31 Weeks Pregnant: The 3rd Trimester Glow…Before the Groans
Your little hitchhiker is ¾ of the way to her destination! And, it’s starting to get a little snug inside your belly. She weighs 3 pounds (give or take a few ounces) and is as tall as a bowling pin (15” or 1-2” longer).
During these final months of pregnancy, your baby’s brain and skinny little body will do some serious bulking up. She will be working on growing some chubby thighs and pudgy cheeks. She’s still kicking a lot but has less and less room to do so. The bigger she gets, the harder it will be to take a deep breath.
From now to 40 weeks, your baby’s brain will double in weight! In fact, her development has already made lots of progress. For example, her senses are totally clicking: She can taste, hear, see and feel. And when she’s born, she’ll even be able to recognize the distinct smell of her very own mom. (Newborns put next to pads soaked with their mom’s milk versus the milk of another woman…will prefer to turn to their mother’s milk! Now, that’s amazing!)
31 Weeks Pregnant: S’Up with Your Bod?
The early 3rd trimester continues that wonderful glow…it’s a happy time! But, some new complaints can also make their debut. One of the biggest, no pun intended, is swelling. All that extra weight in your belly is pushing down and compressing the big vessels in your pelvis. That makes your lymph and blood back up into your legs and feet. Compounding that is the fact that your body is tanked up with quarts and quarts more body fluid than pre-bump. That’s why it’s common for every part below your belly button to balloon, including your genitals (eek!).
Swelling is even worse if your job requires that you stand for hours a day. So, wear compression stockings and—when you can—put your feet up. Also, it helps to cut back on salty foods (especially take-out and processed foods). And drink lots of water! That may sound counterintuitive, but water flushes extra salt out of your system. For full-body relief, find a pool for a little float time—the gentle pressure of the water on your body eases swelling and helps your circulation.
Those swollen veins can pop out causing 3-D wormy-looking varicose veins and hemorrhoids. (Any varicose veins you get now will likely improve or disappear completely after your baby is born.) If not, you can have them removed with laser therapy. Treat hemorrhoids with warm sitz baths, laxatives to avoid constipation and witch hazel wipes soothe the pain.
A To-Do List for Your 31st Week of Pregnancy
- Research breast pumps: If you’ll be breastfeeding, you’ll want to get a pump—especially if you’ll be going back to work. Your insurance provider may ship you a pump for free. Just call them and ask for instructions. (Don’t start pumping before the baby comes…it can trigger early contractions!)
- Buy some nursing bras and a pumping bra: Along with the pump, breastfeeding moms should pick up at least one nursing bra and a pumping bra. A pumping bra will allow you to go hands-free while pumping—crucial for multitasking!
- Wash baby clothes and linens: You don’t need to wash every single thing you’ve bought for your baby just yet (you may decide to return some of it depending on how big she is), but you’ll want to have a few duds ready for her big arrival home.
- Plan your first-month support team: The early weeks are exhilarating and exhausting. The new-baby highs are high, and the lows can be pretty low. While you are spending so much time and energy caring for your baby…who is caring for you? Get some help to bring you a casserole, do some cleaning or just to listen to your honest feelings. It will make you feel a whole lot happier!
Myth or Fact?
You must stop taking plane flights once the 3rd trimester starts.
Every pregnancy is different, but if you have had no complications and are not high risk, most doctors will okay flying until 34 weeks. Airlines, meanwhile, have their own policies—you can find a list of those right here. BTW, it’s not a bad idea to ask your doctor for any referrals in the area where you’re traveling…in case you have a problem while you’re away.
Quote of the Week
Women's bodies have near-perfect knowledge of childbirth; it's when their brains get involved that things can go wrong. - Peggy Vincent