When you are 31 weeks pregnant, your baby is growing and growing and is now about the same length as from your elbow to your finger tip.
It is time to start preparing for giving birth. A common worry among pregnant women is how they are going to cope with the labor pain. In addition to various pain relief methods, understanding what the labor pain is really about, may help mitigating your worries.
In this article:
Your Baby’s Development
The fetal age of your baby is now 29 weeks. Your baby now measures around 3.3 pounds (1.5 kg) – that’s around four navel oranges. The length would now be measuring over 16 inches (40.6 cm), similar to the distance between your finger tip and your elbow.
Additional developments are the ability to turn the head from side to side.
The legs and the body are starting to round up as more fats accumulate under the skin. You may also notice that your baby is moving a lot, causing you to sleep less. Take this positively, it only means that you have an active and healthy baby inside your womb.
The brain continues to develop rapidly and is expected to function well since there are already billions of neurons present. And your baby can now make use of all five senses since the connections between the individual nerve cells are now becoming more developed. You may be wondering if all of the senses will be used while the baby is still inside. Well, your baby can’t smell anything yet since she is packed with amniotic fluid. But one thing for sure is true – that the sense of smelling is now developed, though it is not being used yet.
Your little one can now make faces, swallow, suck her thumb, hiccup, and pedal her hands and feet inside your womb. While still inside the womb, some babies even suck their thumb vigorously.
Make sure you have sufficient calcium, folic acid, protein, and iron in your diet. It is necessary at this stage since your baby’s bones become harder.
31 weeks pregnant, you can expect frequent abdominal aches as your uterus is continuing to stretch to accommodate your growing baby. By this time, your uterus will be about 4 1/2 inches above your navel. Not very comfortable!
You may also notice that your uterine muscles are tightening every now and then – contractions! They are actually most likely so called Braxton Hicks contractions, and they would occur more frequently compared to the last few weeks. The contraction often lasts about 30 seconds. Don’t worry; they are just false contractions and they are normal and painless. Keep in mind that these contractions occur at irregular intervals and remain irregular, can be felt in the abdomen and remain in the abdomen and groin, and disappear with rest and sleep.
If you experience contractions other than the ones described (for example painful, regular or contractions that don’t disappear), then you better go to your health care provider for you may be showing signs of a preterm labor.
By this time, you may expect some milk leaking from your breasts. It’s normal since you are in the stage of milk production in preparation for the coming baby. You can use a nursing bra and insert nursing pads to protect your clothes. Just don’t head off and by a full year’s supply of nursing bras already. Read our tips for buying the right nursing bra here.
Just like the past weeks, you will still be feeling some shortness of breath since your uterus is continuing to push all your internal organs, giving less space for your lungs to expand. So to avoid getting exhausted, you need to rest in between periods of activities or exercises, and you need to have plenty of bed rest. You also need to inhale and exhale deeply several times a day. This will help expand your lungs and get enough oxygen needed for both you and your baby.
Don’t worry, these episodes of shortness of breath will end when the baby descends down to your – that’s two to three weeks before your expected date of delivery, sometimes even earlier if it is your first child.
Have you started to plan for the Big Event, due in about 8 or 9 weeks or so? If not, check out or articles about giving birth here.
Week 31 Video Gallery
Diary of a Daughter
What’s it really like being 31 weeks pregnant…? Here’s a true diary from a 31 weeks pregnant mom (Me..!)
According to my midwife, my iron has improved and I can feel it too; not quite as tired. The contractions are not quite as bad either.
Are you also 31 weeks pregnant? Please share your experiences and thoughts by leaving a comment below!
- Premature survival rates week by week
- All about Braxton Hicks contractions
- Childbirth videos that are helpful (even when you’re pregnant)
MayoClinic (2011), Mayo Clinic Guide to a Healthy Pregnancy
Joanne Stone MD and Keith Eddleman MD (2008) The Pregnancy Bible: Your Complete Guide to Pregnancy and Early Parenthood
Nilsson, L; Hamberger, L. (2004) A Child Is Born.
Soderberg, L. (2010) Mammapraktika. B Wahlstroms.
Image1: Image of 31 weeks fetus by The_Smiths
Image2: Image of 31 weeks belly by Graham andSheila