At 31 weeks, you’re around 7 to 8 months pregnant and you’re getting closer to your due date.
Most women are probably feeling very pregnant by this stage.
One thing you might also have noticed is your memory isn’t quite what it was.
Welcome to the baby pregnancy brain!
31 Weeks Pregnant
During pregnancy, your brain shrinks by about 6%.
Consequently, this means you’re more likely to forget where you put your keys, or what you went to the shops to buy.
Read It IS All In Your Head – 5 Reasons Mummy Brain Is Real to find out more.
Now would be a good time to check with your employer about maternity leave.
In the meantime, take things slowly. Make lists to help you to get around your brain fogginess.
Don’t forget to make a list of what you need to put into your hospital bag. You should probably aim to have it packed by 36 weeks.
You should include practical items you’ll need after the birth, as well as anything special you might want for yourself and your new baby.
Some mothers-to-be also include a few items they’d like to have with them during labor. They might be photos, affirmation cards, or music.
Make sure your partner, doula, or birth support person knows where to access them and how to set them up.
Not sure what to pack?
BellyBelly’s article Hospital Bag Checklist For Labor – What To Pack has plenty of tips.
31 weeks pregnant cramping and pressure
At 31 weeks, Braxton Hicks contractions can ramp up. They will tighten your tummy and can feel quite uncomfortable.
True labor contractions will keep going and the pains increase in intensity. This may be early preterm labor at week 31.
The regular contractions may be associated with back pain that doesn’t settle.
Make sure to contact your healthcare provider if you have any signs of preterm labor.
During pregnancy, many pregnant women feel pressure, or heaviness, around the vagina.
This is normal and can happen in the first, second, or third trimester.
By 31 weeks, a pregnant woman’s uterus will expand from the size of an orange to the size of a watermelon or larger.
31 weeks pregnancy symptoms not to ignore
Some signs to look out for:
- Headache with visual disturbances or vision changes
- Constant pain in the abdomen or anywhere else
- Really sudden swelling in your legs, ankles, hands, feet, and face
- Mid sternum chest pain
- You feel like your baby is not moving, or has reduced movement
- You have vaginal bleeding
- Your water breaks; if it is clear or yellow or green then baby poop (meconium) could be in the amniotic fluid
Contact your doctor or midwife or care provider immediately if you have any of these signs or symptoms at 31 weeks pregnant.
Can I hurt my baby by sleeping on my right side?
You can sleep on either side — preferably the left, if possible. This position is ideal for you and your baby.
Lying on the left allows for maximum flow of blood and nutrients to the placenta, and means less stress on the vena cava (a major blood vessel that leads to the heart).
It also enhances kidney function, which means better elimination of waste products and less swelling in your feet, ankles, and hands.
If you have trouble sleeping, try pregnancy pillows which might ease your discomfort and help you settle into a comfortable sleeping position that is sometimes difficult to find.
Why is my tummy so hard at 31 weeks pregnant?
At 31 weeks pregnant you are probably having Braxton Hicks contractions, which are the ‘practice’ contractions that cause your belly to tighten and release.
These contractions are not regular and do not increase in intensity.
If your belly stays hard and does not release, and if you have pain or bleeding or the baby is not moving, you must contact your health care provider immediately.
To relieve Braxton Hicks, try one of the tips in this article.
Where do you feel the baby kicking if the head is down?
When the baby is head down, you’ll probably feel kicking higher up in the belly, and discomfort in the pelvis rather than the upper belly.
Watch your bump. It’s likely you’ll not only be able to feel it but also to see how your baby moves and kicks.
Feeling that cute bottom can also give you an idea of where the baby is.
31 weeks pregnant – how many days left?
Full term is 40 weeks of pregnancy, although it is not common for babies to be born on their due date.
If you were to have your baby on the due date you would have 9 weeks to go.
If you expect to go over this date by a least a week or two, then if your baby comes earlier it will be a pleasant surprise.
31 weeks pregnant and weight gain
Your weight gain should be steady as your baby continues to grow. Too much weight gain can lead to problems.
Above all, choose healthy eating. It’s good for you, and a healthy diet makes sure your baby is getting the best building blocks for development.
