31 weeks pregnant is a milestone to celebrate and savor. Find out what to expect when you’re 31 weeks pregnant, find out whether you can feel baby yet and what your uterus looks like. What size is a 12-week-pregnant uterus? What are the 8th week symptoms? When does baby start to move?
Your baby at week 31 of pregnancy
Your baby’s lungs are still developing. It’s more likely that she’ll make it if she’s born early if her lungs mature. As her body fills out with fat cells, her previously wrinkled skin becomes smooth.
Baby responds to your voice. You and your spouse can bond with Baby—and with each other—by singing, talking, and telling her all about the world she will soon be joining.
After she is born, your baby may need a manicure since her fingernails have grown.
Your developing child is about 3 pounds 8 ounces in weight and 16 inches long (crown to heel).
31 weeks pregnant is how many months?
When you are 31 weeks pregnant, you are officially in 7 months of your pregnancy, only 2 months to go! Congratulations, you’ve already made great progress!
How big is your baby at 31 weeks pregnant?
At 31 weeks, the average fetus weighs around 3.3 pounds (1.5 kg) and measures about 16.1 inches (41.1 cm) from crown to rump, making it about the size of a of pineapple or a cabbage or head of a zucchini
31 weeks pregnant baby position
31 weeks pregnant: baby’s development
30-33 weeks baby developments
At 31 weeks after conception, the fetus practices breathing almost 40 percent of the time. About 990 gallons of blood are pumped daily by the fetal heart at 32 weeks postconception. At about 32 weeks postconception, the lungs begin to develop genuine alveoli. In humans, genuine alveoli account for over 95% of lung tissue that matures later in life. Children keep growing genuine alveoli until age 8.
The testicles of unborn baby boys begin to form around week 12, but they won’t emerge from the abdomen until around week 33. And then they go down into the scrotum.
Brain develops many bumps and groove
It is during this month when the brain’s ridges and valleys (gyri and sulci) begin to take shape. These ridges and valleys increase the brain’s surface area, which is crucial given that the cortex is located exclusively there. As a result of the widespread presence of gyri and sulci, the cerebral cortex is able to accommodate a greater number of neurons. This rapid development of the brain coincides with a similarly rapid expansion of the fetus’s capacity for learning.
Fetus see and respond to visual information
It was discovered that fetuses, as early as 32 weeks after conception, moved their heads toward the face-like lights projected through the uterine wall. 13 This demonstrates that the fetus can perceive and process visual information from the outside world, and that it has a particular preference for looking at stimuli that resemble human faces.
Fetus grasps objects
By this point, the fetus also grasps objects that come near her hands. In fact, as early as 25 weeks after conception, the fetus can hold her own body weight momentarily by grasping.
Your body at 31 weeks pregnant
When you reach week 31 of pregnancy, you may experience discomfort such as heartburn or indigestion as space becomes increasingly limited. Increase the frequency of your smaller meals and increase your water intake.
You may have noticed that you’ve developed the pregnant “waddle”; this is because the ligaments in your pelvis loosen during pregnancy, allowing your hips to widen. It’s okay; you won’t have duck feet forever.
This week is a great time to finalize plans for the delivery of your baby; if you plan on giving birth in a hospital, you may be able to pre-register this week. Waiting in line to give birth is no time to be standing at a counter completing paperwork.
Get it done ahead of time and you can enter with ease. For help deciding on a hospital, check out our guide.
The extra weight of your kid (she’s over 3 pounds this week!) will put a significant strain on your body. You’ve been feeling a dull discomfort in your lower back and hips, especially as the day draws to a close. The expanding size of your baby also reduces the available space for your internal organs.
Because your chest is compressed, you’ll need to take deeper breaths. Smaller, more frequent meals will help you lose weight while your stomach continues to shrink. The good news is that as your baby grows, you’ll experience more wiggles.
In some cases, you may make out individual motions of the limbs and the head. Leg numbness or an urgent need to use the restroom are two symptoms that can occur when your baby changes positions.
Labor Pains: Choices in Pain Medications
When it comes to experiencing pain during childbirth, there used to be two options-either you were knocked out completely or you felt every contraction. These days, pain medications mainly come in two forms: analgesics, which act throughout the body, and localized anesthetics, which work locally. Several factors determine the type of pain medication you receive, including the hospital’s protocol and the stage of labor. The more you know about what’s available, the more likely you’ll be able to receive the kind of pain medication you want during labor.
Pain relievers, or analgesics, are systemic drugs, meaning they have a widespread effect. Both you and your unborn child will absorb the medicine through your bloodstream. Popular analgesics like Demerol and Stadol won’t completely eliminate the experience of pain, but they will make it more bearable.
