Pregnancy Calendar Week 31
YOUR PREGNANCY WEEK BY WEEK: WHAT’S HAPPENING IN WEEK 31
At around 17-18 inches long and 4 pounds, your baby is as big as a pineapple now! Her brain continues to develop at breakneck speed, getting ready to experience everything in her new life outside your womb soon. With your baby getting bigger all the time, it’s no wonder she’s crowding your lungs, which may be making it more difficult for you to breathe these days.
At 31 weeks pregnant, difficulty breathing and depression may be a couple of unwelcome companions of pregnancy that you’re coping with.
Shortness of Breath
Feeling winded after only taking a short walk? Need to rest more frequently during physical activity? The shortness of breath you may be experiencing now is something many expecting mothers feel toward the end of their pregnancies.It’s happening because your body needs more oxygen for you and your growing baby. To get it, your pregnancy hormones are heightened (progesterone in particular), which stimulate the respiratory center of your brain telling your lungs that more air is needed. This makes you feel like you need to breathe in more air. And, although the number of breaths you take in during pregnancy doesn’t change much, the amount of air you take in and breathe out increases significantly.In addition to the part that hormones play, your expanding uterus is putting more pressure on your diaphragm, which can make your breathing feel more difficult.Most of the time pregnant women feel mild shortness of breath, which isn’t a cause for concern. But, if yours seems rather severe with signs like:
- Bluish fingertips or lips
- Chest pain
- Rapid pulse
Be sure to call your doctor right away.When you do experience shortness of breath, try resting more and reduce your physical activity. Standing and sitting up straight can also help. And, when you’re sleeping or resting, prop yourself up with pillows.
For moms-to-be, there’s often an expectation of pregnancy being a happy, joyous time filled with days of bliss looking forward to baby’s arrival. While that’s certainly one wonderful side of pregnancy, there’s also another side: depression and anxiety that can oftentimes come along for the ride.Carrying a baby and getting ready to bring a new life into the world is both exhilarating and exhausting. Hormonal changes coupled with the normal anxieties about life changes that are coming have an effect on brain chemistry, which can lead to depression.If you’re experiencing these symptoms, you may be suffering from depression, and it’s important to seek support and get appropriate treatment.
- Intense, persistent sadness
- Trouble concentrating
- Sleeping too much or too little
- Loss of interest in activities you normally enjoy
- Recurring thoughts of death, suicide or hopelessness
- Feeling unworthy
- Change in eating habits
If you’re struggling with depression, here’s what you can do to help:
- Exercise daily to naturally increase your serotonin levels and reduce cortisol levels.
- Get plenty of quality sleep and rest, which will help you handle life’s daily stresses.
- Fuel your body with healthy foods that will make you feel good like lean meats, vegetables, fruit, nuts and whole grains. Avoid greasy, processed foods and those that are high in caffeine and sugar.
- Try acupuncture, which has been shown to be a potentially effective option in treating depression in pregnant women.
- Talk with your doctor about treatment options that might include joining a support group, talking with a therapist one-on-one, light therapy and medication.
Remember, your emotional health is just as important as your physical health, so don’t dismiss your symptoms. Research has shown that, if left untreated, depression can increase your risk for preterm delivery and affect the well-being of your unborn baby. If you need help with depression, start taking steps to treat it today.
In the 31st week of pregnancy, your baby’s extraordinary brain keeps growing by leaps and bounds.
Your baby’s brain continues rapid development.
For the past few weeks, your baby’s brain has been in a super-charged state of growth. And it’s continuing now with more development every day and, up close, you’d see characteristic grooves, folds and wrinkles appearing more well-defined. Inside your baby’s brain, cells are rapidly multiplying, differentiating and making connections that help her move, think, learn and remember. Your little one’s amazing brain will keep developing at a strong, fast rate until around the age of five.
Your baby is shedding lanugo.
One of the mission critical things your baby’s brain is smart enough to do now is regulate her own body temperature, so she’s shedding the soft layer of lanugo body hair that had been keeping her warm. But, some babies are born with lanugo. So, if your little one is sporting some of it when you deliver, don’t worry—there’s no cause for concern as it will eventually fall out.
Diet and Exercise Tips You Should Follow
To keep you and your baby healthy, follow these tips in week 31:
Give your baby the brain food she needs.
With your baby’s brain in a rapid stage of growth, you’ll want to provide her with the brain nutrients she needs with plenty of milk, eggs and seafood in your daily diet. It’s also important that you take your DHA supplements in the coming weeks. We recommend 200-400 mg/day.
Prenatal yoga is a great late pregnancy exercise.
Here in the third trimester, attending prenatal yoga classes can be a wonderful way to get the exercise you need in a gentler form that’s less strenuous. You’ll benefit from increased flexibility, improved muscle tone, stress reduction and better sleep.
Things You Should Do
- Indulge in a prenatal massage, which will help reduce the stress level for you and your baby.
- Plan some time for socializing with friends and family before the big day. After your baby arrives, you won’t have as much time for leisurely dinners and long chats over coffee.
Words You Should Know
Diastasis: Also known as abdominal separation, diastasis is the splitting of the rectus abdominis muscle into right and left halves, which sometimes happens during pregnancy.
Foremilk: In breastfeeding, the breast milk the baby receives during the first few minutes of nursing; it’s higher in volume with low fat concentration.
Hindmilk: In breastfeeding, the breast milk the baby receives after the first few minutes of nursing; it’s lower in volume but higher in calories/fat.
Prolapsed Cord: Slipping of part of the umbilical cord into the birth canal during delivery, which can result in the baby not getting enough oxygen.