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Week-by-week Pregnancy Guide: 31 Weeks

Week by Week Pregnancy Guide

 

At 31 weeks pregnant, you're about 75 percent of the way to delivery! Your baby is putting the finishing touches on her development, increasing the number of neural connections in her brain and building a healthy amount of chub. 

Your body is still changing as well. Here's everything that's happening to you and your baby at 31 weeks pregnant.

Baby at 31 weeks pregnant

At 31 weeks, your baby is is a bit over 16 inches long and weigh about 3 and 1/3 pounds. In terms of size, she's about as large as a coconut.

Physically, your baby's arms, legs and organs are almost fully developed. Her brain is developing faster than ever, and even her taste buds are forming. Now, most of her focus is on processing information from all her senses and building fat underneath the skin to grow to a healthy plumpness. Your baby is about three to five pounds from her initial birth weight, so she's almost ready to meet you.

weekly development of a human fetus at 31 weeks pregnant
Weekly development of a human fetus at 31 weeks pregnant."

Baby is also moving a lot at 31 weeks. She can turn her head from side to side and is trying out her new arm and leg muscles. All this movement might keep you up at night, but it means your baby is nice and healthy.

Your body at 31 weeks pregnant

At 31 weeks, you've probably gained about 21 to 27 pounds. Your belly is getting in the way of normal activities like tying your shoes, so you may need to update your wardrobe with more accessible maternity wear. Even if you'll only don this garb for a few more weeks, your comfort is worth it.

It's possible to still have sex at 31 weeks pregnant. In fact, you can keep being intimate all the way up till delivery. Your baby may become less active after intercourse, lulled to sleep by the motions. Alternatively, she might start moving around, curious about what's happening. Don't worry, though; she has no idea what's going on.

Pregnant woman with visible fetus at 31 weeks pregnant
Pregnant woman with visible fetus at 31 weeks pregnant

You also might experience Braxton Hicks contractions: irregular tightening of the uterus that goes away when you walk around or change positions. Braxton Hicks is a sign that your body is practicing for labor, so don't stress about them. They usually last about 30 seconds and are relatively painless. If, however, you feel more than four of these per hour, you might be in preterm labor. Contact your doctor or midwife as soon as possible.

Finally, your breasts will start creating colostrum, the first milk your body produces. This milk contains lots of antibodies and immunoglobulins, protecting your baby from viruses and bacteria when she's first born.

Colostrum also helps her pass her first stools. This substance might start leaking from your nipples, so tuck a nursing pad into your bra to prevent staining. You can also start wearing a nursing bra in a size up if your current options are too tight.

31 weeks pregnant ultrasound

Thirty-one weeks is the perfect time for a 3D or 4D ultrasound. Keep in mind that this is usually an elective procedure, so it probably won't be covered by insurance unless your doctor sees reason to order one. Still, they might be worth the cost! You can see your baby's entire face with a 3D ultrasound, which is amazing since you probably can't wait until delivery.

A 4D ultrasound shows your baby in real time. You can see her wiggling around, turning her head and possibly even blinking or sucking her thumb. You might even get to take the video home.

31 weeks is how many months pregnant?

At 31 weeks, you are officially six months and three weeks pregnant. The end of this week carries you into the seventh month. 

Common symptoms at 31 weeks pregnant

Shortness of breath is a common symptom during your 31st week. This is normal; your uterus is so large that it's pushing the rest of your internal organs — including your lungs — out of the way. This makes it difficult for the lungs to expand fully as you inhale. To alleviate this symptom, stand as straight as possible to give your lungs room up at the top. Sleeping on your side can also help. Luckily, you won't have to deal with this detail for long, as your baby will drop down toward the pelvis when it gets close to delivery time.

Similarly, your expanded uterus is putting more pressure on your bladder, so you'll probably have to use the bathroom more frequently. If this becomes an issue, try double voiding by urinating once, then again immediately after to completely empty your bladder.

You might also have backaches, which can lead to trouble sleeping. Stretch each night, and maybe do some exercises or yoga at night to tire your body out. Take a warm bath or drink warm milk to help you unwind, and try reading or using a sleep aid if you need to. 

Pregnancy checklist at 31 weeks pregnant

  • Take a childbirth education class and focus on your pain management options.
  • Start looking at childcare options, including day care, relatives and other options. This will give you time to save up and choose the best option.
  • If you plan to hire a postpartum doula, start searching for and interviewing candidates.
  • Start packing your hospital go bag. At 31 weeks, you may go into preterm labor, so it's best to be prepared. Even if you aren't at risk for an early delivery, it's best to at least create a list of the things you'll want to include.
  • If you have any pets, prepare them for the arrival of your baby. Play recordings of infants crying and start up any noise-making baby toys so your pets get used to the sounds. Let animals sniff diapers, baby lotions and powders to get them used to new smells. Start transitioning them to any new baby-related rules (for example, by not allowing them in the nursery). Also, start ignoring them little by little. This way, your pets won't be shocked when baby starts taking more of your attention. Finally, make sure you have a pet care plan for when you head to the delivery room.

You're less than 10 weeks away from delivery, so it's time to put the finishing touches on all of your preparations. 

What to Expect at 31 Weeks Pregnant

 

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