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You’re nearly there! Your baby is getting ready for this world, and we know you can’t wait to take your little one in your arms. Your expanding uterus might be making things (and life) a little difficult for you and you must be having trouble moving around, but that’s just a sign that your baby is developing just fine. By 31 weeks, your baby’s all five senses must be fully developed, and he is getting smarter and bigger. But there’s so much more that happens at 31 weeks. Here’s what you should expect at 31 weeks of pregnancy.
Your Baby’s Growth at Week 31 of Pregnancy
By this time, your baby’s brain development is at full speed. Billions of synapses are forming between its neurons, all receiving constant information from all five senses. Your baby must be practising expressions, breathing, swimming around in the amniotic fluid, and sucking his thumb. Your baby now responds to the sound of your voice with a range of kicks and punches, but they won’t be hard enough to cause any serious pain or injury. Some babies hiccup constantly, so be prepared to be jolted awake at night by his movements when he hiccups. Your little one has fully functional eyes by this week, allowing him to respond to light. The amounts of muscle and fat on the body are higher than ever. You will also notice him swaying to any melodies you play for him.
Size of the Baby at 31 Weeks of Pregnancy
At 31 weeks pregnant, the baby’s size is around the same as a tender coconut. Weighing around 1.2-1.5 kgs, the baby measures more than 40 cm from head to toe.
Common Bodily Changes
Carrying your little one in your womb must be getting tougher and tougher every week. Here are some changes you can expect in your body at 31 weeks of pregnancy. You may have experienced some of these symptoms earlier too. They may continue in this week also.
- Difficulty in breathing
With the foetus pushing your uterus upwards constantly, your lungs are going to feel cramped for space. This will have you taking shallower and fewer breaths than usual, but luckily you don’t have to worry about your little one as he gets oxygen through your placenta. If you perform cardio regularly, it is time to slow down a little. Be prepared for shortness of breath as the pressure on your lungs is only going to increase in the coming months.
- Breast discharge
Your breasts are going to be producing a yellow fluid called colostrum, which is what your baby will feed in the first three days after birth.
- Splitting Nails
Until now, your hair and nails must have grown rapidly, but after 31 weeks, your nails may become dry and crack easily due to hormonal fluctuations. The best thing you can do is to keep them short!
- Braxton Hicks Contractions
These false contractions will plague you significantly more than ever now. Staying hydrated and not sitting or lying down in the same positions will help alleviate some of this discomfort.
Symptoms of Pregnancy at Week 31
In the middle of the third trimester, pregnancy symptoms are only going to get more varied and less bearable. Here are some symptoms of pregnancy at week 31.
- The Urge to Urinate Frequently
Your trips to the bathroom are going to increase as your delivery date approaches. As your baby grows and your uterus expands, the uterus will push against the bladder, and you might feel the need to urinate frequently
- Back Pain
The weight of your baby is going to put pressure on your spine and may also change your posture. You may also find it difficult to balance, especially if your posture is off-kilter. Make sure to do some simple stretches and learn some good posture techniques to relax.
- Sleeping Issues
This is not directly caused by the pregnancy itself but occurs due to other pregnancy symptoms which might keep you awake at night. Back pain, cramps in the legs, indigestion, waking up to urinate, or just inability to find a comfortable position to sleep in, might make it difficult for you to sleep.
- Pelvic Pain
Pelvic pain can happen due to your expanding uterus pushing against the pelvic girdle. It can be quite difficult to bear, so refer to your doctor or physiotherapist for some exercises to ease the pain.
Belly at 31 Weeks of Pregnancy
At the onset of the 31st week, your weight should have increased by 10-12 kg, which is normal. The extra weight might worry you, but you don’t need to worry about your weight while pregnant, not when you’re gaining healthy weight. Your belly will stretch and might feel dry and itchy, so keep some moisturiser handy.
Ultrasound Scan at 31 Weeks of Pregnancy
Ultrasounds should now be a weekly affair so the doctor can keep an eye on the pregnancy, especially if you have complications such as diabetes or are carrying multiple babies. The scan will show that your baby is now almost completely formed, including all of his organ systems. If it’s a body, his testicles will descend into the scrotum and if it’s a girl, her clitoris will develop fully. You can also have a 3D ultrasound done, which will show the detailed features of your baby’s face and body.
What to Eat
Your baby’s health depends on your diet, so ensure you get proper portions of protein, fruits, veggies, whole grains, and dairy. It is preferable to eat smaller meals more frequently to stave off indigestion and stomach cramps. Fried, processed and fat-rich foods should be avoided or eaten sparingly. Include these nutrients in your 31st-week pregnancy diet.
- Vitamin C and Iron
As your little one has started to make his own blood cells, he needs more iron in his diet. And adding some Vitamin C will help the iron absorb better. So eat nutritious foods like cooked spinach, citrus fruits, fish, lean meats and cooked green vegetables.
Calcium is absolutely essential for the development of the baby’s bones, cartilage, and nails. In addition, you need calcium as well to stay fit. Consume milk, cabbage, spinach, tofu, paneer and soybeans for calcium.
Although your body needs both iron and calcium, be careful not to consume both supplements together as calcium can block the absorption of iron in the body. You can take individuals supplements at different times during the day to avoid this.
Here are a few tips that will come in handy at this point of your pregnancy:
- This is the right time to apply for a prenatal class. The trainers are well equipped to deal with all issues pertaining to childbirth, such as pain management, stress relief and caring for your newborn. So go ahead, and join a prenatal class. It will be a wonderful experience for you and your partner.
- It is not too early to keep your hospital bag packed and ready. So go ahead, and start packing your hospital bag.
- Drink at least 2-3 litres of water a day to stay fresh and hydrated.
- Perform exercises like the Kegel to strengthen your pelvic floor muscles. But take up these exercises only after checking with your doctor.
- Don’t assume facial swelling has to do with gaining weight. It might also be a sign of preeclampsia, so talk to your doctor immediately.
What You Need to Shop For
It might be time for you to think about how you want your newborn’s room decorated. Go ahead and buy cute little things to decorate your baby’s nursery. Buy enough maternity clothes to last the pregnancy, but don’t forget post-pregnancy clothes as well. You should also consider buying feeding equipment like nursing bras, bottles, etc. If you’re buying a crib for your baby, don’t purchase those with bumpers and certainly don’t keep pillows, toys or blankets in there, as these objects increase the risk of SIDS (sudden infant death syndrome).
Your baby should arrive in 10 weeks or less, so it is best you stay prepared for your baby’s arrival. And while you’re waiting for his arrival, don’t forget to enjoy your pregnancy journey with your spouse and family. Have a happy and healthy pregnancy!
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