31 Weeks Pregnant – Symptoms, Tips and Your Baby

You are now getting closer to your due date, and your hormones are playing up once again. You are more emotional, and your senses are in overdrive.  At this stage, it is natural for you to think about the birth and looking after your baby. Don’t let these thoughts overwhelm you. Hang in there and relax. Read on to learn about the changes in your body, your baby’s development, and tips to follow when you are 31 weeks pregnant.

Pregnancy week 31

You are 31 weeks pregnant now and just 9 weeks away from your due date. You are feeling discomfort due to the pressure that your uterus is putting on the organs surrounding it. Your baby is also stronger with each passing day. All five of your baby’s senses are fully developed now.

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Symptoms

1. Shortness of breath

As your uterus grows, it pushes your diaphragm into your lungs. As a result, your lungs may find it challenging to expand fully.  Do not push yourself too much, slow down, and take deep breaths. Standing straight and sleeping on your left side also gives your lungs more space to expand.

2. Frequent urination

Your expanding uterus is putting additional pressure on your bladder, giving it less space to store urine. As a result, you may have to urinate frequently. Sometimes, you may urinate a bit when you sneeze or laugh loudly. When you pee, try to empty your bladder fully.

3. Braxton Hicks Contractions

Now that you are in the last trimester, your body has begun to practice for labor. These practice contractions are called Braxton Hicks contractions. These contractions are irregular and painless. Changing position or walking around can make them go away.

4. Headaches

There are several reasons why you’re having headaches during pregnancy. Tension, fatigue, hunger, sinus congestion, or allergies can all lead to occasional headaches. Lie down for a few minutes in a quiet and dark room to relieve stress. Eat regularly and try steam inhalation for nasal congestion.

5. Backaches

Pregnancy hormone relaxin causes the ligaments of the pelvic joints to loosen. Your growing uterus shifts your center of gravity forward and your back curves more than usual to accommodate the load. Use a chair that provides good support, get a firm mattress, and do yoga to avoid back pain.

6. Colostrum

You may notice a yellowish substance leaking from your breasts. This substance is known as colostrum or pre-milk.  You can put an absorbent breast pad in your bra to absorb the milk (1).

7. Clumsiness

You may notice they you are losing your balance and have become clumsier recently. Your growing belly has shifted your center of gravity. Pregnancy hormones have also made your joints looser. You may also be more distracted, which can make you more accident-prone. Exercise more caution while doing everyday activities.

8. Insomnia

Insomnia is very common during this stage of pregnancy. Leg cramps, frequent urination, heartburn, and even anxiety can keep you up at night. Try to use a pregnancy pillow to help you sleep better. If you still can’t sleep, get up and read a book, write a journal, or take a warm bath.

9. Pregnancy brain

Lack of concentration and forgetfulness are common during pregnancy. According to a survey, 64% of women reported changes in cognition during pregnancy (2). Write things down and delegate essential responsibilities.

Your body at week 31

You have now gained about 21 to 27 pounds. You can feel your uterus about four inches above your belly button now. You may also notice more hip and back pains now. Pregnancy hormones relax the ligaments and tendons in the pelvic area to prepare for delivery. Your uterus may be putting pressure on the sciatic nerve, causing tingling and numbness from the buttock area to the back of each leg.

Some women also experience hemorrhoids during this time. Over the counter, creams or witch hazel pads can provide relief.

Your baby at week 31 of pregnancy

By the end of the 31st week, your baby will weigh four pounds and will be around 15.5 inches long. As more fat is being deposited under his skin, he is looking more and more like a newborn.

  • Now that your baby is too big to stretch out, he is settling into a fetal position.
  • Your baby’s neck muscles are becoming stronger, and he can now move his head from side to side.
  • Your baby’s brain is developing at a fast pace. The connections in your baby’s brain are forming by the million.
  • Your baby’s lungs are more developed now but are still not fully mature.
  • Your baby has more defined periods of sleep and wakefulness.
  • When awake, he is making faces, hiccupping, pedaling with his hands and feet along the uterine wall, and sucking his thumb.

Tips to follow when you are 31 weeks pregnant

1. Arrange for maternity leave

Complete all the formalities related to maternity leave now. Talk to your boss and co-workers about when you’re taking time off. Sign all the necessary paperwork and complete the process.

2. Pack your hospital bag

It’s time to get your hospital maternity bag ready. Your kit should have your birth plan, nightgown, slippers, toiletries, baby gear, and a going home outfit for you and snacks.

3. Eat healthily

Eat a diet that’s high in fruits, vegetables, lean protein, and fiber. During this time, eating vitamin c, vitamin K, fiber, and thiamine are especially important.

4. Keep track of your baby’s movements

Movements are an important sign that your baby is healthy. Pay special attention to your baby’s movements. Count fetal movements for one hour, you should be able to feel at least ten movements in one hour.

5.  Stay active

Regular exercise during this time can help alleviate discomforts like back pain, swelling, constipation, and fatigue. Exercise during pregnancy also helps to reduce the risk of complications like preeclampsia, gestational diabetes, and cesarean. Walking, swimming, pilates, and prenatal yoga are all great options for staying fit during pregnancy.

Your week 31 of pregnancy doctor’s visit

During the third trimester, the frequency of your prenatal visits will increase from once in four weeks to once in two weeks. During this visit, your doctor will measure the size of your womb and check the position of your baby. The ideal position for your baby is head down and back towards your stomach. However, there is still enough time for your baby to turn, so don’t worry if your baby is not in this position now.

Your doctor will also check your weight and blood pressure during this visit. You will also be tested for protein and sugar in the urine. Your doctor will also discuss the results of the tests done during your last appointment.

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Tips for your partner

Soon your partner is going to start feeling very uncomfortable. Help her with the household chores. As the due date comes closer, make sure that the hospital bag is packed. Don’t forget to pack a few things for yourself in case you have to stay overnight.

Final thoughts

You are now in the last trimester of your pregnancy. Your uterus is growing and putting pressure on the surrounding organs, which may be leading to symptoms like shortness of breath, frequent urination, backache, and insomnia. Your baby’s brain is developing at a fast pace. The connections in your baby’s brain are forming by the million.

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