31 Weeks Pregnant

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So it’s the 31st week of pregnancy and the birth date is just a few weeks away! Congratulations on being 31 weeks pregnant. Let me tell you what to expect during this week.

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Mommy Matters

Colostrum or pre-milk is the yellow- colored creamy substance that you have probably noticed leaking from your breasts. It is a much thicker substance than the breast milk that will be produced afterward. This is the prelude to breast milk and usually carries on after the birth for several days. Not every woman produces colostrum but it is quite normal whether you do or don’t.

The leaking usually happens at a certain time of the day and if it is during the day then you will probably want to use some breast pads. You put these in your bra and they absorb up any excess leakage.

Your blood volume peaks around this time. This extra volume is largely due to an increase in the plasma and fluid content of the blood, while the number of red blood cells remains the same. This means the red blood cells become less concentrated, a common cause of anemia in late pregnancy. There is no need to worry about the baby though, since he will still receive all the nutrients and oxygen he needs to thrive.

Baby Watch

As your baby exercises his limbs, his muscle mass increases and muscle tone improves, so his movements become stronger and more purposeful.

At 31 weeks pregnant, the baby will weigh about three pounds and although it will continue to put on weight, it will not really get much longer than sixteen or seventeen inches. All the other body parts are now in proportion with the head. The internal organs are still developing and the bladder will already be passing water. Until now, the liver will have been producing red blood cells but now the bone marrow will be doing this.

At 31 weeks pregnant, the baby won’t be keeping to a day or night routine as far as sleeping and moving about goes but it will have regular patterns and will also be able to recognize when it is light or dark. Tell your midwife if you notice anything different in these patterns.

Baby Weight and Size

At 31 weeks pregnant, your baby measures around 16-5/8 inches (42.4 cm) long from crown to heel! Her weight is now around 1.7 kg (3 lbs 10 oz), just about the size of a large jicama.

Infographic

31 Weeks Pregnant Infographic

 

31 Weeks Pregnant Symptoms and Remedies

At 31 weeks pregnant, you may be experiencing Braxton Hicks contractions. They may have begun much earlier, in mid-pregnancy, but they are more common in the latter stages. Braxton Hicks are known as practice contractions and it is when the muscles of your uterus tighten for anything from thirty seconds to two minutes. They are not to be confused with proper labor contractions but they will prepare you for the real thing. They also give you a chance to practice breathing exercises that you will have learned in your ante-natal classes.

Tips and To Do’s

Pain relief options during D-day

You and your partner may be getting a bit nervous by this stage and you can go over everything that you have learned together at the classes in preparation for the birth. It is also a good time to think about the pain relief that you may or may not want during the birth. This could be gas and air, an epidural or you may even be considering actual pain-killing drugs like pethidine, meptid or diamorphine. If you want to try a TENS machine during labor, then you need to decide if you want to buy your own one or hire one. You can look online to check the options and prices for these.

Premature/ caesarean birth concerns

If you have already had a premature birth then you are probably feeling a bit anxious about it happening again. Check with your midwife about the possibilities of this.

You may be having a caesarean birth so you need to find out what it is all about if you haven’t done so already.

Glucose test

Check about the glucose tolerance test and why you may need one.

Option of traveling is still there

It’s still possible to fly if your pregnancy has been fine and you and the baby are in good health. So there’s still time for a last-minute break if you desire. Please refer to the travel policies of US airlines here.

SIDS risk

If you are registering for or even buying a crib set then please forget about bumpers, pillows, blankets, and stuffed cuddly toys. They may be cute but they all pose a serious SIDS risk!

It is good to be checking your baby’s movements all the time. There is a non-profit group known as First Candle and they are behind the Back To Sleep SIDS -Prevention campaign. They advise monitoring and charting your baby’s movements in the uterus from the 28th week of pregnancy.

Preeclampsia

If you notice any adverse swelling in your face or headaches and vision problems then this could be a sign of preeclampsia and you need to get this checked with your doctor.

Prenatal Appointment

You may have a routine prenatal appointment where your blood pressure an urine are checked, and your uterus will be measured. You will also be checked for sign  of preeclampsia.

Preparations to welcome newborn baby

If you already have children then they will be getting excited as well about the arrival of a new sibling. Make sure that they are well prepared for this and that they know what will be involved. It is important that they are reassured that they will not be left out in any way. If you don’t already have children of your own but have nieces and nephews then likewise, they will need to be re-assured that you will still have time for them. It may be that they are used to having you to themselves up until now and they must understand what a new baby will mean for all of you.

Finally, do a final check on your hospital bag so that you are well-prepared!

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