Pregnancy Week 31
If you feel like you’re CONSTANTLY running off to the toilet, you’re not alone. At 31 weeks pregnant, your baby’s head will probably be pressing down on your bladder, which can leave you needing to pee much more often than usual.
This is usually even worse at night as the fluid which causes your heads and feet to swell during the day will have made its way to your bladder. The plus side is that you will wake up in the morning with actual ankles!
Needing to be up and down to go to the toilet can make getting a good night’s sleep challenging though. Do what you can to rest and take a nap in the day if you can.
Your body is getting ready to breastfeed and you may have noticed some milk leaking from your breasts. This is nothing to worry about – it’s a sign that your body is already busy producing colostrum, the first milk which is full of all the nutrients your newborn needs for the first few days after delivery.
If leaky boobs are a problem, get some breastpads to pop in your bra – you’ll be needing a stash for after the birth anyway. Some women never notice any leaks during pregnancy and this is perfectly normal too.
You may feel pretty enormous already but your bump still has some growing to do. Your midwife will measure your uterus, going from the top of your bump to the top of your pubic bone, to check that everything is developing as expected.
Your midwife may also check the position your baby is in. At this stage, your baby might already be head down, in the best position for being born. If they are, you probably felt plenty of movement as they were turning and your bump may look lower down than before.
Don’t worry too much, if your baby isn’t head down yet as there is still time for them to move. However, your midwife will want to keep an eye on their position as if they remain breech, this can make giving birth more challenging.
Your midwife may tell you that your baby’s head is engaged – this means they have moved down into the pelvis, ready for birth. This typically happens between 34 and 38 weeks but if your have given birth before, your baby’s head might not engage until your labour actually starts!
You may have started experiencing Braxton Hicks, which are practice contractions to help your body get ready for labour. You will feel your bump harden and your uterus tighten before relaxing again. These can feel quite confusing, and you may even wonder whether labour has started.
Braxton Hicks can be uncomfortable but they shouldn’t be painful. They usually come and go and are quite irregular. If you start getting regular contractions, which hurt and start coming closer and closer together, call your midwife or maternity unit so they can examine you and check you haven’t gone into labour early.
What will my baby be like at 31 weeks?
Your baby is getting chubbier by the day and will look less thin and wrinkled. If they were born now, they will be very small and will probably need extra care, but their chances of survival are high.
At 41.1cm from head to heel, they are a similar weight and size to a coconut. Your baby can now urinate so the amount of amniotic fluid surrounding them will be increasing – and they will even drink some of it as they practice swallowing.
At this point, your baby will be very active – something you may well be aware of from all their movements. As well as kicking you, they may be sucking their fingers or thumbs, playing with the umbilical cord and even doing the occasional somersault.
They can hear noises from outside the womb and will already be familiar with your voice. Talk to your bump as much as you can and encourage your partner and any older children to speak to them to. This will help your baby feel at home when they are born as they will be used to the noises of their new family.