This is the week of fast weight gain for both the new mom to be and the baby. The baby’s are mature by now and the baby can open and close their eyes by themselves at this week in pregnancy. You will see that your appetite will increase more and more in these last weeks. The baby is looking for more nutrients. At this stage of pregnancy you may hear people tell you that you have the pregnancy glow. Now is the time, right before childbirth that you try pampering yourself with scented bath oils or gentle massages, pedicures and manicures.
There are some women who let the weight gain affect them. But don’t let it. Pregnancy is a special and exciting time in a woman’s life. You can always lose the weight but you may not always be able to have a baby. If your doctor is not worried about it then you shouldn’t be either. If you have not made a choice either way about bottle-feeding or breast-feeding, it has been noted that women who breast-feed lose weight faster than those women who bottle-feed. Plus, they say breast-feeding is also good for the baby.
By pregnancy week 31 your baby is roughly 3.5 pounds and probably close to 18 inches long! During this week and for the remainder of your pregnancy your baby is working diligently to accumulate layers of fat under his or her skin. This will help smooth your baby’s appearance just prior to delivery.
As your baby continues to grow and fill out, he or she will find the space in your uterus much more confining. You will probably start feeling the effects of this as you become larger and increasingly uncomfortable during pregnancy. Many women are surprised at how hard their baby can kick during the final weeks of pregnancy.
By now onlookers can probably detect your baby’s kicks as they happen, whether or not they have a hand to your belly!
How Your Life’s Changing
Until your baby drops down into your pelvis (at about 37 weeks for first pregnancies and not until delivery if you’ve already had a baby), you may be feeling breathless, as though you can’t get enough air. This happens because your uterus has grown so large it presses up against your diaphragm — the large flat muscle that aids breathing. Relaxing helps, so try to rest as much as possible. Resting can also help if your baby is measuring small for dates.
Is your bump giving you backache? Switch to low-heeled shoes if you haven’t already and avoid heavy lifting, which puts a strain on your softened ligaments. Your midwife can supply a maternity corset which supports your back and holds you in place — not sexy but helpful if you find getting around uncomfortable. A lot of women experience hip pain as pregnancy progresses and in some women, the ligaments supporting the pelvis loosen so much that the joint that holds the pelvic bones together doesn’t work properly. This condition is called symphysis pubis dysfunction (SPD) and is very painful. Oh, the joys of pregnancy!
If you and your partner are getting nervous about the big day, it may help to go over what you learned in your antenatal classes and practise the breathing exercises you’ve learnt. Why not run through which pain relief methods you’d be prepared to try and in what order. Will you be going straight for an epidural or are you planning to use other methods for as long as possible. And what are your views on pethidine?
What To Expect
At this week of pregnancy, the baby will soon start taking all of the nutrients from the food that you are giving. Try to keep eating healthy until the end of the pregnancy. If you have not given up smoking, it is not too late. The ultimate idea is to quit right away. But you don’t want to continue smoking after the baby is born. You will need to start resting more and more. You may have trouble getting to sleep because you have gained weight and it is becoming increasingly hard to find a comfortable position to rest in.
You will continue to experience frequent urination until the baby is born. Normally, this wouldn’t be difficult but if you have trouble getting a comfortable nights sleep then the constant getting up and down will cause more stress. Try sleeping on your left side with pillows between your knees; you will take off a lot of stress from your body this way. Try to stay away from sleeping on your back; it is not good for the circulation.
You should be attending every doctor’s appointment and if you are considered to be a high-risk pregnancy, you will be going to the doctors and having sonograms every week. This will help the doctors apprised of the baby’s condition. It is very important at this stage of the pregnancy that the doctors continue to monitor the baby.
This is the week total to your boss and your doctor and see what they determine would be a good time for you to take maternity leave. Cut back on hours if you are not feeling physically up to it. Try to get some help at home, doing cooking and cleaning. If you have other children, you may need some help taking care of them as well.