At week 31 of pregnancy, you can have an occasional treat, of course, but try to make sure your diet is based on nutritious whole foods.
Continue to get some exercise as it will also make you feel better.
In fact, movement keeps your circulation going and can reduce the swelling in your feet and legs.
Remember to keep the exercise low key. Don’t overdo it – especially if you’re not used to exercising, and if the weather is hot.
This is not the time to step up your exercise program. The amount of exercise you’ve been used to doing up to this point should be your guide as to how much you do in the future.
If you haven’t been exercising and want to start now, begin with gentle exercises at first.
Every expectant mother can benefit from a leisurely walk. Take a look at our article on Exercise and Pregnancy.
31 weeks pregnant – your body
At 31 weeks pregnant, the best way to describe your body right now is ‘expanding’.
You might feel a bit clumsy. That’s natural; your center of gravity is not where it used to be.
Your expanding uterus is taking up more space, which means there’s less room for your lungs. That can cause shortness of breath.
Try to keep your posture straight and give your lungs as much space as possible.
Frequent headaches are a common complaint during the last weeks of pregnancy.
Stress or pregnancy hormones can cause headaches.
Closing your eyes for a few minutes might help. Also, try drinking plenty of water.
If the headaches get too severe, check with your doctor, and ask about any over-the-counter medicines that will be safe for you to take.
Do I have colostrum at 31 weeks pregnant?
Noticing any leaking or discharge from your nipples? You can discuss this with a lactation consultant, and make a plan for now and for breastfeeding after the baby is born.
The yellow liquid you might notice is called colostrum, and it’s your baby’s first food.
Your body has been making colostrum since around week 16 of your pregnancy.
Not all women have colostrum leakage, but it’s not uncommon for it to happen in the latter part of pregnancy.
During pregnancy, you might wish to collect the colostrum for use after the birth.
Read Expressing Colostrum During Pregnancy for more information about when it’s safe to do so.
31 weeks pregnant – your baby
Your baby’s brain is working overtime now with nerve connections happening at a rapid pace.
Your baby at 31 weeks pregnant weighs about 1.8 kg (3.9 pounds) and he is about 38-44 cm (14-17 inches) long. He will gain about .22 kg (.48 pound) each week from now on, and is roughly the size of a coconut.
At week 31, your baby can process information, track light and receive signals through all five senses.
There’s not much to smell inside the womb right now, as your baby is surrounded by amniotic fluid.
After birth, however, your scent will be one of the very first your baby inhales. In fact, your smell will become your baby’s favorite.
You will notice how your baby settles or calms more easily when he’s close enough to smell you.
You might have noticed your baby is now quiet for longer periods of time.
That’s because he is spending more time in REM (Rapid Eye Movement) sleep.
This is an important phase of sleep when the brain is stimulated for learning.
Your baby at 31 weeks is getting bigger and taking up plenty of room.
He occupies his waking hours by sucking his thumb, pedaling with his feet, grasping the cord and his own body, and practicing reflexes he’ll need for life outside the uterus.
31 weeks pregnant – baby position
Your baby can be in any position he likes. There’s plenty of time to get into that optimal fetal position and right now he might or might not be head down.
Remember not to recline too much; instead, try a more forward-leaning posture to encourage the baby to move anterior.
Here are some tips that can help get your baby into an optimal position, and help your body in pregnancy:
- Optimal fetal positioning with Spinning Babies
- Chiropractic care
- Relaxation – let that oxytocin flow
Chat to your midwife or healthcare provider for more information.
31 weeks pregnant – baby movements
Most women can feel the baby’s movements from around 20 weeks.
Each baby is different. Some might move more in the evening, some in the morning. Some babies kick all the time and some not so much.
Your baby has developed his own individual pattern of movement. This pattern should not change.
The important thing to remember is if your pattern changes or you feel reduced movements, you need to contact your doctor for an assessment.
There is some outdated information out there. For example, you might hear that if you have a cold drink the baby will move, or that your baby’s movements slow down in the third trimester.
Neither of these is correct.
Babies do sleep, though, and will not be moving as much at this stage. Some might have extended periods of sleep.
You can’t always be sure whether your baby is sleeping for a long time or whether there is a problem, so always check it out if you are concerned.