Pregnancy Week 31
Do you know that your baby is smarter than you right now? Feeling surprised? While the pregnancy hormones are making you dumb and absentminded, your baby is working on all his five senses and getting perfection in using them all. Your foggy mind may miss hearing something but your baby’s ears are 100% developed and he can very well listen to what’s going on out there.
It’s not false when people say that children nowadays are smarter than their parents. What else can be the better example when they are more intelligent when still in the womb?
Anyways, besides this major sensory development, let us see what your little one is training on inside.
Growth and Development of Baby
The baby is heading into a growth spurt with a length of 16 inches and weight of 3 1/3 pounds. He or she is quickly approaching their birth weight and height. However, the baby is gaining more weight than his length. The underneath fat has made him look plump. The skin is slightly pinkish and will remain so till birth.
The baby is developing more definite patterns of his wakefulness and sleep so that you can notice them clearly. While he is awake, his kicks and somersaults must be keeping you awake and alert all time. With the setting up of baby’s moving patterns, it’s good that you keep a track of his/her movements. If you notice any change in his patterns, bring it to the notice of your doctor. Mother nature has gifted this power to the mom-to-be to realize with the movements of the baby that he is healthy and active inside her.
These days baby’s brain is showing tremendous development by setting connections between the nerve cells. These connections help your baby to develop his all five senses. This way he is able to process information, track light, perceive signals. Though, all signals are working, baby can’t smell anything. Although, he has developed that sense as well but due to being submerged in amniotic fluid, smell senses are not working in there. Air is needed to smell anything.
Your baby is continuously involved in activities like hiccupping, swallowing amniotic fluid to practice breathing, pedaling his feet and hands, breathing and even sucking his little thumb. Some babies bring this thumb sucking habit right from the womb itself.
The baby’s lungs are more developed now and continues practicing inhaling and exhaling of amniotic fluid. The bones are further hardening with the deposition of calcium.
Baby has already opened his eyes but when he sleeps, he sleeps in rapid eye movement whereon eyes are closed but it seems that cornea is continuously moving. The toe nails and fingernails are fully developed and some babies even scratch themselves.
The amount of amniotic fluid is very important at this stage. It should not be too much and too less. More amount means, your baby is not swallowing enough indicating some kind of gastrointestinal disorder while less fluid means he/she is not urinating properly. At this stage, the baby’s well being is analyzed by the amount of amniotic fluid only.
During these last weeks, doctor continuously observes the size of your belly either through a measuring tape or through ultrasound. If the size of belly does not match with the week you are in, your doctor may ask you for an ultrasound to know the real cause behind that.
Cord blood Banking
The Delivery-day is approaching very fast. It’s time you decide about cord blood banking. Some of you may be wondering what it is.
Cord blood is the content that remains in umbilical cord and placenta after birth. This content consists of stem cells which are quite helpful in treatment of blood diseases and immune system disorders. Being a newly introduced concept, scientists are still working on determining whether these cells can be used for the treatment of other dreadful diseases.
Preserving of these cord blood cells is known as cord blood banking. In order to preserve, a safe and painless procedure is performed to collect blood after the birth of the baby. You can either donate them to some public facility for free to be used by someone in need or can store them privately with some banking institution with some annual fee.
Now, when you are informed about cord blood banking, you must discuss about it with your doctor, family and partner and look for the options available for the same.
Changes in Mother’s Body
Braxton Hicks contractions: Lately, you must have noticed irregular tightening of your uterus. These are actually the Braxton Hicks contractions which you must be experiencing from last few weeks. Now, they have become more frequent. As we said before that they are just practice contractions and no cause for alarm. These are irregular and painless contractions and go away with the change of position. However, amidst all these, if you feel frequent contractions with an increase in vaginal discharge or abdominal pain, you must call your practitioner right away. These could be a sign of preterm labor.
Colostrum: The premilk or the first milk must be out from your breasts by now. This yellowish clear milk is known as colostrums. This is to prep you for the breastfeeding. Untimely leaking may lead to embarrassing moments and can also spoil your clothes. So, it is advisable that you tuck some nursing pads into your bras. Women who are pregnant for second time may experience more of it.
Breathlessness: Do you feel as if all your abdominal organs like chest, lungs and stomach are lying in one place. This is true because the growing uterus pushes them upwards to occupy most of the abdominal space. By this week, your uterus is around 4 inches above your belly button. This clearly indicates that your lungs are crowded and do not have enough space to expand and breathe. The result is you feel shortness of breath but don’t worry; your baby is getting enough oxygen from the placenta. May be by the end of pregnancy, you may get some relief from this problem as uterus drops down in pelvis.
Sleepless nights: The round ligament pain and acute back pain may make it difficult to have long hours sleep in one stretch. Therefore, it is essential that you take rest or nap whenever you find time. However, make sure you don’t sleep on your back as it will further disrupt your sleeping. As your ligaments get relaxed due to hormonal changes, the hips seem to be spread to accommodate the growing baby and you feel walking like a duck. Don’t worry; as everything will get into its place after delivery.
Feeling wet: Till now, the excess vaginal discharge may be keeping you wet all through the day. Now, the problem is further aggravated with the leaking of urine during coughing, sneezing or laughing. If the incontinence bothers you a lot, try wearing panty liners to feel comfortable. Apart from that kegal exercises may also help.
The other common problems of pregnancy like heartburn, indigestion, constipation, varicose veins, clumsiness, headaches and frequent urination will linger on till the end. Just try to overlook these issues with the thought of your cute little baby.
Some Important Tips to Consider
- Boost iron in your diet. The iron contents of your body are depleting at a fast pace. To recover them, you need to take iron-rich foods like red meat, green vegetables, cereal, dried fruits and legumes. In addition to this, you must take vitamin C as it helps in the absorption of iron in the body.
- As your labor day approaches, you may be little apprehended about future. A little anxiety and fear is normal but if you are consumed with it, you will have more release of cortisol, stress hormone which can cause stress related health issues with you. Talk to your doctor, if you are worried than normal.
- Nail down the details of your baby birth now. Choose the hospital for your delivery and get pre-registered. It’s not a fun to stand in a long line to fill those lengthy forms when you are in labor. Complete all the formalities before time so that care, treatment and doctors are ready as soon as you reach there.
- We have already asked you to work on child care options. If you haven’t thought about them yet, do not delay further.
- Sudden swelling on face, vision changes or headaches is a cause of concern as it may be the sign of preeclampsia.
- You may also feel irritation in eyes due to dust or light. Ask your ophthalmologist to suggest you some eye drops.
- Your baby must be ruling your mind. It would be difficult for you to remember simplest of things. Try making a list of things-to-do so that you do not miss out anything important.
- Continue practicing breathing and relaxation exercises as they will support you in labor.
- As the labor and birth draw closer, take benefit of your antenatal appointments and solve all your queries. Remember to note down on a paper before heading as your brain may not help you in recalling all questions.
- Decorate your child’s nursery but remember not to break your bank. You may consider using used products.
It’s been 31 weeks when you facing all those darned pregnancy symptoms. It seems like a far dream to get your body and mind back to their normal state. Well, whatever we say, believing so would be bit difficult for you right now. However, don’t push yourself too hard for anything. Go with the flow and let baby and time heal everything.