Your guide to being 31 weeks pregnant
You’re well into the third trimester now… how are you feeling?
Your baby’s lungs are fully developed this week, although they’re not mature yet. He’ll be ‘breathing’ rhythmically now though, although occasionally he will swallow some down the wrong way and get hiccups, which you can feel.
He’s gaining weight rapidly as he lays down fat in preparation for his big arrival and the brain connections that control sensory input are forming now.
His bones are fully developed (although still soft) and he’ll begin building up his own stores of iron and calcium. All the more reason to ensure you are getting enough of these minerals in your diet, to keep your own stores topped up.
It’s possible your baby will turn into a head down position in preparation for birth, although some babies leave it until the very last minute so don’t be too concerned if he hasn’t shown signs of doing so yet. Your midwife can usually tell where your baby’s lying by palpating (feeling) your bump.
What’s happening to you
Your bump may be enormous by now, or it may still be relatively compact. Don’t be worried if it doesn’t measure up to other women at the same stage – and try not to get too irritated by comments people may make. The shape and size of your bump depends on your own physique and the size and position of your baby. So ignore the comments – as long as you and your baby are healthy that’s all that matters.
Even if you’ve avoided it so far, water retention (also known as oedema) is very common about now and you may notice that your legs and ankles are puffy, particularly at the end of the day or if you’ve been standing for a while. The fact that your body’s having to pump more blood around than usual combined with the fact that the walls of your veins are more relaxed thanks to the increased level of the hormone progesterone, means that fluid is more likely to pool in the areas further away from your heart. Your can minimise fluid retention by not standing up for too long and, when sitting, putting your feet up at every opportunity. Drinking plenty of water, wearing support stockings and avoiding salty foods may all help too.
When to check it out
While an increasingly puffy face and hands is normal for many women towards the end of the third trimester, it can also be a sign of pre-eclampsia. If your swelling is severe or comes on suddenly, see your midwife or GP.
‘To do’ this week
Thought about a name for your baby? While you may not know exactly what you’ll call your baby until the day you meet him, drawing up a shortlist of names that you and your partner both like and agree on is a good idea. And fun!
Wow! Did you know…
Your baby’s weight gain is rapid – and may now increase by anywhere from 175 – 300g a week.