As you enter week 31 of pregnancy, your baby is nearly completely developed. He or she will have five functioning senses, their brain will be getting bigger and smarter, and their muscles and bones are strengthening on a daily basis.
Your body has changed a lot since the first few weeks after conception. You’ve likely put on weight and have a big, round baby bump protruding from your abdomen. At 31 weeks pregnant, there are just over 2 months of the gestation period left to go and many changes still to happen. Read on to find out more information about the thirty-first week of pregnancy.
31 Weeks Pregnancy Symptoms
The last two months of pregnancy could be the most difficult in terms of symptoms. Here are the most common signs of pregnancy at week 31:
- Pregnancy Brain
There are conflicting viewpoints on what are the causes of “pregnancy brain”. Some attribute it to fluctuating hormones, lack of sleep, and pregnancy-related anxiety. Others suggest it could be a result of the brain cell volume shrinkage that occurs during the third trimester (it returns to normal after the pregnancy). Whatever the cause, don’t worry if you feel confused or disoriented, it is a normal thirty-one weeks pregnant symptom.
A combination of factors can lead to a severe lack of sleep during pregnancy – especially during the third trimester. As the baby grows bigger, it pushes against the spine, leading to back problems and difficulties getting to sleep at night. Baby movements can also keep you awake when you are extremely tired – your baby, unfortunately, won’t always share your sleeping pattern, and you could get a rude awakening in the middle of the night.
- Shortness of Breath
The extra weight you are carrying around might leave you short of breath at terms, and while it’s good to get as much exercise as possible, you should limit your activity to avoid exhaustion.
- Braxton Hicks Contractions
Braxton Hicks contractions are “fake” contractions that are a common pregnancy symptom that cause discomfort for many women. They usually last for up to 15 minutes, but if they last for longer, or if they occur in a pattern, you should seek advice from your doctor.
- Breast Leakage
As the baby inside your womb gets ready to enter the outside world, your body is also preparing for its arrival. One thing that is likely to happen is to find a yellowish liquid – called colostrum – leaking form your breasts.
Throughout the duration of your pregnancy, you have probably experienced heartburn, indigestion, or other digestive complaints. At 31 weeks pregnant, things are no different. Progesterone is still prevalent in your system and will continues to slow down your digestive system from now until the day of birth.
Your Body at Week 31
Your body at week 31 is visibly pregnant. If you’re 31 weeks pregnant with twins, you’ll likely be even larger. The weight that women gain during pregnancy is essential to their babies’ development, and an average weight woman should aim to increase their weight by 25 to 35 pounds (12 to 16 kg) throughout the duration of the gestation period.
Despite the extra weight, doing light exercise can prove beneficial for your overall health at this stage, particularly Kegel exercises. Kegel exercises serve to strengthen the pelvic floor muscles, which become weakened and relaxed as the baby in your womb grows. These exercises can help counter any discomfort caused by symphysis pubic dysfunction (SPD) – a condition that effects numerous pregnant women and leads to pain in the pelvic area.
Your body will also need plenty of rest at 31 weeks pregnant, too. The third trimester can take a big toll on your system, both mentally and physically, and if you should take advantage of any free moments throughout the day to relax and regain your strength.
Baby Size at Week 31
The fetus at 31 weeks is growing rapidly, and your baby could double (or more) its weight by the time it arrives. This week, your baby is as big as a large coconut. He or she will measure between 45 to 47 cm in in length and will weigh between 1.4 to 1.6 kg – about the same weight as 10 average sized apples!
In the third trimester, your baby is sleeping more and more, with good quality REM sleep. That’s not the only development, your baby can perceive signals from all 5 senses, and its eyes are slowly opening to process visual information. It’s common for baby’s to be quite restless at 31 weeks pregnant, and you might feel lots of baby movements throughout the day as your baby tests and strengthens its muscles.
Week 31 Pregnant Ultrasound
It’s rare to have a week 31 ultrasound unless there are complications with the pregnancy. Yet, some parents ask to have a 3D/4D ultrasound at an independent imaging centre in order to check the development of their baby – or babies if you’re 31 weeks pregnant with twins. This 3D/4D ultrasound allows parents to see close up imagery of their baby in real time, and will likely show the fetus blinking, smiling, swallowing, and testing out many of its new features.
How does your stomach feel at 31 weeks pregnant?
On the inside your stomach may feel a little unsettled as the harsh pregnancy symptoms come back in the third trimester. On the outside, your stomach will likely feel firm and tight to touch.
What to expect at 31 weeks pregnant?
With around 2 months of the pregnancy left to go, you may feel overwhelmed at what’s to come. The third trimester may be difficult, but it is also a time when you may have some beautiful experiences, such as your baby responding to your voice, or feeling it move on a more regular basis.
How do you feel at 31 weeks pregnant?
The thirty-one weeks pregnant symptoms can be harsh, and you might feel both physically and mentally exhausted at times. Try to get plenty of rest when you can.
What does your stomach look like at 31 weeks pregnant?
Every woman’s baby bump is different. Some will have a rather sizeable bump; others will have a barely noticeable one. There’s no set way that you should look at 31 weeks pregnant.
Tips for Week 31 of Pregnancy
- Correct Footwear
Your baby is well on its way to 2 kg, and the shoes you wear can make a huge difference to your comfort. Elect for shoes that have a good cushioning.
- Pregnancy Exercises
Many sports facilities and gyms offer pregnancy exercise classes. These are usually run by experts in the field who know the best exercises for your current state. Plus, it is a good opportunity to meet other moms-to-be and share experiences.
- Stay Hydrated
Hot flushes are common among pregnant women, and a good way to cool down is to stay well hydrated. It also assists the body as it deals with a heightened level of blood volume.