31 weeks pregnant
31 weeks pregnant in NZ: What to expect.
At 31 weeks of pregnancy, things are pretty far along and you have just nine weeks to go until you can finally meet your baby.
Colostrum secretion: You may notice your breasts secreting a thick, yellowish, milky substance. This is called colostrum and is produced by your milk glands. Your body formulates it to give your baby calories and nutrients for the first few days after birth. Wearing breast pads will protect your clothing.
Have you decided if you’re going to breast-feed your child? The World Health Organisation recommends it, but whether you breast-feed or bottle-feed your baby is a personal choice. If you’re uncertain, you may find it helpful to discuss your options with a lactation consultant or your Lead Maternity Carer (LMC).
Breathlessness: Your body is growing to make room for the baby developing inside, but it can be a tight squeeze. The baby, at 31 weeks, is pressing against your lungs, so you may feel breathless when you climb up a steep flight of stairs. This will improve at about week 34 when your baby drops a little lower into your pelvis as he or she gets ready for birth. Don’t worry: your baby is receiving all the oxygen he or she needs via the placenta.
Pregnancy brain: Yes, it’s real. A foggy memory is a common symptom in mums-to-be and is due to a combination of factors, including a lack of quality sleep, tiredness and the cocktail of hormones that are playing tricks with your body. Studies have reported that the brain functions a little differently when you’re pregnant. The side of the brain that’s associated with emotional skills sees an increase in activity. The theory is that this is to attune you at the neurological level to your child’s emotions, to ensure that you bond better. Another study found that the brain actually reduces in size during pregnancy and increases again after delivery.
Clumsiness: The big baby bump you’re sporting moves your centre of gravity, throwing your balance off. This becomes more obvious when you’re going up stairs or carrying a heavy object. Hormones also loosen joints and cause you to retain extra fluids, making your grasp much less firm. Tiredness and fatigue, common in the third week of pregnancy, also make you more inclined to stumble and trip.
What can you do about this? Prepare yourself for these situations and avoid them as much as you can. It won’t last forever, so for your own health and that of your baby it’s best to take precautions, such as laying out rubber mats in the bathroom and letting someone else do the heavy lifting around the house.
Food to eat for good nutrition at 31 weeks pregnant:
In NZ, it is recommended that mums-to-be stay aware of what they eat so that they don’t miss out on any of the major food groups. Nutrition is key throughout pregnancy for a healthy mum and child. It may be wise to replace saturated fat consumption (butters, creams) with unsaturated fats like oils and spreads. It’s also a good idea to cut back on caffeine. Drinking plenty of water is beneficial and, at 31 weeks pregnant, it helps keep the body’s natural cooling system going. As some fish may contain high levels of mercury, Food Standards Australia New Zealand offer specific guidelines for fish consumption during pregnancy.
Pregnancy at 31 weeks? Symptoms you should NOT ignore:
- Any sudden swelling in the face, especially if this is accompanied by headaches and altered vision. Facial swelling can be a sign of preeclampsia.
- Persistent headaches that don’t go away even after getting plenty of rest.
- Any unusual vaginal discharge, a change in your urine output, and cramping or pain in the lower abdomen region should also be reported to your doctor right away.
Baby development at 31 weeks:
Your baby’s total length is around 40cm and he or she weighs about 1.6kg at this point. Soon, the lengthening will pause so that he or she can put on some extra fat.
A 31-week baby receives nutrition through the placenta. The baby is also producing urine at this stage – about half a litre a day that goes into the amniotic fluid. This is completely replaced many times per day. The baby is also swallowing some fluid at this point, so excess fluid in the sac may mean that the baby is having trouble swallowing or has a GI obstruction. Too little fluid in the sac may mean that the baby isn’t urinating properly, indicating an issue with the urinary system or kidneys. Your baby’s eyelashes and eyebrows are fully present. The lungs, as well as the digestive tract, should be functioning.
Senses are operational: All five of your baby’s senses are operational at this stage. He or she will be able to hear the music you play and the foetal heart rate actually speeds up in response to certain music or sounds.
Brain development: Since the brain is now processing all the signals it receives from the five senses, cerebral development is shifted into high gear and will continue to mature over the next few weeks.
Sleep & dreaming: Your baby at 31 weeks gets a lot of sleep, especially the REM stage that involves dreaming. Your baby is likely to wake up if you eat something sugary.
Is baby fully developed at 31 weeks?
In NZ, babies are well-developed by 31 weeks. Typically, they will have completed organ development much earlier and the digestive tract and lungs are functional. In this week, he or she will experience major cerebral development. Some development will continue until much later in the third trimester, such as the sucking reflex, which helps in feeding and will develop at 37/38 weeks.
Can you have a healthy baby at 31 weeks?
Yes: thanks to medical advancements, babies born at this stage have a 94% survival rate (according to experts the American Academy of Paediatrics). Babies born at 31 weeks are categorised as very preterm babies and will spend some time in the NICU. They may have breathing difficulties that will require support. Happily, they have few to zero long-term developmental problems.
What position is the baby in at 31 weeks?
Initially your baby is in the breech position, i.e. head upright. He or she may turn upside down between 31 and 32 weeks. Toward the 34th week, he or she will drop lower into the pelvic region. This is to get into position for birth.
How many months is 31 weeks pregnant?
At 31 weeks, you are in the seventh month of your pregnancy.
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