Week 31 pregnant
If your baby is born now, it would probably be able to manage pretty well without too much intensive or special care. Baby’s temperature regulating ability wouldn’t be too good, so they would still need to be in an incubator or humidicrib to maintain an even body temperature.
This can be a special time in your pregnancy. You won’t be so big that moving around has become too challenging just yet, but it’s obvious to everyone that you are pregnant. This comes with some special privileges, especially if you are around other parents. For the first time ever, you may be offered someone’s seat on public transport, be invited to take the first place in a queue or other thoughtful gestures may be extended to you.
It is generally worthwhile to accept these invitations in the spirit in which they are offered. Even if you don’t feel as if you strictly qualify for special consideration at 31 weeks of pregnancy, you will need to get in some practice. The day will come when you will be very grateful for them.
Remember, pregnant women should be given special consideration – after all, it is their children who will someday be contributing to the lives of others as they age.
I feel yuckie!
If you’re feeling a little bit down why not treat yourself? So much focus can be on your coming baby that you may not be feeling as important as you would like. Have a massage, or a weekend away, or just go see a movie. Spending time with girlfriends and family can be incredibly restorative to a flagging spirit. Give yourself permission to invest some time into yourself and don’t feel guilty if you aren’t focusing on baby every minute of the day. For now, one of the best things you can do is to care well for baby’s mother.
Your physical changes this week
Your tummy is expanding even further at 31 weeks, causing your skin to stretch a little more, and more and more. Many women develop stretch marks in the third trimester and little can be done to stop them from forming. Try to watch your weight gain and aim to stick within the total recommended 10-12 kg range. You’ll find it so much easier to return to your pre-pregnancy weight if you do not have an excessive pregnancy gain.
You could notice yourself becoming short of breath now, especially if you are rushing about. Try to watch your posture and give your lungs as much room to inflate as they can. It’s getting crowded in your tummy now but the simple act of sitting up straight and pulling back your shoulders can give a much needed couple of extra centimetres to your mid region.
Colostrum could be leaking from your breasts this week, the yellowish-clear early milk which is so ideal for newborns. If you’ve had a baby before you could find you have more colostrum than if this is your first baby. Some women need to wear a nursing pad inside their bra on some days. If they are wearing a dark coloured top, leakages are more obvious.
Your body’s iron stores could be depleting now, so it’s very important that you do what you can to boost them. Your body needs Vitamin C to help it absorb dietary iron. So have plenty of fresh fruit and juice as well when you are trying to increase your iron intake. Red meat, green leafy vegetables, good quality cereals, dried fruits and legumes are all good sources of iron.
Your emotional changes this week
The delivery date is getting closer. A little apprehension is normal and healthy, but if you are consumed by anxiety or dreading labour, you will need to speak with someone. Fear causes a surge of cortisol, a stress hormone, to circulate within your body. A little is good, but too much, for too long can lead to stress-related health issues. Your midwife or doctor may have suggestions on what you can try to reduce your anxiety.
Your baby seems to be very much a part of you by now and it’s becoming harder to remember a time when you weren’t pregnant. When you are 31 weeks pregnant, you’ll start to imagine what life will be like after the baby is born, build hopes for the sort of parent you want to be and develop your own ideas on how you want to care for your baby.
You may feel confused because all the information available to you often seems contradictory - just remember that you and your baby are unique and that no two pregnancies are exactly the same. After baby is born is usually a time of peak confusion for a lot of parents, when they desire to do everything just right. Speak to your healthcare provider – their advice or comfort is sometimes all you will need.
Your baby’s changes this week
Your baby is getting taller with each passing day. It is around 46 cm this week, only 7 cm less than the average length of a baby born at term. Your baby is gaining more weight now than it is increasing in length. You’ll probably notice your baby’s weight increases when you step on the scales at your antenatal appointments.
Your baby is spending long periods of time in REM (Rapid Eye Movement) sleep. This is a stage of sleep that is so important that some researchers say humans actually have 3 states of being, awake, asleep and in REM sleep.
More brain and complex nerve activity happens this week. The connections or synapses in your baby’s brain are forming by the millions and are helped by the stimulation they receive in their insulated little world. Your voice, household noise, filtered light, movement and music will all help these vital connections to form.
Hints for the week
Your antenatal appointments will increase in frequency from now on. It is likely you’ll need to see your midwife or doctor monthly to assess your baby’s growth and how you are going. These visits can be very exciting even if they may seem a little repetitive. Important information is gathered at every visit and it is important not to let too much time lapse between them.
Stock up on fresh fish. Omega-3 Fatty Acids will directly impact your baby’s brain and eye health, so oily fish like sardines, salmon and even prawns are good sources. Aim to eat a handful of nuts every day and don’t shy away from butter, margarine and even a little cream.
If you have a desk job or spend long hours sitting, make a plan to move every hour. Getting up and going for a walk will help your lower limbs push your blood back through your general circulation. Aim to walk for exercise every day as well. Try to include a hill or two and increase your pace to get your heart rate going a little higher.
Become aware of your baby’s kick pattern. A general awareness of your baby’s movements and activity is a good thing to have. That way, if there is an overall decrease, you’ll be alert to it.
Mark your due date on your pregnancy calendar and compare your experiences with the information you’ve been given.
Week 32 is up next!