In this article
A mother – in – waiting finally reaches the 31st week of pregnancy which is the 3rd week of the 3rd (and last) trimester. This also equates to the 8th month of the journey. Also by week 31, the uterus is now 4 inches above the belly button.
The mother in week 31
By week 31, a mother – to – be is bound to feel almost the same symptoms that she felt in the earlier weeks. Also, expect to have a hard time moving around due to the increasing weight and size of the belly.
Week 31 symptoms
Shortness of breath
During this week, the uterus has expanded so large it presses up diaphragm (a muscle which aids in breathing), crowds the lungs, and pushes all the internal organs aside to accommodate the growing baby. As a result, she experiences shortness of breath.
While the mother is catching her breath, the baby – to – be is getting more oxygen from his placenta.Pregnancy week by week
Shortness of breath will end once the uterine wall together with the unborn baby descends down the pelvis in preparation for child labor.
More frequent urination
At week 31, the baby’s position is most probably head down and almost engaged in the birth canal in preparation for childbirth, his head directly presses the bladder. As a result, more frequent urination unlike the earlier weeks.
Having frequent urination begins around week 6 and gets worst as the pregnancy progresses (week 31 onwards). This symptom is caused by hCG (human chorionic gonadotrophin), this pregnancy hormone increases blood flow to the kidneys.
Add to that is the expanding uterus also adds some pressure on the bladder, which gives it less room to store urine. This pressure will only be relieved once the uterus ascends into the abdominal cavity.
Visible varicose veins
Varicose veins are swollen blood vessels in the lower half of the body (particularly the legs). Varicose veins become visible during pregnancy since body produces extra blood volume to support two growing bodies.
The expanding uterus also causes the veins to become visible since it presses the pelvic blood vessels.
A soon – to – be mom tends to be clumsy (unintentional slapstick) during pregnancy because the center of gravity begins to shift forward.
Studies show that 3 out of 4 women experience sleep problems during pregnancy. This symptom stems from a lot of sources such as:
- More trips to the bathroom
- Body pain and general discomfort
- Leg spasms
- Restless leg syndrome (RLS)
- Pregnancy – induced heartburns
- Nasal congestion
- Sleep apnea
Occasional headaches stems from a lot of causes such as:
- Over – fatigue
- Increased hunger
- Physical and emotional stress
Backache is the stabbing pain which begins at the back or buttocks and radiates down the legs. This symptom happens since the body is having a hard time carrying the added weight of the growing baby.
Pregnancy – induced brain fog
Pregnancy – induced brain fog (commonly known as forgetfulness) happens because the mother’s brain cell volume decreases. This is to provide for the baby’s intellectual development.
Symphysis Pubis Dysfunction (SPD)
Symphysis Pubis Dysfunction (commonly known as pelvic pain) is a pelvic girdle pain where the symphysis pubis joints (pubic bones) becomes unstable. To identify SPD, here are the common symptoms:
- Back/pelvic/hip pain
- Clicking sensation in the pubic area
- Pain when walking, parting one’s legs, going up and down the stairs, or even moving around in bed
Braxton Hicks contractions
Braxton Hicks contractions are the tightening sensation in the uterine muscles.
The breasts begin to leak colostrum (precursor to breastmilk) since the milk ducts and mammary glands are still forming.
Fetal development in week 31
The baby – to – be has reached the 3 pound mark. His sleeping time gets which is why his size is rapidly approaching his birth length. Furthermore, here are the following fetal developments which take place at week 31:
- The baby – in – waiting stretches for about 15.2 – 16.7 inches from head – to – toe standard and tips the scales roughly at 2.5 – 3.8 pounds. He continues to gain weight at a rapid pace which gives him a chubbier physique. By the same token, he begins to get cramped inside the uterus due to his increasing size.
- Most of the lanugo has shed. By that, the white fat is being distributed underneath his skin and keeps him warm.
- Now that his physique is fully formed and all his internal organs and body systems are already functioning well, most of the developmental milestone takes place in adding fat tissues (which includes his arms and legs).
- The bone marrow has taken over the liver’s function of producing red blood cells (RBCs).
- By this week, the unborn baby undergoes through major brain and nerve development. By the same token, the connections for his nerve cells are being established at a rapid rate. He now begins to process information,
- He can now move his head from side to side.
