In the 31st week, your baby’s lungs are being prepared for life outside your belly . Find out how far along your baby is and why it’s time to write a birth plan now
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This is what happens to you
Depending on how much your abdominal girth has already increased in the 31st week, it may well be that you can still do a lot of sport. However, some moms-to-be are already experiencing noticeable discomfort.
Our tip: Relieve your body as often as possible. Put your legs up and make sure you can relax. Drinking a lot helps super against complaints such as water retention, spider veins, varicose veins or even constipation.
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It’s not too late to prepare your body for birth with gentle sports. How about a yoga class for pregnant women?
Good to know: Not all women have colostrum coming out of their breasts during pregnancy. Even if no colostrum comes out, it doesn’t mean you can’t breastfeed.
31. WOP: Time for your birth plan
Your personal birth plan is super important for you. It gives you the opportunity to tell the hospital or your midwife what is important to you during the birth.
Think about what is important for you. Here are some examples:
- Do you want painkillers – if so, which ones?
- Is an epidural an option or not?
- Do you want to receive labor-promoting or labor-inhibiting drugs?
- Do you want to be able to move during the CTG?
- Who will support you in the delivery room?
- What birthing positions do you want to take?
- Do you want the umbilical cord to pulsate out?
The birth plan belongs in your hospital bag. When you check into the clinic, you should hand it to the staff. A birth is always individual and cannot always be planned.
However, a birth plan is a great way to communicate your wishes about the birth.
What you should know about cesarean section
In Germany, about one third of babies are born by cesarean section. Even though a birth is a very special event, many moms-to-be decide to have a C-section.
Everything you always wanted to know about a cesarean section, you will learn in this section.
What is a C-section?
A Cesarean section – also known as a Caesarean section or Sectio – is a surgical procedure to deliver your baby.
A distinction is made between a planned caesarean section(primary caesarean section) and an unplanned caesarean section(secondary caesarean section). In addition, there is also the cesarean section on demand.
A planned C-section is necessary for medical reasons. It is planned in advance by you and the doctors and performed on a fixed date.
It is important that a planned C-section is performed before the onset of labor. An unplanned C -section becomes necessary during birth – usually triggered by complications.
An elective cesarean section has no medical necessity. It is performed at a planned time for personal reasons.
What is the procedure for a cesarean section?
A cesarean section always takes place under anesthesia. You have the choice between different types of anesthesia: local anesthesia – also called local anesthesia – numbs only the area to be operated on.
With this method, you will experience the cesarean section fully conscious. This has the advantage that you can see your baby in your arms immediately after the birth.
Alternatively, there is the possibility of general anesthesia. Some expectant mothers want to experience as little of the operation as possible.
Caution: However, a general anesthetic carries the risk that the anesthetic will enter your baby’s blood via your placenta. As a result, he or she will initially be slightly dizzy after the birth.
The actual procedure: An 8 to 12 cm incision is made on the lower abdomen. The various layers of skin, subcutaneous tissue and fat are cut through and the muscles are pushed apart to the right and left.
Your uterus is then opened and stretched until your baby fits through. The umbilical cord is tied and cut.
Your baby will then be examined by a midwife while you receive medical care after the procedure. If your baby is doing well, you can hold your baby in your arms.
After the cesarean section, you and your baby will stay in the postpartum ward for about 4 to 7 days for follow-up care. After a cesarean section, there are also afterpains.
What are the reasons for a cesarean section?
The reasons for a cesarean section are very different. While a C-section must be considered for some reasons, expectant moms also make a conscious decision to have one.
Find out at a glance which reasons speak for a cesarean section:
Compelling medical reasons for a cesarean section (absolute indication)
- Transverse position of the baby
- Pelvic deformities of the mommy
- A (threatening) rupture of the uterus
- The placenta is close to the cervix and/or covers the cervix (placenta praevia)
- Placental abruption
- The umbilical cord lies in front of your baby and becomes trapped (prolapsed umbilical cord)
- Acute infection of the egg cavity, placenta and egg membranes
- Undersupply of oxygen to the baby
- Eclampsia or HELLP syndrome
Medical arguments for cesarean section (relative indication)
- Pelvic end presentation
- Large baby with more than 4500 g birth weight
- Multiple birth
- Previous cesarean section
- Previous vaginal surgery
- Delayed birth or birth arrest
Personal reasons for an elective cesarean section
Complications with a cesarean section
Complications with you
Like any surgical procedure, a C-section involves certain risks. Before the surgery, your doctor will explain to you that in exceptional cases, these complications may occur:
- Blood loss
- Blood clots
- Injury to adjacent organs
- Wound healing disorders
- Anesthetic incidents
- Paralysis symptoms
- Tingling sensations
- Adhesions at the cesarean scar
While many moms associate their C-section with a positive birth experience, some women suffer from psychological problems after the procedure, which can even extend to post-traumatic stress disorder.
