head to press on your cervix, helping it to dilate.

To prepare for an active birth, you can always practising squatting. It can take time to learn to do it effectively, given the extra weight you are carrying, but make sure you have sufficient support – say holding onto your partner or a firm chair, for example. You can use a birth ball or beanbag to practise kneeling. You can also remain active if your pregnancy has been induced. If you have been provided with a drip, simply ask the nurses for one with a long tube that will allow you to still move around a little.

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(See Pregnancy Week 31 – The Baby’s Development)


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