- His reproductive organs are making some final adjustments. If a mother – in – waiting carries a boy, his testicles are moving towards the groin and into the scrotum. On the other hand, girls the clitoris is now fully developed. As of this week, he is already passing water on his bladder for about 2 cups of liquid in his amniotic fluid per day.
- His auditory senses (sense of hearing) can now identify various noises and voices (including his mother and father). He may even jump when he hears a loud sound or even move to the rhythm of the music he likes. This reaction is called blink startle response.
- For his sense of sight, the irises can now react to the light. Plus, he can already blink his eyes and bat his eyelashes. His eyebrows are fully formed as well.
- For his olfactory senses, he cannot smell anything right now since he is still immersed in amniotic fluid. The nose needs to breathe fresh air before he can smell anything.
Pregnancy tips for week 31
Since the 31st week sums up as the 8th month of pregnancy (one remaining month to go before the delivery day), a mother – to – be must still maintain on taking care of her well – being to ensure that the baby will be born safety and healthy.
Things to do during the 31st week of pregnancy
Here are the following things which a mother – to – be must consider doing in the 31st week of pregnancy:
Stay well – hydrated
Do not cut back on the fluid intake. Stay well – hydrated during pregnancy, this is because the body and the unborn baby need an ample amount of water supply.
Do double voiding
Double voiding is when a person tries to urinate again right after he/she is done urinating. This behavioral treatment ensures that an overactive bladder is fully emptied each time. For better results, lean forward when urinating and double voiding.
Sleep and/or lie on the left side
Always sleep and/or lie on the left side of the body. This sleeping position prevents the blood vessels from being pressured and it keeps the blood flow going.
Parental lovemaking and orgasm
Parental lovemaking and orgasm (simply known as sex during pregnancy) gives an interesting effect on the unborn baby. Some may fall asleep while the parents do the deed while some loves the rhythm of the activity.
Pack a hospital or birthing center bag
Packing a hospital or birthing center bag is a means of preparation just in case the water breaks. Here are the following things an expectant mom must put in her bag:
- Labor gear
- Personal items
- Mother and baby’s clothes
- Essential items
Use a birthing ball
Using a birthing ball in pregnancy brings a lot of benefits such as:
- Alleviates backache
- Eases and shortens labor pain
- Soothes Braxton Hicks contractions
Count fetal kicks
Counting fetal kicks is charting the fetal movements per day. This activity identifies if the unborn baby is healthy or at risk of stillbirth. Furthermore, here is how to count fetal kicks:
- Begin counting during the baby’s “awake” time
- Sit with the feet up or lie on the left side
- Begin counting kicks (movements such as twists, turns, swishes, rolls, jabs)
- A mother must chart at least 10 fetal kicks
- This activity generally takes 10 – 15 minutes and can take for as long as 2 – hours
If a mother failed to chart 10 movements, wait for another 2 hours and try again. If no movements where made within the 2 – hour period, she must contact the doctor to address the concern.
Hire a doula
Doula is a woman who helps and guides a woman (especially first – time mothers) during her journey to pregnancy and first steps of motherhood.
Attend antenatal classes
Antenatal classes provide vast information about labor, childbirth, and early stages of parenthood. Parents – to – be must attend this class to be well – rounded about the responsibilities they are going to face.
Pain relief methods
A birth partner (spouse) must support his wife through labor. He must be well – rounded about pain relief methods to ensure that her labor is painless and stress – free as possible.
What to avoid in week 31
Vices are strictly prohibited for expectant mothers since it is very dangerous on both parties. Here are the following symptoms she must consider avoiding:
- Drinking alcoholic beverages
- Smoking cigarettes
- Taking recreational drugs
- Taking sleeping pills
Substances with caffeine content
An expectant mom should not eat or drink substances with caffeine since it is a diuretic (form of drug). Caffeine disrupts the sleeping cycle of both parties and triggers urination. Aside from coffee, here are the substances which contain caffeine:
- Soft drinks
- Some tea
- Energy drinks
- Caffeinated snacks and candies
Sweet and sugary substances
Avoid eating sweet and sugary substances especially before going to bed since it gives an energy boost (which will keep her awake at night).
Carrying heavy objects
Avoid carrying heavy objects since this can trigger various body strains. If so, she must do the following positions:
- Bend at the knees, not at the waist
- Lift using the arms and legs, not the back
Reaching for high items
Avoid forcing oneself to reach for high items as it can also trigger various body strains.