Loss of control, grief or guilt over the perceived weakness of not having given birth to their child naturally can lead to this.
A C-section is not a sign of weakness, but in many situations the best choice for you and your baby.
Complications for your baby
Unfortunately, certain risks for your baby during and after a C-section can never be completely ruled out. Some babies who are born by cesarean section initially suffer from adaptation problems.
However, the risk is relatively low. Doctors and midwives will do everything to make sure that you and your baby are well and that you can go home soon.
What happens to the baby
In the 31st week of pregnancy, your baby is about 42 cm tall and weighs about 1600 grams.
This is how far your baby has developed in the 31st week of pregnancy
In the 31st week, it is slowly becoming very tight in your belly for your baby. Therefore, you may feel fewer kicks and nudges. Don’t worry, this is completely normal.
The position of your baby in your tummy also changes in the 31st week. He or she will now nestle more and more against the wall of your uterus and slowly begin to turn his or her head in the direction of the birth canal. This is how it gets ready for birth.
A lot is happening in your baby’s head now. The brain is developing its furrow structure. This leads to a higher brain activity.
Joints are now forming between the bones of the skull, which are covered with connective tissue. These so-called fontanelles can thus move against each other.
This has the advantage that your baby’s head fits more easily through your birth canal. Only after birth do the fontanelles slowly grow together to form solid bones.
Lung maturation is almost complete during this week. This increases the chance of survival outside the womb.
Nevertheless, if your baby were born prematurely in the 31st week of gestation, it would not yet be able to breathe on its own, i.e. without the help of equipment. The little one would still need support to breathe. But this is completely normal.
This is important now
Afraid of the birth? These tips will help you
It is completely normal if you are a little afraid of the birth. With these tips it will be easier for you to prepare for the birth.
Talk with other moms-to-be
The most important thing is to talk about your worries and fears. Moms who have already given birth can share their experiences with you.
Familiarize yourself with the place of birth
Birth center, clinic or home birth? How would you like to bring your baby into the world?
Usually, every maternity hospital offers an open day where you can be shown around and ask any questions you may have. There you can get a first impression.
Listen to your gut feeling and make sure that you feel comfortable.
Inform yourself about the birth process
Knowing what to expect can ease your anxiety. The more you know, the better you can handle the unfamiliar situation.
Important facts about the 32nd week: What you should know
In the 31st week of pregnancy, there are about 9 weeks left until the birth. Even if you are already full of anticipation, you should prepare yourself mentally and physically for the birth and deal with it.
In this article you have learned everything about cesarean section and now you know why a birth plan is very useful. You can ask your midwife for helpful tips on how to best prepare your body for birth in the 31st week.
Do you already know how and where you want to deliver your baby? And what name do you want to give your baby? Now is the best time to think about it.
In the 31st week, I recommend that you write your birth plan. Think about how and where you want to deliver your baby. A birth plan is a great way to let your midwife and doctors know what you value in your birth. Ask your midwife for a birth plan. Alternatively, there are downloads and templates online that you can look at for inspiration. This kind of preparation gives most moms a good feeling. This way they have some control over the unfamiliar situation and could be more relaxed about the birth.
In the 31st WOP, your baby is training to breathe in and out.
In the 31st week of pregnancy, the cervix should be about 40 mm long. However, this varies from woman to woman.
In the 31st week your baby is about 42 cm tall.
Your baby weighs about 1600 g in the 31nd week.
Your doctor can tell you by ultrasound which position your baby has taken in the 31st week.
As soon as you feel contractions, it won’t be long before you can hold your baby in your arms.
WOP 31 videos
Find out how Kristi and Lindsay are doing in the 31st WOP.