Your baby is now the size of a pineapple, measuring between seventeen (17) and eighteen (18) inches from head to heel and weighing almost three and a half (3.5) pounds. You are in your eighth month of pregnancy.
During week 31 of pregnancy, your baby is nearing his or her birth height but still needs to double in weight over the next couple of weeks. Layers of fat will continue to accumulate under the skin, which is more smooth and less wrinkled, as your baby packs on the pounds to reach his or her birth weight. The lungs and brain continue to mature. Your baby can distinguish between different nuances of light and dark and can hear pretty distinctly. Talk to your baby as much as possible because your baby already recognizes your voice and will be comforted by the sound after birth. The fingernails are growing and may need trimmed soon after your baby is born. You should notice a distinct pattern of waking and sleeping during which your baby is either more still or more active. Your baby also continues to move into the head down position during week 31 of pregnancy in preparation for birth.
During week 31 of pregnancy, you should have gained between twenty-one and twenty-seven pounds. Your uterus fills the majority of your abdomen, pushing on your diaphragm and lungs. Breathing may be more difficult. You may find yourself needing to use the bathroom more frequently. And you may be suffering from heartburn, indigestion, flatulence, and constipation. Try eating more but smaller meals throughout the day to ease your digestive issues, and make sure to drink plenty of fluids and eat plenty of fiber including fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. As your body prepares to give birth, you may notice yourself walking with the signature pregnancy “waddle” as your pelvic ligaments loosen and your baby descends towards the birth canal. Other symptoms during week 31 of pregnancy include back pain, hip and abdominal achiness, headaches, varicose veins, stretch marks, nasal congestion, difficulty sleeping, clumsiness, forgetfulness, and excitement and anxiety about the birth.
You may begin noticing Braxton Hicks contractions around week 31 of pregnancy. As your body prepares for labor and birth, your uterus will tighten and relax. Braxton Hicks contractions are usually random and irregular, lasting about thirty seconds, and should be painless and infrequent. If your contractions become more frequent, usually defined as more than four in an hour, then contact your health care provider immediately. Frequent contractions, even if painless, could by a sign of premature labor. Other signs of preterm labor include a significant increase in vaginal discharge, a significant change in vaginal discharge, abdominal pain, severe cramping similar to menstrual cramps, increased pressure in the pelvic area, and new lower back pain.
Disclaimer: The information provided in this article is not meant to replace the professional medical advice of your health care provider.
31 weeks pregnant: http://www.babyzone.com/pregnancy-week-by-week/31-weeks-pregnant_70867
Curtis, Glade B. & Judith Schuler. 2011. Your pregnancy week by week. 7th edn. Philadelphia: Running Press.
Stone, Joanne & Keith Eddleman, eds. 2003. The pregnancy bible: Your complete guide to pregnancy and early parenthood. Willowdale, Ontario: Firefly Books.
Your pregnancy: 31 weeks: http://www.babycenter.com/6_your-pregnancy-31-weeks_1120.bc
Your pregnancy week by week: Weeks 31-34: http://www.webmd.com/baby/guide/your-pregnancy-week-by-week-weeks-31-34
Baby Bump at 31 Weeks: http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Sheila_31_weeks.jpg