At this point in pregnancy, the baby is likely moving a lot more than before. Because of the growing size of the baby, the expectant mother can likely feel a lot more of that movement. This can include anything from small kicks and punches to complete somersaults.
Did you know that the baby is now creating neural connections? By the time the baby is born, that little brain will have trillions of neural connections designed to help him or her learn about the world around them.
Height of the baby: 16.18 inches
Weight of the baby: 3.31 pounds
What Happens to The Baby?
The baby can now turn his or her head, and fat is accumulating beneath the skin to prepare for birth and life outside the womb. Using the neural connections forming in his growing brain, he is beginning to process information and track light. He is also starting to recognize signals received from his five senses. An expecting mother might also notice a more organized sleeping pattern from the baby.
What Happens to the Mother?
Most expectant mothers begin to experience a shortness of breath at this time in their pregnancy. This is not a concern for the baby’s health however because the baby is getting oxygen from the placenta. Many expectant mothers also experience Braxton Hicks contractions, and some can even experience preterm labor at this point. Although it varies from woman to woman, some women begin to lactate at this point in their pregnancy.
Tips for Expectant Mothers at 31 Weeks of Pregnancy
- Pick up some nursing bras if you plan to breast feed. You should choose bras that are at least one cup size larger because your breasts will continue to expand as your milk comes in.
- Expecting a boy? Weigh the pros and cons of circumcising him with your partner. You can also discuss it with your doctor so that you know exactly what to expect from the procedure.
- Start thinking about your birthing plan. Are you going to use pain medication? Consider the pros and cons of labor without pain medication, and also consider your pain medication options. The most common labor pain relief* is an epidural, but there are other options you can discuss with your health care provider.
Additional information: What is Postpartum Depression? How Do Other Mothers Handle It?
Postpartum depression is a known mental illness that can affect many women after the birth of their baby. This particular type of depression goes beyond the common baby blues. Baby blues is usually treatable by allowing your body a chance to level out the hormonal changes your body just went through. However, postpartum depression is far more serious.
Most women experience symptoms similar to those of normal baby blues, but the symptoms of postpartum depression tend to be much more severe and last far longer. Women suffering from postpartum depression often have recurring thoughts of death or suicide, and they often struggle through caring for their newborn, if they manage to care for the baby at all. If you think you or a loved one might be suffering from postpartum depression, seek immediate mental help. You can also work on helping yourself by enlisting the help of your partner and family members. Breastfeeding might make you feel like you need to be attached to your infant at all times, but you can pump your milk and allow others to feed the baby. There are more ways to help yourself at home below.
Get plenty of rest by pumping your milk and using family members to feed the infant. Take a break from mommy duties, and relax with some quality time for yourself. Be sure to eat, and eat healthily. This will not only affect your mood, but it will also affect the quality of your breast milk. Try to get out into the sun at least ten to fifteen minutes each day, and slowly start taking up an exercise routine again. Do not try to do it all on your own. Enlist the help of a therapist, family, and friends.