Another week of pregnancy in the books, and your new baby is quickly preparing for his or her actual birthday. By the time you reach pregnancy week 31, you'll have a 16 inch, 3.3-pound baby living inside your womb. This baby is starting to turn in preparation for a head-first deployment but continues to develop and grow. You're most likely getting anxious by now, but with solid planning, and strong support at home and from family – you'll be the best prepared future mom on the planet.
You've really come a long way since finding out that you were pregnant. Your body has morphed into a vessel, carrying a precious life that started out smaller than the visible eye could see – and now at pregnancy week 31, is a living and breathing baby that could survive outside the womb if you were to have premature delivery. But, we don't want that to happen quite yet girls. In fact, during this week of pregnancy, the baby is continuing to develop stronger lungs and bone marrow to their little bodies can handle the stress involved in child birth. You may start to develop some 'false alarm' contractions – but we'll talk about those in just a little bit.
The road your baby has traveled in 31 weeks is simply amazing to behold. He or she now has a fully developed and proportional body that continues to pack on the pounds, create stronger bones and muscles – while the baby practices breathing and creates muscle memory so they don't actively think about doing this common act. Their tiny bladder is starting to pass water through the system and their bone marrow continues to pump out red blood cells – critical for sustaining life.
Your baby has their eyes open while inside the womb and can tell the difference between light and dark. They have also developed a consistent pattern of movement, sleep and playtime. And since they've been living inside you this entire period – you've gotten to know your baby's habits best.
So – do you remember those 'false alarm' contractions we talked about above? They are called Braxton Hicks contractions. Some people refer to them as practice contractions – but this isn't the fun type of practice that you really want to repeat. Essentially, it's your baby muscles starting the process of 'warming up' for the big day – but they should not hurt you. If you experience pain with contractions; you should contact your OBGYN office.
It's also very common for mommies in week 31 to become very tired – so it's a great idea to rest and get as much sleep as possible now. Another common side-effect in week 31 is the onset of more heartburn; and in some cases, it can be rather extreme. Constipation and other digestive tract issues are also very common at this point of your pregnancy.
It's highly unlikely that if you're reading this, you have other children. However, if this is your second child, or if there are other kids living in the house with you, it's important to prepare them for the arrival of new baby brother or sister. Many children – especially those under the age of 7 tend to become very uneasy about losing mom's full attention. This is why having them become a part of the planning or feeling important to you and your partner is vital for their well-being and confidence. Keep reassuring them; but also – try to find some ways they can help you prepare for the arrival of their new sibling. Perhaps they can help you with a grocery bag or even grab an extra pillow for mommy? Regardless of what it is – even the smallest remarks and support from you can leave a lasting impression.