Pregnancy: Week - 31

How your baby is growing:

After week thirty-one of your pregnancy body growth begins to slow slightly as your baby is already around sixteen inches long and weighs about three and one third of a pound. His or her head can move from side to side now as the spine has completed and his or her irises now contract and dilate in response to light. All that beautiful hair that has been growing for some time now also begins to gain pigmentation this week. You officially have a black headed angel by the end of this week!

As body growth begins to slow the brain takes over the growing game as it gains the contours and pathways all of our brains have. By this week your baby can interpret its surroundings and may even groove to the beat, or move in response to certain sounds. Studies also show by this point your baby will remember sounds or songs he or she hears regularly! Your favorite song for example may get a very different response from your baby than a song you never listen to after your baby is born. It’s a crazy thought that our memories actually begin to accumulate before we’re even born. Can you imagine how many memories the human brain holds by age eighty?

Your baby’s nerve cells and connections have also finished up which means he or she can feel pain and can feel how cramped its becoming in your tummy! Many babies begin to become less active in these final nine weeks. (That’s right! Welcome to the single digit weeks until your due date). Did you know the average baby at week thirty-one is only awake ten percent of the time!

How your body is changing:

The majority of the changes in your body are now complete from here on. It is just size increase and the usual hormone induced havoc that we call pregnancy. Common symptoms in week thirty-one include trouble sleeping, dizziness, fatigue, swelling in the ankles and/or feet, hemorrhoids, varicose veins, constipation, indigestion and bloating.

Many women also begin to feel the effects of non-physical symptoms of pregnancy such as increased excitement, apprehension, and/or become absent minded. These can cause other symptoms for instance if you’re feeling very apprehensive you may lose your appetite. Remember to eat a good balanced diet now more than ever as weight gain is important in these final weeks. As always let your doctor know if you experience any irregular symptoms or anything just doesn’t feel quite right to you. You know your body far better than anyone else does.

How your life is changing:

Now is a great time to have that baby shower you hypothetically planned earlier. The reason to wait until now was you didn’t have to store all the baby items for your whole pregnancy and you’re more likely to know what you need or want. However if you wait much longer to have your baby shower you may have the baby before the shower!

A baby shower is also a wonderful way to take your mind off something called the “nesting urge” that begins to hit many women around the thirty first week. This urge is exactly what it sounds like, an urge to make a nest for your baby, meaning to prepare everything and anything for your coming child. Some women can go a little overboard with this and forget to rest as the nesting urge is commonly accompanied by a new found burst of energy.

With that new burst of energy you may want to partake in some last minute love making as most doctors will recommend that you should not have sex for about six weeks after your labor, which remember, could happen at any time at this point. This seems like a good time to talk about sex in the third trimester. Due to your belly becoming so large sex during the third trimester can be a challenge.

At this point in your pregnancy it's important to avoid lying flat on your back, this can cut off blood flow to your baby. This can be remedied by propping your upper body up with a pillow or pad, or just avoiding positions where you need to be on her back.