Pregnancy at 31 weeks is all about growing! Your baby will begin to put on weight–unfortunately that means you, too–and will have less room to move around. You may begin having some contractions–if you haven’t already–as your body prepares for labor and delivery.
Your baby is around 16 to 17 inches long and weighs 3 to 4 pounds. He is getting ready to have a growth spurt–the last months are devoted to gaining the weight he’ll need to thrive outside your womb. He will now gain 1/2 pound every week until nearly two weeks before birth.
Because your baby is now taking up so much room you’re likely to experience increased heartburn and lower back pain. You may find it difficult to tie your shoes and may need to begin napping in the afternoon or early evening. Now is the time that your breasts may begin to leak a clear, sticky substance that resembles honey. This is colostrum and is the precursor to breast milk and will be the perfect food for your baby’s first days if you choose to breast feed.
Your baby can now turn her head from side to side and is not as able to do somersaults and big movements because of the lack of room; she kicks and stretches, though! If it’s hot outside or you’ve just eaten a heavy meal she may feel drowsy. All five of her senses are being used–she can hear, taste, see, smell and feel. Her lungs are the only bodily system that is not mature yet–she needs a little more time resting in your uterus before she’s ready to say hello to the world.
Every baby develops at different rates and yours is no different. Babies are different sizes and have different levels of activity–don’t worry if your baby sleeps more than your best girlfriend’s or if she’s more active. You may carry lower, or higher and you may measure big some months and be right on target others. Voice any concerns you have to your health care provider–no matter how small they may seem.
As you enter this last trimester of pregnancy you may begin to feel contractions–a tightening of your uterus. These are called Braxton-Hicks contractions. Be aware that it is okay to have some contractions during this time–after all, your body is getting ready to deliver this baby and some practice is needed! However, if you are having 4 to 6 contractions an hour that’s too many. Lie down on your left side, begin drinking water and call your health care provider immediately.