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“That’s the key to the whole thing - being pregnant and giving birth. You just need to get in tune with your body, trust your instincts.”

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You’ve just got to learn to trust your own body.

Clare, Gateshead, UK

I had a blood test pretty early on in my first pregnancy and it showed low levels of PAPP-A. I didn’t know what that was, but the doctors said there was a risk I’d have a really small baby.

We had to go for monthly scans, and of course it was scary to start with. And when it’s your first baby you can’t help but imagine everything bad that could happen. But from around 12 weeks I started to really understand and trust my own body. I just knew he wasn’t going to be a small baby. I felt everything was ok, so it stopped being stressful. It was just really nice to see him every month, to watch him grow. It felt like we were getting to know him. I remember the 38-week scan - he looked so big, there was so little space left for him to grow into! He ended up being 9lb so I guess they were wrong!

The only downside was that, because of the PAPP-A thing, I had to change my birth plan. I wanted to be in the pool, but I couldn’t as I had to have monitors on all the way through. But that was fine too. I’m a pretty chilled person normally, so I wasn’t stressed, and in the end you just have to take things one step at a time. They’ve got to come out, and your body just takes over. I remember having this massive, overwhelming urge to push, to get him out, and then it was mind over matter. It hurt of course, and I did have some drugs to help, but it was fine. Looking back, I kind of regret the drugs as I felt pretty weird at some points, like I wasn’t in the room, but it’s what I needed at the time.

And I think that’s the key to the whole thing - being pregnant and giving birth. You just need to get in tune with your body, trust your instincts. You know what you need. If people say “you should be relaxing” or “you shouldn’t be doing that”,  just ignore them. Listen to your own body - it knows what you’re capable of. Same with the birth - you don’t know what’s coming, how long it will last, what your pain threshold is - but being stressed or scared doesn’t help. Your body will figure it out - you just have to get on with it.