Week 31

Your baby this week

3.3

POUNDS IN WEIGHT

Your baby is now fully formed with a cartilage skeleton.

Your baby’s digestive system is fully formed.

Your baby will start to test his reflexes.

How big is your baby?

She measures about 41.1cm (16.2 in) and weighs 1.5kg (3 lb 3 oz). This means she’s about the weight of a coconut.

How big is your baby?

She measures about 41.1cm (16.2 in) and weighs 1.5kg (3 lb 3 oz). This means she’s about the weight of a coconut.

What does your baby look like?

Room is running short in your uterus so she is likely to be curled up tightly now moving into the classic fetal position. It’s at this point that if your baby stretches out an arm, or jerks out a leg, you may actually see the limb poke out under your skin.

As she gains more fat, her wrinkled skin is becoming smoother. She has certainly come a long way from her days as a tiny ball of cells!

Changes in your body this week

You may have also started to notice that your breasts have begun leaking colostrum. Colostrum is the first milk your body produces before true breast milk, and it is full of antibodies and immunoglobulins to help protect your new-born baby when you first start feeding her.

How your baby is developing

Your baby will continue her regular pattern of movement despite having increasingly restricted room.

Because her taste buds have developed, she will also be able to taste different flavours in the amniotic fluid. The foods you eat will affect how it tastes and smells. Therefore, it’s possible that what you eat may affect your baby’s food preferences once she is born.

How your baby is developing

Your baby will continue her regular pattern of movement despite having increasingly restricted room.

Because her taste buds have developed, she will also be able to taste different flavours in the amniotic fluid. The foods you eat will affect how it tastes and smells. Therefore, it’s possible that what you eat may affect your baby’s food preferences once she is born.

Health concerns

Are you eating enough? You are probably aware that there is no need to “eat for two” when pregnant. All that will lead to is unnecessary weight gain, which could possibly lead to complications. Instead, a healthy, well-balanced diet will suffice. The reason there has been no need to consume extra calories is because your body becomes more efficient at absorbing nutrients during pregnancy, so your baby will get all they need from a regular healthy diet. However, in the third trimester NICE guidelines say that you should try to consume an extra 200 calories per day. This is recommended because you will require more energy in the later stages of pregnancy.

Are there any symptoms you should be looking out for?

Obstetric cholestasis is a rare complication of pregnancy that is the most common during the third trimester. It is caused by a build-up of bile (a fluid stored in the gallbladder that helps break down fatty foods) in the liver, which is then released into the bloodstream. This creates intense, uncomfortable itching without a rash. Some women may also develop jaundice, which is the yellowing of the skin.

Keep in mind that the condition is unlikely to have any serious long-term consequences and will usually disappear soon after giving birth, but it does increase the chances of your baby being born prematurely. Because of this, you’re likely to be offered more antenatal appointments so that you and your baby can be closely monitored.

As for the itching, you are likely to be prescribed creams and maybe some medication to help soothe your skin. Other than that, taking a cool bath and making sure you wear loose fitting cotton clothing, which allows air to circulate close to your skin, are good alternatives. These may not do much to help severe itching, however.

Safety first

Remember to practise your breathing. A yoga or Pilates class will help you help with this. If not, then breathing techniques for labour should be covered in your antenatal class.

Focused breathing during labour is very important, and is one of the best methods of natural pain relief. Plus, good breathing technique will help supply your body with as much oxygen as possible, allowing it to work more efficiently during labour.

There are different techniques to help with your breathing, so be sure to ask your antenatal class instructor about all of them.

Important issues this week

Do you find your bump is getting a lot of attention? While the sight of a pregnant person can often bring out feelings of warmth and kindness from some people, it is also possible that some of the attention is unwelcome, especially if they try to touch your bump. Some days, when your emotions are running high, this may be the last thing you want.

If you do find someone is invading your personal space and making you feel uncomfortable, don’t be afraid to politely tell them to respect your boundaries. It’s your body and your child, after all.

Keeping fit, staying healthy

If back pain has been causing you a lot of bother in the last stages of your pregnancy. Here is a reminder of a useful yoga position: the cat/cow pose, which can help alleviate any back pain.

Get on all fours with your hands aligned, shoulders and knees aligned with your hips. Starting with a straight back, drop your abdomen towards the floor so that your tailbone naturally lifts up. Then, while breathing in, raise your back towards the ceiling so your tailbone is then tucked beneath you. Exhale as you drop your tummy back towards the ground. Alternate between these two positions, raising your back and lowering your tummy, for ten repetitions.

This yoga pose is essentially a pelvic tilt done on all fours. Pelvic tilts can also be done sitting and standing.

Looking forward; planning ahead

If you work, then you may choose to start your maternity leave soon, so enjoy the last few weeks at your job before becoming a parent. Remember you can start your leave any day from 11 weeks before your due date and can take up to a year off. Click here for more information.

You should already have decided on dates for maternity leave, but if you don’t think you will use the entire allowance, then you might want to consider the option of Shared Parental Leave (SPL). You should talk this through with your partner, as SPL can be taken by either of you. You have the option of converting any unused maternity leave into SPL, which will give you much more flexibility, as you can choose to split it into sections. This is unlike maternity leave, which must be taken in one go.

Important – If you or your child are unwell you should seek medical advice from a professional – contact your GP or visit an A&E department in an emergency. While My BabyManual strives to provide dependable and trusted information on pregnancy and childcare 24/7 via our website pages, we cannot provide individual answers to specific healthcare questions.
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