Every week is a step closer to your baby’s delivery day…
You are 31 weeks pregnant and your baby has grown tremendously. If you have not done so yet, this is the time to put the final touches to your preparation for birth and reduce any unnecessary stress that may flare up.
Your baby at 31 weeks pregnant
Your baby is weighing about 3lbs to 3 1/3lbs in weight or about 1.5 kg. Although she has gotten a bit longer, she at this time is growing in weight than in length. She reaches about 41 centimeters or about 18 inches. Of course with growth comes more activity and the kicks are coming fast and furious. This happens too because her room space in the uterus has reduced as she grows. But your baby is also distinguishing between time to sleep and being awake. That is why you may find that there are more activities at certain times than others. At 31 weeks pregnant you should be keen about her movements and report to your midwife of doctor. Tell them if you notice any changes, especially very little movement.
Your baby is at this time taking on the features of a newborn and while you are making preparations for her arrival, she is spending her time hiccupping, breathing, swallowing, and pedaling her little hands and feet as she moves along the uterus. She is also sucking on her thumb profusely. It is said that some baby’s suck on their thumbs so much, they develop a callus that can be seen at birth. Is this a sign that they want something to eat?
Here is what’s taking place also at 31 weeks pregnant
In previous weeks, your baby’s head was super-size to the rest of her body. At 31 weeks, all organs and limbs are developing in proportion to each other. She also does not have a big heavy head anymore. Her organs are maturing and preparing for birth. Consider that she is now passing water from her bladder into the amniotic fluid that surrounds her. You may be wondering where this all goes. The mother’s body amazingly takes care of this as the water is secreted through her kidneys and passed out into her own urine.
In recent weeks we reported that the baby’s brain was forming out nicely with grooves and ridges to look more like an adult’s brain. At 31 weeks she is developing millions of brain cells that are now connecting and sending messages so she can use her senses. She is able to track light from outside the womb, feel your touch, and had it not been for the amniotic fluid in the closed amnion, she would be able to smell. Since she needs to breathe air to get to smell, yours will be the first scent she will be able to pick up when she is born and that she will use to bond with you right from birth.
Mom at 31 weeks pregnant
At 31 weeks pregnant you are steadily gaining weight and your tummy is getting very large. This will affect your posture making you unsteady. You may feel a bit clumsy when you get up to walk or as you try to move about. Be careful when you try to get into the shower or tub. Hold on to sturdy objects that will help you steady yourself.
If you feel the muscles in your tummy becoming tight, you are having what is called Braxton Hicks contractions, a natural occurrence in the third trimester. These are considered practice contractions, preparing you for the real ones that will occur during labor. Braxton Hicks contractions usually last round 30 seconds, and are irregular and painless.
If you find that the contractions you are having are frequent, contact your health care provider at once as you may be experiencing pre-term labor. It is even more imperative if the contractions are accompanied by vaginal discharge of heavy or watery mucus. This could be also tinged with blood.
You may also experience one or more of several symptoms that normally bother pregnant moms at this stage. Frequent urination continues to plague you and actually gets worse as more hCG hormone increases more blood flow to the kidneys. Blame it also on more waste being passed through the kidneys from both mother and baby. Not to mention also the pressure that an expanding uterus is putting on the bladder, making frequent trips to the bathroom bothersome, especially if you are out and not able to locate one easily.
A common problem in the third trimester is not able to sleep comfortably. A range of other problems seem to contribute to your lack of sleep not to mention the jolly old pregnancy hormones that will not let up until the day you deliver your baby. Leg cramps are frequent at this stage and may be keeping you up. You are unable to sleep also because you are often awakened by the need to go to the bathroom. Your heartburn also may feel like fire in your chest area and instead of sleeping, you are sitting up to ease the pain. You may very well be feeling anxious over the new baby, and all of these can affect your ability to sleep.
Some mothers have a headache problem at this stage of pregnancy. Your headache could be caused from sheer anxiety and tension, pregnancy fatigue, sinus congestion or allergies. Even mothers, who never usually get headaches before pregnancy, will find that they are having them now. Since you are denied any doctor prescribed medicine at this time, you may want to try some natural remedies to ease your headache. If the headache is caused from tension or migraine, try lying in a dark, quiet room for 15 minutes.
If you are at work, put your feet up and close your eyes. Your boss will understand if you can convince him that you are brainstorming. Where the sinuses are contributing to your headache, cover your head with a towel and inhale the steam from the hot water. You could also apply hot and cold compresses to the painful area, alternating between each. Talk to your doctor who will help you to get the right relief for your headache. Try also to prevent headaches by eating, resting, reducing stress and seeking peace and quiet.
What you could do this week
Think about the type of birth you would like and consult with your doctor on it. Remember that your doctor will be the expert who will guide you in the best way. Most women go for some kind of pain relief at labor. The most popular one being an epidural labor medication that provides pain relief to the lower part of the body while the upper parts remain conscious. Other women chose a drug free approach where they go through natural childbirth accepting all the pain and discomforts that come with it. Then there are those whom the doctor will decide that a C-section will be best due to complications that may arise during labor. This is a good time to discuss the process with your doctor and the implications for you and your baby.
At 31 weeks pregnant there is the reality that you are getting closer to delivery. You are definitely getting heavier as your baby puts on weight and becomes more active. At the same time, you are feeling the discomforts that come with the stage, but you have better things to do and think about right now.