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  • Pregnancy Symptoms Week 31: You're Tired All The Time (Take It Easy!)

    You're in the seventh month of your pregnancy. Only two months to go before D-day!
    by Rachel Perez .
Pregnancy Symptoms Week 31: You're Tired All The Time (Take It Easy!)
PHOTO BY iStock
  • At 31 weeks into your pregnancy, your baby's senses are already up and running. With only a couple more weeks to go, you're probably too excited to find out who your little one looks like. Will he be a mini version of you or a mirror image of your partner? Right now, it's important to manage your pregnancy symptoms and avoid worrying about giving birth and journeying into motherhood. 

    Pregnancy signs Week 31

    At 31 weeks pregnant, you'll probably find yourself laboring to get daily tasks done such as putting on your underwear, walking (or more like waddling), and even having sex. Remember that you can still want and have sex. As long as you have your doctor's clearance, sex during pregnancy should not cause you to go into preterm labor. When you're full-term, pregnant sex can help induce labor.

    We know you'd rather stay still and get pampered, but there is still value in getting your regular pregnancy workout and labor exercises done every other day or so. These can help maintain your weight and condition your body for birth. By now, it's possible that you would have gained around 21 to 27 pounds, almost at the limit of the recommended weight gain for those whose body mass index (BMI) was normal pre-pregnancy.

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    Continue to stay healthy and avoid exposing yourself to environments that can make you sick. If you're managing or trying to prevent gestational diabetes, follow your nutritionist-dietitian's strict meal plans. If you're diagnosed with other complications such as preeclampsia or having placenta issues, make sure you take note of the things you need to do to stay in tip-top shape to avoid going into labor too early.

    Pregnancy symptoms Week 31

    Hormones, increased blood levels, and your growing baby bump are often the root of the pregnancy symptoms at 31 weeks. You have about seven weeks to go until you're full-term and nine more weeks until the big 4-0, so hang in there! If you're noticing the onset of new symptoms, tell your doctor so he can rule out any related complications.

    Braxton Hicks contractions

    Your belly tightening every once in a while may feel like you're having a contraction, but you're not. Braxton Hicks or false labor contractions are mild, irregular contractions that don't increase in intensity or frequency. They aren't too painful and ideally go away when changing positions. If you feel that the contractions are getting stronger, longer, or more regular, and you also feel out of breath after each one, call your doctor immediately.

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    Breast milk leaks

    Depending on your hormone levels, you may notice a watery, milky fluid leaking from your breasts—it's no cause for alarm. Wear breast milk pads if you need to. If you haven't already, get some durable nursing bras to give your breasts the support they need. This is what your breasts have been preparing for since you conceived.

    Sleep issues, aches, and pains

    Your growing baby bump is the reason behind your many aches, pains, and your lack of sleep at night. Now that you're in your third trimester, it's even more crucial that you sleep on your side, and having a pregnancy pillow or a lot of pillows can make that work for you. Worrying also doesn't help you get some shut-eye. Meditation, drinking warm milk before bedtime, and low-impact pregnancy exercises can also help you fall asleep faster.

    If you're a little clumsier than usual, that's the pregnancy hormone, relaxin, at work, which also plays a role in your pregnancy aches and pains. Relaxin helps loosen your ligaments and joints in preparation for childbirth. Just remember to always take it easy. Listen to your body, and it will thank you for it.

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    Swelling

    Your body is still producing and circulating more blood and causing an increase in the production of your bodily fluids as well. When fluid accumulates in your tissues, you may experience swollen ankles, feet, and hands, or you can also be dealing with increased vaginal discharge, vision problems, varicose veins, hemorrhoids, stuffy nose, and bleeding gums.

    Shortness of breath and frequent urination

    Your enlarged womb is already crowding your lungs, giving you less room to take in a full breath, thereby causing shortness of breath. Since your womb also puts pressure on your bladder, you'd need to empty it more often than usual, resulting to frequent trips to the bathroom. Doing this keeps you from accidentally peeing in your underwear when you cough or sneeze.

    Your baby's development at 31 weeks

    At 31 weeks pregnant, your baby is as big as a coconut, measuring a little over 16 inches long and weighing close to three and a half pounds. Your little one still has about three to five pounds to go until he reaches the average newborn birth weight. He's too snug in your womb now, so he's forced into the fetal position—hopefully, head down towards your birth canal—until birth. If he is not in position for delivery, he will still be moving a lot, so his position can still change in the coming weeks.

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    Your baby's brain is also going through significant developments. All your baby's five senses are up and running at this stage. His brain can now pick up and process information such as recognizing light, hearing sounds, tasting what you eat, and feeling his skin and grasping his umbilical cord. His sense of smell is very much active though he's submerged in amniotic fluid. Once he gets his first breath of air, it's your scent and the smell of your breast milk that will become his early favorites. 

    He is clocking in more sleeping hours at 31 weeks as his brain makes more nerve cell connections each day. Take note of his waking hours when you do a kick count every day. Your little one has been making faces, hiccupping, swallowing, and breathing air. His newborn reflexes, such as rooting, sucking, grasping and even pedaling his hands and feet, are all set. Your baby is really just waiting to be born!

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    Your to-do list on Week 31 of your pregnancy

    Are you becoming a little more forgetful? A pregnant woman's brain cell volume decreases during pregnancy. Use pen and paper or an app to keep you on top of your to-do lists!

    Have your 3D/4D ultrasound

    You're excited to see your little one to find out who he looks like. Having a 3D or a 4D ultrasound can distract you from your worsening pregnancy symptoms. You can also squeeze in a maternity shoot into your schedule to document your pregnancy, or scout for newborn memory capsule kits! 

    Ready your D-day bags!

    Prepare everything you need for childbirth, so it will be easier for your partner to grab it before you leave for the hospital. Prepare three hospital bags: one containing your things, another for your newborn's essentials, and the last one containing documents you need for birth, like your doctor's admission orders.

    Prepare for breastfeeding.

    If you and your partner haven't decided on two possible names yet, get on it now. You need to prepare for your baby's arrival after setting up his things and his nursery. Do your research on breastfeeding, attend a workshop, and stock up on great advice for when you encounter nursing challenges.

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    Screen for possible nannies.

    By now, you should have already chosen your newborn's pediatrician. If you're planning on hiring a yaya, now is the time to start asking for referrals and interviewing applicants. It's best to train your baby's caregiver before your little one arrives, so you have enough time to share tips and baby care practices you've decided to adapt. 

    Know the signs of pre-term labor.

    No one wants to give birth prematurely, but pre-term-labor can happen to anyone at any time. If you think you're going into labor — symptoms of which include having regular, intensifying contractions, bleeding, or your water bag is leaking or ruptured — head to the hospital as soon as possible.

    Alert your doctor and rush to the hospital if you're experiencing any of these signs of pregnancy complications: elevated blood pressure, severe headache, blurred vision, and vomiting. Waste no time and get to the hospital as well if you notice that your baby isn't moving.

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    More on your week-by-week pregnancy:

    Pregnancy Symptoms Week 30: Ready Your Delivery-Day Bags!

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