Baby development at 31 weeks pregnant
Baby is getting smarter, stronger and more prepared for the outside world each day. You, on the other hand, may not be feeling as sharp as usual with “pregnancy brain” in full swing.
Your 31 week baby now measures 16.2 inches long (411.48 millimeters). Your baby is now the size of a coconut.
Growth and brain development are working overtime during the 31st week of pregnancy. Baby’s brain is making connections between limbs and muscles while refining their five senses. Your little one is also developing more defined sleep patterns. At 31 weeks pregnant, you may be noticing longer stretches of sleep and wakefulness.
Your baby is close to their birth length at this point, but they still have quite a few pounds to add; they’ll gain between 3 and 5 pounds before making a grand debut.
Week 31 pregnant belly
If it seems like your belly is growing nonstop, don’t worry: You’re in good company. As amniotic fluid continues to increase and your baby works their way up to birth weight, there’s some growth — and more crowding — to be expected. Most moms-to-be gain an average of 30 pounds during pregnancy. At 31 weeks, you’re probably gained around 20 to 25 pounds and are almost there.
Common pregnancy symptoms at 31 weeks
You may see another increase in cleavage in your third trimester. As your breasts continue to prepare for nursing your newborn, you’ll notice pronounced veins, darker areolas, stretch marks and maybe even some leaking colostrum. Try using a moisturizer to reduce itching and prevent stretch marks. If you’re noticing some slight leaking, now is a good time to buy some nursing pads.
- Carpal tunnel syndrome: Carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS) occurs due to swelling or added fluid in the wrist and is common among women in their third trimester. CTS can cause tingling and numbness in your wrist all the way up to your fingers. It typically goes away on its own once the baby has been born.
- Overall discomfort: The third trimester is normally the time when women are really feeling quite crowded. If your baby is a gymnast who likes to practice flips, it makes getting comfortable difficult. To find relief, change positions frequently and don’t spend too much time on your feet or sitting down.
- Leaking breasts: You may already be producing a food supply for your baby, but what’s coming out isn’t milk. The first food your baby will eat (if you are nursing) is a creamy, nutrient-dense substance called colostrum. Don’t worry if you’re leaking some colostrum — purchase some nursing pads to catch the fluid. You can opt for reusable or disposable pads, but be sure to go with a soft, comfortable material.
- Pregnancy brain: The hallmark forgetfulness of “pregnancy brain” is often attributed to the increase in hormones. Have you ever had more on your mind than you do now? It’s no wonder it’s so common.
- Braxton Hicks: True Braxton Hicks contractions, or practice contractions, are irregular and shouldn’t cause you too much pain.
- Varicose veins: Increased pressure on your circulatory system is the likely culprit behind these purple veins. Stay active and hydrated to help prevent more from cropping up.
Pregnancy checklist at 31 weeks pregnant
Next up is your 32 week prenatal check up. At this point, you’re visiting your doctor every two weeks. If you have a high-risk pregnancy, your doctor may order additional testing after 32 weeks pregnant.
You are probably pretty close to being ready for your baby. If you aren’t completely ready, don’t worry -- there’s plenty of time to get all the to-do’s on your list checked off.
- Get your pets ready. With the arrival of your baby so close, it's a good idea to get your pets ready for the new addition. Read up on best practices. If you have a trainer you’ve worked with in the past, reach out to them for tips on how to introduce a baby to your animal.
- Get a hospital bag ready. Now is a great time to prepare a bag for the hospital. Pack what you intend to take, make a list of what’s still needed and set the bag by the door. As you remember items or purchase them, you can add them so it’s ready when your baby is.
- Make meals ahead. When your little one arrives, there is a chance that you or your partner may not feel up to cooking. If you prepare a few meals ahead of time and stash them in the freezer, they’ll be ready to heat and eat in minutes.
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