Pregnancy Week 31

You are 31 weeks pregnant. The double digit weeks are gone and now you know it is coming. . Here are several different things that you can anticipate during this time.

Pregnancy Week 31: What changes are occurring with your body?

You may have noticed a yellowish or creamy substance that has begun to leak from your breasts. This substance is called colostrum or pre-milk. Colostrum is the first stage of breast milk that occurs during pregnancy and lasts for several days after the birth of the baby. It is much thicker than the milk that is produced later in breastfeeding.

Not all women leak colostrum, but either way, this is considered normal. You may notice that the leaking only occurs at certain times of the day. If you experience leaking during the day, you may want to invest in some nursing pads that can be placed in your bra to absorb the colostrum.

Many women begin to experience Braxton Hicks contractions during the last several weeks of pregnancy. Braxton Hicks contractions can begin as early as the second trimester; however, they are most common in the third trimester. The muscles of your uterus tighten for approximately 30 to 60 seconds or as long as 2 minutes. Braxton Hicks are also called "practice contractions" because they will prepare you for the real thing, and you can practice the breathing exercises you are learning in your childbirth classes.

Pregnancy Week 31: How big is your baby?

Your baby is continuing to grow and has grown to over 15 ½inches in length and weighs anywhere from 3 ½ to 4 pounds.*

Pregnancy Week 31: What is happening with your baby?

Your baby is continuing to develop a layer of fat under his/her skin. This is in preparation for his/her arrival into the world and gives the baby more of a newborn appearance. During the next several weeks your baby will really begin to put on the weight. Remember the average size of a newborn is about 7 ½ pounds and 19 to 21 inches long.*

Pregnancy Week 31: What should you plan for this week?

Have you decided if you are going to breastfeed or bottle feed? There are advantages and disadvantages to both breastfeeding and bottle-feeding. Doing research on both will help you know that you have made the best decision for your baby’s health.

Pregnancy Week 31: Tips for making your pregnancy better

Unfortunately, hemorrhoids are not uncommon during pregnancy. Hemorrhoids are varicose (swollen) veins of the rectum and are usually painful. They most often make their appearance during the third trimester.

Hemorrhoids are related to constipation. Constipation combined with the increased pressure on the rectum and perineum is the primary reason that women experience hemorrhoids. Prolonged standing and advanced maternal age may also be factors contributing to hemorrhoids.

The good news is that hemorrhoids usually improve after the baby is delivered. In the meantime, there are a number of treatments you can use to treat hemorrhoids. Any one or more of the following may help relieve hemorrhoids:

  • Place baking soda (wet or dry) in the area to remove the itch
  • Take warm baths with baking soda in the water
  • Use witch hazel or lemon juice to reduce swelling or bleeding
  • Take an herbal sitz bath
  • Use Tucks pads
  • Use comfrey or yellowdock root ointment

The best way to prevent hemorrhoids is to avoid getting constipated. ALWAYS check with your health care provider before taking any medication for this condition.*

Tips for mom’s partner:

Having a new baby in the house can be an event that can cause some anxiety. However, this can be decreased by ensuring that you and your partner can handle emergency situations. Look into taking a class on infant CPR and first aid. Check with local community centers or your partner’s health care provider to see where these classes are offered.

Last Updated: 1/2013