Week 31 of Your Pregnancy
In the 31st week, all of your child’s senses are fully developed. It plays with the umbilical cord and otherwise sleeps a lot.
However, this does not give you a break in the 31st week: your abdominal girth continues to increase, which contributes to your performance and mobility. Find out here why the position of the placenta can already be decisive for the birth and why you should take infections particularly seriously.
Here you can find all of our 3rd trimester articles:
Size of the baby in the 31st week of pregnancy
In the 31st week of pregnancy, your baby is already 16 ¼ inches tall and weighs 3 ¼ pounds – average, of course. In the 31st week of pregnancy, your baby’s eyes will take on their preliminary color. Light-skinned babies are very often born with dark blue eyes, whereas dark-skinned babies often start life with brown or dark gray eyes. However, since the pigmentation of the eyes is completed by the influence of sunlight, the final eye color is not visible until after the sixth to the ninth month of life. In your womb, the eyes are now already adapting to life outside the womb. They close during sleep, and the pupils dilate when light shines through. Your baby turns toward the brighter areas of the womb and even tries to reach for the brightness.
Development of the lungs
As your baby’s size and weight continue to develop, the baby’s internal organs are fine-tuned and their functions are worked out.
For example, from the 31st week of gestation, the baby in the womb can completely inflate its lungs with the help of the protective protein surfactant, without the alveoli sticking together.
Interestingly, lung maturation is very advanced. If a baby is born in the 31st week, it would no longer need complete external ventilation; supportive ventilation would be sufficient.
Development of the position
Since the space in the uterus has now become too tight for the baby, it moves much less. This is also because it now has a distinct sleeping and waking rhythm in the 31st week.
Your baby sleeps in the womb for up to 15 hours a day. In the hours when your baby is awake, you will also clearly feel the activity. Sometimes the baby’s violent pokes, when they hit organs, can cause mild discomfort for you.
The position of the baby is not yet the final one it will have at birth. But gradually the baby lies down against the wall of the uterus and begins to move its head in the direction in which it will push through the birth canal.
Your baby should have assumed the correct birthing position – head of your baby toward the exit of the uterus – even before labor begins. The midwife will always check the baby’s position from now on. The correct birth position is called the cranial position, or anterior occipital position. 90 percent of babies assume this position all by themselves about four weeks before birth.
Your anticipation with regard to the birth seems to grow immeasurably at times. You are certainly thinking a lot about the place where your baby will be born, also the questions that revolve around your safety and a good place where your baby will be born are now growing. If you have not already done so, you will examine some delivery rooms or birth centers and get to know the midwives who will take care of you and the newborn for the delivery.
Your thoughts turn to the baby
You also think more about purchases for your baby in the 31st week of pregnancy. You react especially emotionally to cute rompers, sweaters, jackets, and booties. Your relatives will certainly also want to send you some things. That’s why it’s a good idea to create a wish list and hand it out by hand or digitally. What and in what form you need for your baby depends largely on the month in which the child is born. Is the little one summer or a winter baby? You should also buy important things for yourself that you will need after the delivery. Soon it will be time to pack the hospital bag for the birth. This is where you should stash things and clothes for you and your baby that you will need after the birth. Learn more about what initial supplies a baby needs.
The body is on strike
Sometimes you will feel that your body is on strike.
From time to time your lungs groan under the weight of your belly, your legs get heavy and ache, and your back is tense. At night, you often sleep badly and toss and turn in bed, always looking for a position that will allow you to rest. The increased urge to urinate also interrupts your nightly sleep.
You may suffer from heartburn, especially after eating, so you should increasingly eat only small meals throughout the day. The intestines are also increasingly affected because the pressure of the uterus causes them to lose their rhythm of movement. You also find it increasingly difficult to sit down or stand up. When doing so, you instinctively hold your stomach and back for support. You will probably soon have to leave tying your shoes to your partner or wear slip-on shoes.
Due to the strain on your pelvic floor, the holding function of the bladder muscles is no longer guaranteed normally. Your baby’s head also presses on the bladder. For this reason, sometimes, especially when the bladder is particularly full, you may lose a few drops of urine when you laugh, sneeze or cough.
This phenomenon in advanced pregnancy improves after delivery and is completely remedied by good pelvic floor training during postpartum gymnastics.
The belly button bulges outwards
In the 31st week of pregnancy, due to the growth of the uterus and the tension of the skin on your abdomen, your belly button begins to flatten. Over the next few months, it may even bulge outward. This can be clearly seen when you are wearing light clothing, such as in the summer.
31st week: What is changing in you?
Your body continues to prepare for birth. In the 31st week, it does this by loosening up the entire pelvic area to make it easier for the baby to “hatch” later. The placental barrier also becomes more permeable.
However, this allows not only necessary nutrients but also pathogens to pass more easily from your body to the baby. Therefore, take colds and infections seriously, and it is better to go to the doctor once too often than once too little.
It continues to grow incessantly in the 31st week of pregnancy – your belly. This is one of the reasons why everything you do in the last weeks before the birth will probably seem very strenuous.
This is helped by the fact that your performance continues to decline in the 31st week. Complaints such as headaches can occur if you overexert yourself – and this happens quite quickly on the 31st week. So give yourself regular breaks. If your head already hurts, a cold forehead compresses with a drop of mint oil can provide relief. In addition, make sure you drink enough. A lack of fluids can also cause headaches.
In the 31st week of pregnancy, there are still nine weeks until the expected date of birth. So you can start thinking about exactly how you want the birth to proceed: For example, do you want anesthesia? Should your partner be present, or would you prefer another trusted person? Do you want a water birth?
Sometimes, however, the baby or the placenta can interfere with the mother’s wishes for a certain type of birth. This happens when the placenta lies in front of the cervix and thus closes the birth canal. This is called “placenta praevia parties” (in the case of partial overlay) or “placenta praevia totalis” (in the case of complete overlay). While in the first case a natural birth may still be possible, in the second a cesarean section is necessary. This is usually performed before the onset of labor in the 36th or 37th week of pregnancy.
The gynecologist can detect placenta praevia at the latest during the third screening examination, which takes place around the 31st week of gestation.
FAQ - 31st Week of Pregnancy
Regarding orientation, your baby should now be vertical – head down and feet towards your chest cavity. If he was in breech position, he should flip down into the cephalic presentation by this week.
Week 31 – your third trimester. This might be hard to believe, but you won’t be pregnant forever! You’re very unlikely to go beyond another 9 or 10 weeks. You could have your baby in just 6 weeks, and it wouldn’t be considered to be early.
Omega-3 Fatty Acids will directly impact your baby’s brain and eye health, so oily fish like sardines, salmon, and even prawns are a good source. Aim to eat a handful of nuts every day and don’t shy away from butter, margarine, and even a little cream.