You and Your Baby at Week 31 of Your Pregnancy

(10 minute read)

You and Your Baby at Week 31 of Your Pregnancy

Week 31

You're nearly there now, and in fact you could even have your baby in 6 weeks time and this would not be considered too early - now there's a thought!

As you enter week 31, your baby's growth continues to be rapid, and your body is preparing for the final stretch.

How Big is Baby at 31 Weeks?

At 31 weeks, your baby (or foetus) is about the size of a coconut, typically measuring around 41cm in length and weighing approximately 3.3 pounds, or 1.5kg. This period is marked by significant growth, with your baby putting on weight and developing fat layers that will help regulate body temperature after birth.

The baby's senses are continually developing. By now, they can detect light and are capable of turning their head towards a source of brightness. Their taste buds are also evolving, and they might develop preferences for certain flavours present in the amniotic fluid. Your baby can also now have a wee!

The baby's lungs and digestive system are nearing maturity. Although the lungs are not fully functional yet, they are capable of breathing movements. This development is crucial for survival outside the womb.

The baby's skin is becoming less transparent and more opaque. The lanugo, a fine layer of hair that covered the baby's body, starts to shed.

What Position is My Baby in?

At this stage, your midwife or doctor will probably want to determine which way up your baby is. The ideal position is heads down, all ready for birth. If, however, your baby is head up, this is called the "breech" position. There is still time for the baby to get into position, so no panic. You will probably feel when this happens, and your bump will shift downwards. Some babies will not move down into the pelvis (or "engage"), until the start of labour.

A caesarian will be recommended if your baby is in an awkward position or if the placenta is blocking the baby's way down.

 

Your Body at 31 Weeks

Your uterus is now about four to five inches above your belly button, making your bump more pronounced. This growth can lead to visible changes in your posture and gait.

A typical weight gain by this week ranges from 21 to 27 pounds. However, this varies widely among individuals.

Your breasts might start producing colostrum, the first form of milk that is rich in nutrients and antibodies.

Pregnancy Symptoms at Week 31

Braxton Hicks Contractions: These are "practice" contractions and are typically painless. They are your body's way of preparing for labour.

Shortness of Breath: As the uterus expands, it puts pressure on your diaphragm, making it harder to breathe deeply.

Backaches and Discomfort: The extra weight and altered centre of gravity can lead to back pain.

Insomnia: You might find it challenging to get comfortable at night due to your growing bump, back pain, leg cramps, or if your baby is moving around a lot.

Heartburn and Indigestion: These are caused by hormonal changes and the pressure of the growing uterus on the stomach.

Frequent Urination: The enlarged uterus continues to put pressure on your bladder, leading to frequent trips to the bathroom.

Swelling: You may notice swelling in your ankles, feet, and hands due to increased fluid retention.

 


Routine Check-ups

Regular prenatal check-ups are crucial so that your doctor or midwife can monitor your blood pressure, urine, and the baby's growth and heart rate.

If not done earlier, a glucose tolerance test may be conducted to screen for gestational diabetes.

 

Preparing for Baby:

Baby Gear: Start getting baby essentials like a crib, car seat, and clothes. Some parents prefer a baby sling or carrier to a pram, so they can keep their baby close to them.

Childbirth Education Classes: Consider enrolling in childbirth and parenting classes to prepare for labour, delivery, and parenthood.

Birth Plan: Discuss your birth plan with your doctor or midwife, including preferences for labour and delivery.

Will You Breastfeed or Bottle Feed? Not every woman is able to breastfeed for a variety of reasons, one of which could be medication that they are taking. Breast milk is obviously best - it provides antibodies that strengthen your baby's immune system. Don't worry if you can't do it, as you can still give your baby a great start in life with formula milk.

 

At week 31, you're only a couple of months away at most from the big moment. Understanding the developments happening to both you and your baby during this time can help you prepare for the weeks ahead, leading up to the arrival of your new bundle of joy.

 

Online Hypnobirthing Course

Are you ready for birth?

Knowledge is power! Explore our hypnobirthing & infant feeding course for everything you need to know about labour and breasteeding. A world of incredible knowledge awaits!