31 Weeks, the countdown has begun. The last stretch of the pregnancy. Your baby may not be moving around as much as she/he will be running out of space in the uterus, but your baby still has plenty of growing to do and you can expect him/her to gain at least two pounds/ 900 grams before birth.
Your baby weighs approximately 3.5 pounds and measures around 18 inches from head to toe.
The baby's digestive system is getting ready to process milk. The rest of his/her organs are continuing to mature throughout this period and he/she is now passing water from her bladder. Your baby is putting their developing lungs to the test by inhaling and exhaling amniotic fluid more and more frequently in preparation for the day when they will breathe air.
The brain connections that control sensory input are now forming.
Your oestrogen levels drop after the seventh month of pregnancy. The oestrogen is responsible for swollen and bleeding gums so if you have been suffering from bleeding gums, they should start to get better from now on.
If you are suffering from backache try switching to low-heeled shoes if you haven't already and avoid heavy lifting, which puts a strain on your softened ligaments. If your backache is really bad then your midwife can supply a maternity corset which supports your back and holds you in place. A lot of women experience hip pain in the later stages of pregnancy. Some women find that 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.
Water retention (also known as oedema) is very common about now and you may notice that your legs and ankles are puffy, particularly at the end of the day. This is because your body is having to pump more blood around than usual and combined with the fact that the walls of your veins are more relaxed from the increased level of the hormone progesterone, means that fluid is more likely to pool in the areas further away from your heart. You can minimise fluid retention by not standing up for too long and, when sitting, putting your feet up at every opportunity. Drinking plenty of water, wearing support stockings and avoiding salty foods may all help too.
My Experience at 31 weeks
Not much change from last week. I did feel like I was becoming pretty clumsy around this time, I seemed to be endlessly breaking glasses and plates. My energy levels were also feeling pretty depleted by the time evening came and I could barely stay awake past 11pm, which was early for me as normally we would go to bed at around 2am.