Side effects of analgesics include drowsiness, dizziness, nausea, and a heightened body temperature. Some women take these medications and have a decrease in heart rate, which can put the baby’s heart beat at risk. Fortunately, this only happens rarely and is easily treated.
Keep in mind that an analgesic’s drowsy effects can linger in your system and the baby’s for a while.
Anesthesia encompasses a wide range of medications, injected into certain parts of the body to provide targeted pain relief. While there are several types of anesthetics, the most popular by far is an epidural.
With an epidural, the anesthesiologist numbs a select area of the spine and then inserts a needle containing a small tube (catheter). Through this tube, you’ll receive pain medications that should completely drown out any pain sensations.
The catheter stays in place until after your baby’s birth. Unlike narcotics, which enter the body through the blood stream to dull pain, but not eliminate it, epidurals block out pain messages between your body and your brain.
Although the epidural can take several minutes to take effect, you should have no sensation of pain once the medication kicks in.
There are different types of epidurals. An increasingly popular option is a combined spinal-epidural (CSE). With a CSE, the anesthesiologist follows the same procedure as with a standard epidural, but also injects pain medication directly into the spine through the epidural catheter for immediate relief.
This is only a brief overview of pain medication choices. You should discuss the advantages and disadvantages of each of these pain medications with your doctor. You need to discuss your preferences before delivery day, not when you’re already in labor.
31 weeks pregnant tips and advice
Drink plenty of water
Staying hydrated is important. Your body uses more water during your pregnancy to fuel your increased blood supply (necessary to get your baby-to-be plenty of nutrients) and other body functions. Taken to extremes, dehydration can lead to preterm labor pains. So bring a water bottle to work with you—and drink it.
Use the bathroom—often
Drinking more water means more trips to the bathroom. Add to that, your kidneys are working overtime to filter impurities from your increased blood supply. To avoid stares from coworkers, plan discrete potty breaks. Go when you first get to the office and take a break on the way from meetings or other times when you’re already up so your trips will be less noticeable. Putting off a trip to the bathroom is a bad idea—it makes you uncomfortable and puts stress on your bladder, which can lead to bladder infections.
Bring light snacks
Food may not be appealing, especially if you’re experiencing nausea. Skip a full-blown lunch and opt for lighter fare throughout the day. Keep in mind that some pregnancy comfort foods are dead giveaways, such as crackers. If you’re trying to keep your pregnancy a secret, try less notorious foods that still comfort nausea but that don’t shout, “I’m pregnant!” Opt for foods high in protein, such as string cheese, almonds, or milk.
Wear comfortable clothes
You’ve probably packed away your tight-fitting pants already. If you haven’t, now’s probably the time to say goodbye to your hip-hugging ensembles until after your baby’s arrival. Avoiding tight clothes isn’t just about hiding your baby bump. Your body may be retaining water to fuel your increased blood supply, and constricting clothes are not only tight on your skin, but the blood that’s trying to flow underneath.
Watch your posture
Take time to get off your feet and walk around. Staying in the same position for too long allows the blood to pool in the lower part of your body, potentially making you light-headed. Put your feet up whenever possible to keep your blood flowing properly.
Having Trouble Sleeping at 31 weeks Pregnant
Having difficulties sleeping is a common pregnant symptom, and it’s especially common in the second and third trimesters, when other pregnancy symptoms peak and a growing belly makes it difficult to find a comfortable sleeping position.
When you’re 31 weeks pregnant, it could hurt to sleep on your stomach, but studies indicates that lying on your back puts more strain on the vena cava, the main blood vessel that returns blood to the heart.
Your blood circulation will increase if you sleep on your left side, which will also be good for your uterus, kidneys, and fetus. If you’re having trouble falling asleep, try placing a pillow between your knees and another under your stomach. If the problem persists, consult your doctor.
31 weeks Pregnant: Wellness and Nutrition
What should you avoid during pregnancy? Doctors agree that you should avoid the following:
- Activities that may cause you to fall, or that place pressure or force on your belly
- Intense, overly vigorous exercise – if you’re too out of breath to talk, you’re probably exercising too hard.
- Drinking alcohol, smoking, and caffeine (ask your doctor how much caffeine you should consume each day)
- Sweeteners such as saccharine and herbal sweeteners (ask your doctor if artificial sweeteners are appropriate)
- Prescription and over-the-counter medications (check with your doctor about what’s safe during pregnancy)
- Paint, cleaning products, and solvents can expose you to chemicals and fumes. Acrylic and latex paints are generally considered safe. However, you should consult your doctor before helping around the house or in the nursery.
