From week 31 of pregnancy on, you’re bound to feel a lot of the same symptoms you’ve already been experiencing. Some may get worse, and some may become bearable. Lactating breasts are common at this time, as your body is producing colostrum for your newborn. Nursing pads can easily be tucked into your bra to prevent stains. Nursing bras are designed for this, but make sure to buy a bigger size, as your breasts will become bigger sill when the milk starts to flow. If you are not experiencing lactating breasts yet, there is nothing to worry about.
Here are the most typical 31 weeks pregnant symptoms:
- Shortness of breath You might start to have more trouble getting around as you get heavier and more short of breath. Remember not to push yourself too much. It’s good for you and baby to get some exercise, but definitely take breaks to rest as much as you need to.
- Dry, brittle nails Sure, you’re having extra finger- and toenail growth, but that can make those nails feel dry and easily broken. Some moms-to-be have success with a moisturizing cuticle oil. This may also be the perfect excuse for a spa mani-pedi.
- Braxton Hicks contractions To ease the discomfort of Braxton Hicks, drink plenty of water and change positions often. This will prevent those “practice contractions” from turning into preterm labor. If you have certain pregnancy complications, or if you’re 31 weeks pregnant with twins, you’re at higher risk for preterm labor.
- Leaky boobs That yellow liquid is baby’s first food, called colostrum, and your body’s getting it ready for the big arrival.
- Frequent urination Your bladder’s just as crowded as your lungs are. Not much you can do about it except mentally plan more bathroom breaks into your daily routine.
- Backaches Be sure to keep stretching to ease your aching back. That prenatal yoga class can help!
Trouble sleeping. It’s no wonder you can’t sleep when your back hurts, your belly’s contracting, you can’t find a comfortable position. And at night you have to keep getting up to pee multiple times.
Development of Baby
At 31 weeks pregnant, baby is as big as a bunch of asparagus. Baby’s about 16.2 inches (41 cm) long and weighs about 3.3 pounds (1.5 kilograms). Baby’s getting so big, he or she’s probably crowding your lungs, which is why you might find yourself winded on a normal walk up the stairs.
Baby’s limbs and joints are more flexible and the head can be turned from side to side.
Fat is accumulating underneath the skin, making your baby even plumper, stronger and healthier looking.
Kicks and somersaults are more frequent now and are a very good sign that your baby is active and energetic.
His or her eyes are developing too … the irises can now react to light. In fact, all five of baby’s senses are in working order.
Probably his or her head may be down now. Your OB will check to see for sure at your next appointment.
Watch out for frequent and painful contractions as it may be a sign of premature labour. Other signs to watch out for include:
- more vaginal discharge than normal;
- a change in the type of discharge (leaking watery fluid or the discharge becomes watery, mucus-like, bloody, even if it’s pink or just tinged with blood);
- waves of lower back pain; or cramps that feel similar to period pains.
You must report any of these signs to your healthcare practitioner immediately.
So far you have gained weight at a steady, slower pace. From this point on though, you and your baby will begin to gain weight faster and this could leave you with negative feelings about your body image.
One way you could embrace your pregnant body and alleviate any negative feelings is by scheduling a photo shoot with a good photographer to show the beauty of pregnancy.
It’s very important that you have a strong support team of family and friends, to help you get through emotionally challenging times.
Women who have pregnancy complications such as gestational diabetes or who are 31 weeks pregnant with twins may have a 31 weeks pregnant ultrasound to check in on baby (or babies). But if that’s not you, you’re off the hook this week.
You’re just dying to know what baby looks like inside your 31 weeks pregnant belly. Some curious parents-to-be choose to have a 3D/4D ultrasound done later in pregnancy … usually sometime between weeks 24 to 32.
In a 3D/4D ultrasound, you can see the entire surface of baby’s face in one picture. Yep, the picture is three dimensional. The fourth dimension is time … you get to see baby move on the screen in 3D. That means you may see your 31-week fetus blinking, thumb sucking, and maybe even smiling or frowning, and you’ll probably take home a video of it too.
There are medical circumstances that could call for a 3D/4D ultrasound at 31 weeks pregnant. But if your doctor doesn’t order one, you have the option of having one done at an independent imaging center. (In that case, the 3D/4D ultrasound is an elective procedure, so your insurance won’t cover it and you’ll have to pay out of pocket for it.)
They’re pretty cool to see though, so if you want one, and your doctor okays it, go for it.