Week 31 of Pregnancy
Your Baby in Week 31 of Pregnancy
Weighing in at three-plus pounds and measuring 18 inches long, your baby is quickly approaching his birth length — though he’s got to pack on another three to five pounds before D-day. Also developing at an impressive clip: your baby’s brain connections (he’s got to make trillions of them!). He’s now processing information, tracking light, and perceiving signals from all five senses. He’s also putting in longer stretches of sleep, which is why you’re probably noticing more defined patterns of wakefulness (and movement) and rest (when he’s pretty still).
Learn more about your baby in week 31 and fetal activity in the womb.
Your Body in Week 31 of Pregnancy
Chances are your diaphragm is feeling a little cramped these days. Okay, a lot cramped. That’s because your uterus is pushing up against it (and all the other organs in there), crowding your lungs and making it more difficult for them to expand fully. The result: Your body is spare on air and will be until your baby drops near the end of pregnancy in preparation for birth. But don’t worry: Your baby is as happy as a clam because he’s getting his oxygen from the placenta.
Learn more about your body in week 31 and shortness of breath during pregnancy.
Week 31 Pregnancy Tip: How a Baby Responds to Sex
Parental lovemaking and orgasm can have an interesting effect on babies in the womb, as you may have noticed. Some babies are very quiet after their parents have sex (rocked to sleep by the rhythmic movement, perhaps) while others become frisky themselves (hey, where’s the party?). Both responses are completely normal and in no way indicate that your baby is aware of the goings-on…just that he is having fun going along for the ride. So keep on enjoying your sex life — and your orgasms — as much as you like. And for as long as you can (which, with your practitioner’s approval and a few advanced Twister-type moves, can be right up until delivery day). After all, pretty soon making love with a baby in the house won’t be quite so easy or convenient.
Learn more about sex and love during pregnancy.
Week 31 Pregnancy Symptoms
More frequent urination: Your uterus puts more pressure on your bladder in the third trimester, giving it less room to store urine. Cut down on the bathroom trips by double voiding: Pee, then when you’re done, pee again. That’ll make sure you’ve emptied your bladder completely.
Occasional headaches: If tension is twisting your head up in knots, try spending a few minutes in a dark, quiet room. If you’re at work, close your eyes and put your feet up for 15 minutes.
Varicose veins: Your growing uterus is also putting pressure on your blood vessels, which along with pregnancy hormones and increased blood volume creates the perfect set-up for varicose veins. Take a walk (or even better, several) during the day, or make sure to get in some other form of low-key, circulation-boosting exercise.
Possible nasal congestion: As if a swollen belly, feet, and fingers weren’t enough, now you may be contending with swollen nasal passages, making for one stuffy feeling. You’ll get relief when you deliver, but until then saline sprays or nasal strips can help clear up the stuffiness. (Antihistamines and nasal sprays are usually off-limits, but check in with your practitioner for other recommendations).
Lower abdominal achiness: Blame that growing belly of yours again for those growing pains around your middle. The best thing to do? Yep, you know the drill: Get off your feet for a while.
Backaches: That burgeoning belly can also do a number on your back as it curves to accommodate the load. If you haven’t already, now is the time to incorporate some prenatal yoga into your exercise routine — the stretches will relax your back (and your mind!).
Increasing clumsiness: Your shifting posture (not to mention your increasing girth) and lack of concentration (see below) may make you clumsier these days. Take it easy when you’re climbing into the shower or tub and roll up any area rugs that could trip you up at home.
Forgetfulness: Welcome to mommy (to-be) brain — a condition that’s a result of shrinking brain-cell volume in the third trimester (don’t worry — your brain cells go back to normal a few months after delivery). Don’t stress out about your foggy memory (stress just makes it worse). Write things down (or program them into your smart phone) and delegate responsibility (if possible).
Difficulty sleeping: This is another common third-trimester woe, caused by a constellation of other conditions, such as leg cramps, heartburn, frequent urination, and plain old anxiety (with a dash of pregnancy hormones). If tension keeps you tossing and turning all night, talk it out with friends (or other WTE members) or your partner during the day.