Your Pregnancy Week 31

Reviewed by James Brann, MD
Learn about 

your symptoms and changes during the 31st week of pregnancy.

Your Baby

By pregnancy week 31 your baby weighs in at roughly 3.3 pounds and is still roughly 16 inches in length!

Changes in Your Growing Baby

During the final weeks of your pregnancy your baby will spend lots of time building layers of fat under her skin to keep her warm and safe after delivery. Your baby's legs and arms start looking less wrinkly as they begin to fill out and plump up. Your baby will soon discover the space in your womb getting much tighter in the last weeks of pregnancy. You too may experience some discomfort as your belly continues to expand and your baby takes up more room in your uterus.
Your baby's movements will continue to be strong but will also feel less dramatic or sporadic by this point in time. Your baby has less room to swim about, thus will move one or two body parts more slowly many times within your uterus. You may notice particularly strong movements or kicks and sudden changes that will occasionally startle you and often delight you. Onlookers often have a good deal of fun watching an expectant mother start and gasp at the sudden and exciting movements of their increasingly strong baby by this time in pregnancy.

Your Body's Development

Your uterus probably measures 4.5 inches above your navel. You will probably find you have some trouble catching your breath by about this time in pregnancy. Keep in mind you should take things easy and take your time to prevent excessive fatigue or dizziness. As you continue your pregnancy you might consider some prenatal yoga or some stretching around this time to help prepare your body for labor and help you relax despite your growing size.

Changes in Your Body

During 31 weeks pregnant and beyond you may become more aware of your breast changes. Some women leak colostrums in the last trimester of pregnancy. This is the pre milk that forms in your breasts to nourish and protect your baby in the first few days of life. Colostrum varies in color from clearly to orange or even yellow at times. Some women never notice colostrum until right before delivery while others leak frequently. Fortunately a good breast pad can prevent embarrassing leaks from making their presence known to others.

Colostrum is particularly beneficial for babies born prematurely. Packed full of important antibodies, colostrum helps boost your baby's immune system and protects your baby against early infections that can occur during the first weeks of your baby's life.
By about this time you may be thinking more and more about your impending delivery. Delivery comes with many choices and many options. Some women will prefer a natural delivery while others will have an induction or a cesarean section. Of increasing interest of late are patient choice cesarean delivery at term. This is sometimes also referred to as a cesarean delivery at maternal request. This is an often controversial health care subject. Many women feel that the risks of a vaginal birth often outweigh those associated with cesarean delivery, thus they choose a cesarean delivery. It is their right to do so.

Women should know they can actively participate in the decision making process during their pregnancy. This includes working with their healthcare provider to decide the best method of delivery for their baby. Physician's work intimately with patients to assure the best outcome for the mother and their baby, and at times this may mean a cesarean delivery is necessary.

Video: What to Expect from the 31th Week of Pregnancy



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