As you make your way through your third trimester, the biggest thing you will notice is the amount of weight you and your baby are gaining. Eating a well balanced diet (which includes foods high in fiber to help with constipation) and drinking plenty of liquids such as water or juice, is crucial in this final stage. Continue your routine checkups with your healthcare provider, and make sure you ask all your questions.
Symptoms and Body Changes at 31 Weeks
As your baby gains weight, so do you. This thirty-first week of pregnancy signifies that birth is near, but it may feel like it’s not near enough! As your round ligament pain decreases, you may begin to experience back pain like never before. Sleeping comfortably for long periods is impossible for most expectant mothers, so try to relax and rest as much as possible in the position that is most comfortable for you. You should not sleep on your belly or flat on your back, however. A long body pillow can be very helpful to support your belly or back while you are sleeping. Your breasts begin preparing for lactation, and may begin leaking a sticky, yellowish substance called colostrum. This is perfectly normal. You may even begin leaking urine if you laugh, sneeze, or cough, and unfortunately, this too is normal. Kegel exercises may help, and wearing panty liners as a precaution is recommended.
At 15 inches and weighing between three and three and one-half pounds , your baby is over half the size he or she will be at birth. As baby fat continues to accumulate, your baby will gain weight much more quickly in these last two months. The digestive tract and lungs are almost mature, and the lungs are able to inflate properly at this point, producing surfactant to help prevent the collapse of the lungs after birth. The ears are fully developed, and your baby is listening to everything it can hear inside the womb. Babies at this stage can hear Mom’s breathing and heartbeat, they can hear music, and they can hear the voices of others. At this stage, very loud noises or events such as a rock concerts should be avoided!
The toenails and fingernails are fully formed, and the baby can even scratch itself in the womb. Amniotic fluid is extremely important at this point. Your baby is swallowing and urinating up to a half liter a day. If there’s too much amniotic fluid in the sac, it could mean your baby isn’t swallowing properly and could have gastrointestinal problems. If there is too little amniotic fluid, it could mean your baby isn’t urinating properly and could have kidney problems, or perhaps a placenta problem.
Your OB doctor should be using a measuring tape or ultrasound to assess the size of your belly or directly estimate the size of your baby. The size of your belly helps the doctor determine if there is a problem. If there is a discrepancy between the size of your belly and the stage you have reached in your pregnancy, your doctor may order an ultrasound to see what is going on.
Pregnancy Week 31 Tips
During this thirty-first week, many women are torn between loving and hating their bodies. Up until this point, you have gained weight at a steady pace. From this point on, however, you and your baby will begin to gain weight more quickly, and this can be difficult emotionally for some women. It’s very important in this trimester that you have a strong support team inside and outside your home. These groups can help you get through emotional times. It may help to talk to other expectant moms who are due around the same time you are due. They can help you see that you are not alone in what you are experiencing! Next is pregnancy at 32 weeks.
If this is your first baby, you should have begun some birthing preparation by now. Who is going to be the baby’s pediatrician? Have you registered for any childbirth preparation classes? Have you taken a tour of the birthing center or department where you are planning to deliver? Have you thought about saving the baby’s umbilical cord blood, or perhaps saving the placenta itself? Do you have the newborn car set yet? This is also the stage in pregnancy where many OB providers advise patients not to travel any distance from the hospital, perhaps no more than an hour or two away. So if you were planning a “baby-moon,” hopefully you have been able to get away for this by now!