At 31 weeks pregnant, you’re getting closer to your due date.
You’re probably feeling very pregnant by this stage.
You might also have noticed your memory isn’t quite what it was.
Welcome to baby brain!
31 Weeks Pregnant – Everything You Need To Know
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.
There is actually a good reason for pregnancy brain.
Read It IS All In Your Head – 5 Reasons Mummy Brain Is Real to find out more.
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 aim to have it packed by 36 weeks.
You should include practical items for yourself after the birth, as well as anything special you might want for you and your new baby.
Some mothers-to-be also include a few items they’d like to have with them during labour. 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 Labour – What To Pack has plenty of tips.
31 Weeks Pregnant: Weight Gain
Your weight gain should still 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 it makes sure your baby is getting the best building blocks for development.
You can have an occasional treat, of course, but try to ensure 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 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 during hot weather.
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 in pregnancy.
31 Weeks Pregnant: Your Body
At week 31 of pregnancy, the best way to describe your body right now is ‘expanding’.
You might feel a bit clumsy. That’s natural; your centre 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 as space as possible.
You’re probably experiencing lots of Braxton Hicks contractions now.
If these practice contractions become regular, or they begin to be painful, it’s possible you are in labour.
Contact your doctor or midwife immediately if this happens.
To relieve Braxton Hicks, try one of the tips in this article.
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 safe for you to take.
Noticing any discharge from your nipples?
This yellow liquid is called colostrum, 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 later part of pregnancy.
During pregnancy, you might wish to collect 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, and connecting up nerve cells at a rapid pace.
Baby can now process information, track light and receive signals through all five senses.
There’s not much to smell inside the uterus, 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 favourite.
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.
At 31 weeks your baby is getting bigger and taking up plenty of room.
He occupies his waking hours sucking his thumb, pedalling with his feet, grasping the cord and his own body, and practising reflexes for life outside the uterus.
As a result, baby’s movements are likely to feel less like rolling and more like bumping and thumping.
At 31 weeks pregnant, your baby weighs about 1.8 kg and he is about 38-44 cm long. He will gain about .22 kg each week from now on and is roughly the size of a coconut.