- Saunas and hot tubs
- Chemical treatments for your hair, such as dye and perms
31 weeks pregnancy symptoms
Your body undergoes many changes to give your baby-to-be enough room to grow. Some of these changes are comforting—your rounded belly and your full breasts, for example—while other signs can be troubling. Keep in mind that many of these physical changes will last only until your baby arrives.
Upper abdominal pain
The uterus is growing rapidly, putting pressure on organs like the bladder, intestines, and stomach. This can cause mild pain in the upper abdomen that may extend to the lower abdomen or sides of your stomach. The pressure on your abdomen can also cause pain when you cough or sneeze.
Lower abdominal pain
The uterus is growing rapidly and putting pressure on your bladder, intestines, and stomach. This can cause lower abdominal pain that may feel like mild cramping or a dull ache in the pelvic region. Back pain. The growing weight of your uterus on your spine can cause back pain that typically becomes worse as pregnancy progresses.
The weight of your uterus can put pressure on your veins and cause leg cramps or swelling. You may also experience varicose veins in your legs due to increased blood flow. Neck pain. As the baby grows, it puts more pressure on the spinal cord, which runs down through your neck and back. This can cause mild pain in the neck area that may extend into your shoulders and arms.
Your growing uterus can put pressure on your spine and cause back pain. The weight of the baby can also cause sciatica, which is when pain shoots down the back of one leg due to compression in the spinal cord. Backache. Your growing uterus may cause you to experience mild to moderate lower back pain or stiffness in your lower abdomen around this time.
You may find it harder to get comfortable when you’re pregnant. Your growing abdomen can make it more difficult for you to find a position that feels good, and your joints may be sore from carrying extra weight. You might also experience restless leg syndrome, which is when you feel like your legs are moving even though they aren’t. This happens because the joints in the body release chemicals that cause itching or tingling sensations when they are irritated by things like pregnancy hormones.
You may be experiencing swollen ankles, which is common during pregnancy. This happens because the increased levels of hormones in your body cause fluid to accumulate in your tissues, including those that line the walls of your veins and arteries. It’s usually not a cause for concern unless you have swelling in both legs or it lasts longer than two weeks.
Fatigue (constant tiredness or weakness)
One of the most typical symptoms of early pregnancy is fatigue, which frequently starts at this point. Although there are many causes of exhaustion during pregnancy (including changes in hormone levels), some research indicates that inadequate sleep brought on by nighttime awakenings from unpleasant sleeping positions may also be a role.
Heartburn or gas
There may be a rise in heartburn and flatulence during the 31st week of pregnancy. This is because progesterone produces a decrease in the tone of the lower esophageal sphincter (LES) muscle, which typically prevents stomach acid from entering the esophagus. This can cause heartburn and discomfort by allowing stomach acid to flow back up into the esophagus. Try spreading your meals out more, staying away from items that are known to cause heartburn (such spicy foods), and drinking lots of water.
Mood swings and crying spells
The 31st week of pregnancy is a vulnerable time for women, when they are more likely to experience mood swings and crying spells. Until your hormone levels settle, this will have an impact on your mental and emotional well-being. This is a common occurrence for pregnant women; one study indicated that 75% of women felt emotional shifts like irritability or depression in the first trimester.
Indigestion, or constipation
During the 31st week of pregnancy, you may suffer gastrointestinal issues like indigestion or constipation. Pregnancy hormones like progesterone and estrogen might increase the likelihood of gastrointestinal issues including indigestion. These hormones slow down digestion by relaxing the digestive tract, preventing food from being swallowed whole. You can reduce the frequency and severity of indigestion during pregnancy by cutting out on high-fat and sugary foods and eating more often, smaller meals (like sweets or fried foods).
Your body retains water to provide the necessary fluids for your growing baby-to-be. You can prevent much of this swelling from drinking plenty of fluids and keeping your legs up. You may also want to purchase socks designed to improve the circulation in your feet.
The skin’s pigmentation may deepen around certain parts of your body during pregnancy, such as your nipples and freckles. You may also notice spots of color on your face, called the mask of pregnancy or chloasma. These pigmentation changes will fade after your baby’s born.
Shortness of breath
Shortness of breath, also known as dyspnea, is a very common and often overlooked symptom of pregnancy. It happens when there isn’t enough oxygen in your body or when your blood flow is constricted. This can make it difficult to do even the smallest things like walk across the room or climb stairs.
You may feel like you need to take deeper breaths than usual or that it takes longer than normal for your breathing rate to return to normal after an activity such as climbing stairs.
