31 Weeks Pregnant
With week 31, you now enter the eighth month of your pregnancy and have reached the second month of the third and final trimester. As each week goes by, the chances of independent survival of your baby go up. You are 31 weeks pregnant and your little acrobat is as big as a pineapple and is almost 40 cm tall, weighing around 1.5 kilograms. This week your due date calculator reflects only 9 more weeks to go.
How Your Baby is Growing This Week?
The external development of the face is nearly complete with pigmentation of hair still in process. The brain is developing fast and forming newer connections each day. The special senses help the baby to touch, feel and taste. All these will come of use when the baby enters the world outside the womb. He can sense light and taste the amniotic fluid and by now even feel the emotions that the mother goes through. Your smell is the one that he associates with security and familiarity. A happy and healthy mother will have a happy baby.
The lungs of your 31 weeks pregnant fetus are continuing to mature as they are one of the most important organs to come in use after birth. With the first cry, the baby also takes his first breath, now the lung sacs will inflate with air and the message will reach the brain and the respiratory centers will take over the vital role of breathing.
The lanugo hair which covered the baby is gradually shedding off as the baby prepares for birth. The job of keeping the baby warm is now taken over by the fat layers that are forming under the skin. This is the reason why you tend to see hair on the limbs and back of prematurely born babies. They will ultimately shed after birth.
As your baby grows, the number of kicks may gradually reduce as the space gets lesser in there. The movements you feel are more prominent now and there will be periods of sleep and wake which you will be able to recognize very clearly. Babies normally adopt one of the three positions – Vertex (head down), Breech (bottoms down) or Transverse (horizontal). In a week or two, the baby’s position for birth will get fixed. The commonest presentation is vertex as it is anatomically favorable to cause dilatation of the cervix and initiate labor.
Changes in Your Body at 31 Weeks Pregnant
You may have bid goodbye to morning sickness but early pregnancy symptoms like easily getting tired, frequent trips to the loo and mood changes are back and will stay till the end of your pregnancy. The upper end of the uterus is now 4 inches above your belly button and you have a pretty obvious pregnant belly by now. The uterus has pushed the lungs and other internal organs upwards and this could be causing you breathlessness and heartburn. These symptoms of pregnancy are likely to ease out towards the last few weeks when the baby drops down into the pelvis getting ready for delivery.
At this stage, many pregnant women experience cramp like pains in the lower abdomen. These are called Braxton Hicks contractions (false labor pains) and are generally transient in nature. If you feel such pains make sure to keep a watch if the pains are gradually increasing in intensity. If yes, then you could be heading into pre-term labor.
The vaginal discharge tends to increase in the last weeks of pregnancy. You need to watch out for pinkish, sticky mucus like discharge or colorless water like runny discharge as both these are signs of onset of labor.
Week 31 Pregnancy Signs and Symptoms
This week the symptoms and the signs of pregnancy that you experience are similar to those at 30 weeks pregnant with the major changes being the weight gain and contractions. However, you may just experience few of the early signs of pregnancy such as fatigue, sleeping problems, etc.
- Braxton Hicks contractions
- Frequent urination
- Anxiety and sleeplessness
- Increased vaginal discharge
- Change in the gait
- Round ligament pain
- Breathlessness due to pressure on the lungs
- Loss of appetite due to acidity
- Strange Dreams
- Back pain
- Pregnancy cramps
- Dry and itchy skin
- Round ligament pains
- Oedema of hands and feet
- Varicose veins and hemorrhoids
- Stretch marks
- Breast engorgement
- Yellowish discharge from the nipple
- Increased pigmentation
- Linea Nigra
Pregnancy weight gain is a topic of much discussion and plays a very vital role in your overall well being during pregnancy. By this time you have gained 3 to 4 pounds already in your third trimester and are likely to gain one pound per week for the remaining weeks. The main aim should be a well distributed weight gain.
Diagnostic Tests and Ultrasound Results in Week 31 of Pregnancy
This week, during your 31 weeks pregnant ultrasound visit you will see your baby doing a number of things, turning the head, moving the limbs, bringing the hands to the face, grimacing and even yawning. The moving pictures now resemble how his movements will be at the time of birth.
The placenta blood flow will be checked.
The heartrate, cervix, and amniotic fluid are few important parameters that are checked at every visit. A 3D ultrasound at this stage will give you an idea of what the baby’s face will look like after birth.
Pregnancy Health Tips
- Have four to five smaller meals throughout the day rather than three large ones as you are most prone to getting acidity and heartburn now.
- Have a diet rich in iron as your baby is storing iron as he grows bigger. Also include citrus foods rich in vitamin C which help in better absorption of the iron.
- Regularly attend your ante-natal classes as the yoga exercises will help you to keep away the minor aches and pains.
- Be watchful for any signs of pre-term labor and have emergency contact numbers handy.
- Do your kegels exercises and practice breathing techniques to help you get through labor smoothly.
- Warm sitz bath will help ease out the pains of hemorrhoids and also reduce the swelling.
- Include plenty of fluids and water in your diet to stay fresh and well hydrated.
- This is a good time to start looking for the baby gear like cribs, car seats, bassinets, strollers and prams which you will need in the coming weeks. Look for all the options to get the best deals. Hand me downs are probably ready for you if this is your second pregnancy and you should relax and just start organizing things before the baby arrives.