At 31 weeks pregnant, pregnant women and their unborn babies start to vary dramatically. While some women have gained 25-35 pounds by the third trimester, others may have gained upwards of 65 or 70 pounds. The unborn babies can vary even more dramatically than the mommies; while some babies reach lengths of 17 inches and weigh in at almost 4 pounds by the 31st week of pregnancy, others may reach only 14 inches and just barely hit 3 pounds by the same point in time. These differences are just as common as the differences among newborns and everybody walking the Earth on any given day. Keep in mind that as long as mom and baby are healthy and on track, weight and size should be of little concern.
By 31 weeks pregnant, you may find your body has a mind of its own. Your bladder, lungs, and leaking nipples may make you feel completely out of control, but just hang in there! Your sudden inability to take deep breaths is due to your uterus and your baby’s growing size. While it may be scary to not be able to catch your breath right away or inhale as deeply, there’s no need to worry… and your breathing abilities will go back to normal once the baby is born. Your bladder, well, you dealt with the frequent urination thing in the first few weeks of this fiasco, remember? The increasingly excessive pressure (now every week) of your growing baby is pushing on your bladder in just the right way that you may feel the urge to urinate almost as soon as you drink a drop of anything. The remedy: don’t drink too much of anything without being close to a restroom, and limit fluids prior to bedtimes or movies. Last, but certainly not least, you may start to notice some leaking from your nipples and excessive cervical discharge as early as 31 weeks pregnant. The colostrum (the first milk) that can start leaking from your nipples at this point is just your body’s way of prepping for the baby’s milk supply needed immediately following the birth, and there is absolutely no need for concern. The excessive cervical discharge is your body’s way of preparing for the delivery by flushing; you may even notice the loss of your mucous plug from 31 weeks pregnant forward, which is just your body’s way of getting the birth canal ready for the birth. The remedy: nursing pads work wonders, and they’re a great investment for nursing moms’ leaking breastmilk after the baby’s birth.
Although all babies vary in size from 31 weeks pregnant, on, your baby is anywhere between 2½ and 3½ pounds (the weight of a cantaloupe), and has probably reached 15 to 17 inches in length (about the size of a stalk of celery). Notice the creative comparisons of your baby to fruits and veggies in order to keep your healthy nutrition in mind – you’re welcome! Your baby, no matter how heavy or long, is filling out from this 31st week of pregnancy until the bitter-sweet end. With all of the weight she’ll gain over these last 9 weeks, her skin will lose it’s wrinkly appearance and put on the baby-fat she’ll have at birth. You may notice her movements slowing down some at this point, and there is no need to worry unless you feel no movement for over an hour. Most midwives and doctors can help ease your mind about your baby’s positioning and movements by helping you figure out which part of her body is where in your belly. Also, your baby may be head down already, or she could wait until as close to the birth as the day of!
As long as mom and baby are feeling good at 31 weeks pregnant, everything is great! In the homestretch of this wonderful experience, now, you and your baby may find your discomfort and tight fitting quarters more of a nuisance than ever before. Keep your comfort level at its best by staying close to restrooms, avoiding uncomfortable positions that make breathing more difficult, and invest in some nursing pads or pantyliners in order to reduce the aggravation resulting from leaky nipples and excessive cervical discharge. If nothing else, this is definitely an educational week. Take the time and care to maintain as much of a placid and sane environment fro here on out, and you’ll be in good shape!