It can be alarming, especially if you aren’t expecting it! But rest assured, this is not usually a cause for concern. Breast milk production begins when the hormone prolactin rises in response to pregnancy. Prolactin stimulates the cells of the mammary glands that produce milk and causes them to grow and multiply.
Symptoms to be aware of
Please share any concerns you may have with your doctor or midwife. Don’t worry about whether or not you’re repeating yourself or wasting anyone’s time by bringing up an old topic. This pregnancy is yours, so listen to your body if you suspect something is wrong.
Signs of premature labour
If you have any of the following symptoms, call the hospital or midwife straight away, because you could be in premature labour:
- regular contractions or tightenings
- period-type pains or pressure in your vaginal area
- a “show” – which is when the plug of mucus that has sealed the cervix during pregnancy comes away and out of the vagina
- a gush or trickle of fluid from your vagina – this could be your waters breaking
- backache that’s unusual for you.
31 weeks pregnant belly
Your baby will occupy a larger area of your uterus at this point. To provide more room for your developing baby, your uterus will grow underneath your rib cage. You might start to feel more clumsy. The center of gravity somewhat shifts as your tummy expands. You can get a sense of unsteadiness.
31 weeks pregnant belly size
By week 31, your belly will have expanded and protruded considerably. You might have trouble seeing where you’re walking. There is a 26-35 cm range for fundal height (10.2-13.8 in). Around 9 cm (3.5 inches) above your belly button is where you’ll notice a significant increase in amniotic fluid.
Some women may measure smaller and some larger than this, but this is a good general guide for how big your belly will be at this point in pregnancy.
Measuring pregnant belly at 31 weeks
If you’re measuring your belly at home, use a tape measure and measure around the widest part of your abdomen. Measurement is usually taken above the navel or below it, depending on what’s more comfortable for you. Be sure to stand up straight and relax as much as possible while taking your measurement—it should be taken at the same time every day so that you can monitor how quickly or slowly your belly is growing.
If you are measuring your belly at the top of your pubic bone, expect to see an increase of about two inches per month. If you’re measuring this lower, around your navel and below, it can be as much as three inches per month. The average weight gain during pregnancy is between 25 and 35 pounds and usually occurs in the last trimester (after week 28).
Braxton Hicks at 31 weeks Pregnant
At 31 weeks pregnant, you may find that your Braxton Hicks contractions are becoming more frequent and intense. You may feel them in your back or lower abdomen, and they may last anywhere from 30 seconds to two minutes. If you’re having regular contractions, it’s important to talk with your doctor about any pain or discomfort you experience during them.
Braxton Hicks are common during the third trimester. You may not even notice them because they feel like mild discomfort or a dull ache in your lower abdomen. They’re also called practice contractions because they prepare your body for real labor by getting it ready to push out a baby when the time comes.
31 weeks pregnant ultrasound
An ultrasound of your baby at 31 weeks shows a head that is relatively large; a human baby’s brain weighs 12 percent of his body weight at birth. It’s likely that your baby already has 100 billion or so brain cells at birth.
The importance of prenatal vitamins during pregnancy
During pregnancy, you need a greater amount of folic acid and iron. Why? Here are some reasons:
Folic acid prevents neural tube defects
These defects affect the fetal brain and spinal cord in a significant way. Preferably, you should begin taking extra folic acid three months before you become pregnant.
The placenta and baby require iron to develop
The body uses iron to make blood to supply oxygen to the baby. Additionally, iron helps prevent anemia, a condition in which the blood lacks healthy red blood cells
It’s important to consult your doctor or healthcare provider to find out which are the best prenatal vitamins to take before pregnancy, and how to calculate your expected delivery date.
31 weeks pregnant hCG levels
At 31 weeks pregnant, your hCG levels can range from about 4,060 – 165,400+ mIU/m.
Explore more in your pregnancy week-by-week
Follow your pregnancy week-by-week to find out how your baby is growing and what is happening to your body.
First Trimester Weeks:
Second Trimester Weeks
Third Trimester Weeks
Pregnant Women Also Asked:
Got questions about week 6? Other ladies have wondered this…
- How pregnancy happens. (n.d.)
- Human chorionic gonadotropin hormone (HCG). (2018.)
- Knowing if you are pregnant. (2019).
- Navigating your pregnancy. (n.d.).
- Pregnancy. (2017).
- Pregnancy: Sensitivity and specificity. (n. d.).
- Pregnancy tests. (n.d.)
- Pregnancy week by week. Weeks 1–2. (n.d.).
- Stages of pregnancy. (n.d.).