This can be a special time in your pregnancy. You won’t be so big that moving around has become too challenging just yet, but it’s obvious to everyone that you are pregnant. This comes with some special privileges, especially if you are around other parents. For the first time ever, you may be offered someone’s seat on public transport, be invited to take the first place in a queue or other generally thoughtful gestures may be extended to you. It is generally worthwhile to accept these invitations in the spirit in which they are offered. Even if you don’t feel as if you strictly qualify for special consideration at 31 weeks of pregnancy, you will need to get in some practice. The day will come when you will be very grateful for them.
Remember, pregnant women should be given special consideration – after all, it is their children who will someday be contributing to the lives of us all as we age.
I feel blah!
If you’re feeling a little ho hum why not treat yourself? So much focus can be on the baby that you may be feeling you’re not as important as you would like. Have a massage, a trip to the beautician, a weekend away or just see a movie. Spending time with girlfriends and family can be incredibly restorative to a flagging spirit. Give yourself permission to invest some time into yourself and don’t feel guilty if you aren’t focusing on the baby every minute of the day. Your baby’s time will come but for now, the best thing you can do is to care well for yourself.
Your physical changes this week
- Your tummy is expanding more at 31 weeks, causing your skin to stretch a little more, and more and more. Many women develop stretch marks in the third trimester though little can be done to stop them forming. Try to watch your weight gain and aim to stick within the total recommended 10-12 kilograms range. You’ll find it so much easier to return to your pre-pregnancy weight if you have not had an excessive pregnancy gain.
- You could notice yourself becoming short of breath now, especially if you are rushing about. Try to watch your posture and give your lungs as much room to inflate as they can. It’s getting crowded in your tummy now but the simple act of sitting up straight and pulling back your shoulders can give a much needed couple of extra centimetres to your mid region.
- Colostrum could be leaking from your breasts this week, the yellowish-clear early milk which is so ideal for newborns. If you’ve had a baby before you could find you have more colostrum than if this is your first baby. Some women need to wear a nursing pad inside their bra on some days. If they are wearing a dark coloured top, leakages are more obvious.
- Your body’s iron stores could be depleting now, so it’s very important you do what you can to boost them. Your body needs Vitamin C to help it absorb dietary iron. So have plenty of fresh fruits and juice as well when you are trying to increase your iron intake.
Your emotional changes this week
- Labour day is getting closer. A little apprehension is normal and healthy, but if you are consumed by anxiety or dreading your delivery, you will need to speak with someone. Fear causes a surge of Cortisol; the stress hormone to circulate within your body. A little is good, but too much, for too long can lead to stress related health issues. Your midwife or doctor will have suggestions which you can try in order to reduce your anxiety.
- Your baby seems to be very much a part of you by now and it’s becoming harder to remember a time when you weren’t pregnant. When you are 31 weeks pregnant, you’ll start to imagine what life will be like after the baby is born, build hopes for the sort of parent you want to be and develop your own ideas on how you want to care for your baby.
- You may feel confused about all the information which is available to you but which often seems contradictory. Filtering what applies to you and what will work for your family is difficult but unfortunately, this is not a short term issue. After the baby is born is a time of peak confusion for a lot of parents, when their desire to do everything just right is at its highest.
Your baby’s changes this week
- Your baby is getting longer with each passing day. It is around 46 centimetres this week, only 7 centimetres less than the average length of a baby born at term. Your baby is gaining more weight now than it is increasing in length. You’ll probably notice your baby’s weight increases when you step on the scales yourself at your antenatal appointments.
- Your baby is spending long periods of time in REM (Rapid Eye Movement) sleep. This is a stage of sleep which is so important that some researchers say humans actually have 3 states of being, awake, asleep and in REM sleep.
- More brain and complex nerve activity this week. The connections or synapses in your baby’s brain are forming by the millions and are helped by the stimulation they receive in their insulated little world. Your voice, household noise, filtered light, movement and music will all help these vital connections to form.
Tips for Week 31
- Your antenatal appointments will increase in frequency from now on. It is likely you’ll need to see your midwife or doctor monthly to assess your baby’s growth and how you are going. These visits can be very exciting even if they may seem a little repetitious. Important information is gathered at every visit and it is important not to leave too much time lapse between them.
- Stock up fresh fish. Omega-3 Fatty Acids will directly impact on your baby’s brain and eye health, so oily fish like sardines, salmon and even prawns are a good source. Aim to eat a handful of nuts every day and don’t shy away from butter, margarine and even a little cream.
- If you have a desk job or spend long hours sitting, make a plan to move every hour. Getting up and going for a walk will help your lower limbs push your blood back through your general circulation. Aim to walk for exercise every day as well. Try to include a hill or two and increase your pace to get your heart rate going a little higher.
- Become aware of your baby’s kick pattern. Unless it’s been recommended, you don’t need to keep a kick chart. But a general awareness of your baby’s movements and activity is a good thing to have. That way, if there is an overall decrease you’ll be alert to it.
- Mark your due date on your pregnancy calendar and compare your experiences with the information they give.