31 Weeks Pregnant
Can you believe all five of baby’s senses are fully developed at 31 weeks pregnant? Baby is also getting smarter! In the meantime, you might actually feel a little… dumb. You’re not! It’s just that many moms-to-be find themselves acting absentmindedly during the third trimester. Some say that “pregnancy brain” isn’t a real thing, but can you honestly think of another time in your life when you’ve had as much on your mind as now? We’re guessing no. That right there is enough of a reason to be so forgetful at week 31 of pregnancy.
At 31 weeks pregnant, baby is as big as a bunch of asparagus. Baby is about 16.2 inches long and weighs about 3.3 pounds. Baby is getting so big, they’re probably crowding your lungs, which is why you might find yourself winded on a normal walk up the stairs.
At 31 weeks pregnant, you’re approximately seven months pregnant, although pregnancy is generally tracked by week, not month.
From week 31 of pregnancy on, you’re bound to feel a lot of the same symptoms you’ve already been experiencing. Some may get worse, and some may become bearable. Here are the most typical 31 weeks pregnant symptoms:
- Shortness of breath. You might start to have more trouble getting around as you get heavier and shorter of breath. Remember not to push yourself too much. It’s good for you and baby to get some exercise, but definitely take breaks to rest as much as you need to.
- Dry, brittle nails. Sure, you’re having extra fingernail and toenail growth, but that can make those nails feel dry and easily broken. Some moms-to-be have success with a moisturizing cuticle oil.
- Braxton Hicks contractions. To ease the discomfort of Braxton Hicks, drink plenty of water and change positions often.
- Leaky boobs. That yellow liquid is baby's first food, called colostrum, and your body is getting it ready for the big arrival. A little leakage at this point is totally normal.
- Frequent urination. Your bladder is just as crowded as your lungs are. Not much you can do about it except mentally plan for more bathroom breaks in your daily routine.
- Backaches. Be sure to keep stretching to ease your aching back. Prenatal yoga poses can help!
- Trouble sleeping. It’s no wonder you can’t sleep when your back hurts. Your belly is contracting, you can’t find a comfortable position and oh, you have to keep getting up to pee!
By 31 weeks pregnant you’ve probably gained about 21 to 27 pounds. If you’re 31 weeks pregnant with twins, it’s more like 27 to 42 pounds.
Your 31 weeks pregnant belly is getting in the way of everyday things like tying your shoes and sex. It’s even in the way of your usual swagger—have you started waddling yet?!
What position is baby in at 31 weeks?
Baby’s position at 31 weeks? Head down! At least they probably are. Your OB will check at your next appointment. With baby at 31 weeks, you’re both getting prepared for labor!
Your week 31 fetus is going through major brain and nerve development. Their eyes are developing too—the irises can now react to light! (A little light does shine into your 31 weeks pregnant belly at times!) In fact, all five of baby’s senses are in working order.
Women who have pregnancy complications such as gestational diabetes or who are 31 weeks pregnant with twins may have a 31 weeks pregnant ultrasound to check in on baby (or babies). But if that’s not you, you’re off the hook this week.
We know, we know. You’re just dying to know what baby looks like inside your 31 weeks pregnant belly. Some curious parents-to-be choose to have a 3D/4D ultrasound done later in pregnancy—usually sometime between weeks 24 to 32. (So 31 weeks pregnant is the perfect time!)
In a 3D/4D ultrasound, you can see the entire surface of baby’s face in one picture. Yep, the picture is three dimensional. The fourth dimension is time—you get to see baby move on the screen in 3D. That means you may see your 31-week fetus blinking, thumb sucking and maybe even smiling or frowning, and you’ll get probably take home a video of it, too!
There are medical circumstances that could call for a 3D/4D ultrasound at 31 weeks pregnant. But if your doctor doesn’t order one, you have the option of having one done at an independent imaging center. In that case, the 3D/4D ultrasound is an elective procedure, so your insurance won’t cover it and you’ll have to pay out of pocket for it.
They’re pretty cool to see though, so if you want one and your doctor okays it, go for it! Aw, so cute!
Is baby fully developed at 31 weeks?
All of your hard work—eating right, exercising and generally taking care of your health—is paying off. You’re 31 weeks pregnant, which means baby has done a lot of growing (and still has some to do!). You’re ready to meet them—and they’re almost ready to meet you!
What does baby look like at 31 weeks?
Baby looks a lot like how they’ll look when they’re born! Lanugo, that downy covering of hair all over the body that protects baby’s skin from the amniotic fluid, starts to disappear. Their big job now is to keep filling out and gain a little more weight—oh, that adorable, cuddly baby fat!
Invest in nursing pads
If your breasts are leaking colostrum, nursing pads will keep your bras from getting messy. You can use either disposable or reusable pads.
Try a simple stretch for back pain
There are a lot of great stretches to help ease those aches, but here’s one you can do anytime, anywhere: Rest your back against a wall, standing with feet under your shoulders. Tilt your lower back against the wall and leave it there for about five to 10 seconds, then release. Repeat up to 10 times if needed.
Start training for labor
The big day will be here before you know it, so start practicing the deep, patterned breaths that will help you stay relaxed during labor. You’ll be more prepared when it’s time to deliver baby, but for now, these cleansing inhales and exhales have the added benefit of helping with any shortness of breath.
Cut back on tea or coffee
You may love your cuppa, but it could be driving some of those extra trips to the bathroom. Drinks with caffeine, such as coffee or tea, can act as diuretics and cause you to urinate more often.
Reminders for the week:
Medical content was reviewed November 2020 by Sherry A. Ross, MD, an ob-gyn and women’s health expert at Providence Saint John’s Health Center in Santa Monica, California, and author of she-ology and she-ology, the she-quel: let’s continue the conversation.