Welcome to week 31. Only nine weeks to go!
Your broccoli-sized baby is growing this week and is about the size of a bunch of asparagus. Your baby measures 16.5 inches (41.8 cm) and weighs 3.9 pounds (1.8 kg).
Your baby continues to shed lanugo and add fat to help keep them warm. They still have a lot of weight to put on and will gain at least another 3-5 pounds before birth.
Your baby is putting in longer stretches of sleep. You probably notice more defined patterns of your baby’s wakefulness (when they are moving) and rest (when they are still). It may seem like they are on the opposite schedule from you. That is because all the moving around you during the day rocks your baby to sleep, which means they may be more active at night.
In a study, half of the participants played Twinkle Twinkle Little Star five times per week in the last trimester. At birth and four months of age, the same melody was played back, with a few notes changed. The babies in the group who had heard the song in the womb had a stronger response to the unchanged notes than those who did not hear the melody. Not only does your baby hear the music you play, but they will also remember it later. Listen to this episode for the research on how you and your partner can start building a connection with your baby now.
As your baby grows and your uterus expands, it can put additional pressure on your lungs and other organs. Your growing uterus pushes up on your diaphragm, the muscle below your lungs. You may find yourself short of breath and getting winded easily. Sitting or standing with good posture can give your lungs more room to expand. If you are out of breath on walks or when exercising, slow down and take it easy.
As you get closer to your due date, your nipples could leak colostrum. This yellowish fluid nourishes your baby in the first few days until your milk comes in. Colostrum is like a superfood for your baby, so it is good that your body produces it. If you leak, it shouldn’t be enough to soak through a bra and a shirt. If you are leaking, you can use disposable or reusable breast pads. These also come in handy in the first few weeks of breastfeeding when leaking is most common.
Many pregnancy symptoms can negatively affect your sleep. Restless leg syndrome is a neurological disorder that presents as bothersome sensations in your legs that are relieved when you move them. About 24% of expecting mothers experience restless leg syndrome. The prevalence of snoring is higher in pregnant women, mainly due to the estrogenic effect on the nasal mucosa. Loud snoring in the third trimester has an estimated 14-45% prevalence. While snoring may be more bothersome for your partner than for you, some research links snoring to adverse pregnancy outcomes. This is one of many issues that can impact your sleep. See the episode on troubleshooting sleep issues for more in-depth information.
Many practices have multiple doctors or midwives, and the practitioner who will attend your birth will be the person who is on call when you go into labor. Now is an excellent time to verify who could attend your birth. If it could be someone you have not met yet, you may consider asking for a prenatal appointment with them in the coming weeks. If you are seeing an individual doctor or midwife who has a private practice, ask who their backup is in the event they cannot attend your birth.
Even if you plan a vaginal birth, you should be knowledgeable about a cesarean section. The low-risk cesarean rate is 25.9%. Low-risk mothers are at least 37 weeks, first-time mothers, with a baby in the vertex (head down) position. Of the one in four low-risk women having a birth via cesarean, many did not plan to meet their baby that way. There are podcast episodes on cesarean birth, gentle cesarean and vaginal seeding, and when a c-section is absolutely necessary.
Tip for Dads and Partners
Many things are geared toward moms but are fantastic for dads or partners, too. Baby-wearing is one of these things. Carriers are an excellent way to spend time with your baby, be hands-free, go for a walk, or just give mom a break. When you are shopping for a carrier, make sure it is comfortable, and in a color or style you are happy to wear.
Want more evidence-based information to navigate your pregnancy and birth?
20% OFF Pregnancy Podcast Premium with the code 40WEEKS. With a Premium membership, you get access to the private podcast feed (in your favorite podcast app) with every episode ad-free. Exclusive access to all episodes, articles, and resources on the website. Plus, a digital copy of the Your Birth Plan book. Your step-by-step guide to creating the birth experience you want. Including sample plans and a master template you can customize. Become a Pregnancy Podcast Premium Member.