By the 31st week, the uterus has grown so much to reach about 4.5 inches above the naval. It is less than 10 weeks from now before the baby arrives. Indeed, it can even be shorter because some babies are born as early as the 37th week. This is time to get ready as you approach the finishing line.
Baby’s growth and development in week thirty one
By the thirty-first weeks, the baby is now fully formed with most parts ready to function if he/she is born before term. Over time, the baby’s growth has reached 3.3 pounds in weight and 16 inches in length.
As the week progresses, the skin continues packing additional layers of fat so internal organs are no longer clearly visible. In a few weeks, lanugo and vernix will start being shed off. The hands and legs are also filling from the thirtieth week so that the appearance will be well rounded and healthy looking at the time of delivery.
By this week, the space in the uterus is getting smaller. Because of this, every kick will be felt more and might be a little painful. You might gasp suddenly leaving onlookers astonished. The baby may take the head-down position as early as weeks 31 or maintain the breech position until the last few weeks.
By week 31, the umbilical cord is full of cord blood that is very rich in stem cells. The stem cells are very effective in treating a lot of diseases including brain injury, diabetes, and heart diseases. Therefore, you can make a decision to donate to research facilities or storing in a private facility for other family members treatment.
Changes to expect in Mom’s body during week 31
By the close of the 31st week, your weight will have risen by about 24.5-25 lbs. Is this not amazing? However, you still have an additional 10 pounds to add before the baby can be born. Remember that this could be slightly more or less depending on your body.
Breast changes: As the due date keeps drawing nearer, the breasts keep changing. They will feel heavier and fuller than any other time in the previous weeks in preparation for breastfeeding. Darker and additional bumps may develop around the areolas. Breast leakage could also become a problem and you should use nursing pads.
Gastrointestinal problems: Because of the fast growing baby and uterus, every nearby organ is pressed to give space. The stomach is particularly pressed upwards so that you start experiencing gastrointestinal problems such as indigestion and heartburn. You will find it difficult to digest very large meals in the remaining weeks and it is important to take food in small portions and stay away from things that trigger heartburn.
Your baby’s umbilical cord now contains “cord blood,” which is rich in stem cells. After your baby is born, you have the option of donating this cord blood to research or storing them in a private facility, in the event that a family member gets sick and may be able to use them.
Stem cells are very effective in treating over 70 diseases including cancers, heart disease, juvenile diabetes, brain injury, and others.
Types of pain relief during labor
As due date keeps drawing nearer, you need to understand methods of pain relief during labor. This is one thing you need to think about and come to a conclusion with the assistance of a doctor. The following are the main types of pain relief during labor;
- Natural birth: This means no artificial pain relief method is used. Natural moms prefer using natural relaxation techniques while others may go a step ahead and apply hypnosis. While many women indicate they want natural pain relief, the pain becomes unbearable and need some medication to control it at some point.
- Use of analgesics: These are chemicals that are applied directly to the pregnant mother’s muscles (particularly buttocks) to provide immediate pain relief. They can relief pain from a couple of minutes to several hours. The chemicals include butorphanol and nalbuphine among others.
- Epidural pain relief: This is one of the commonest methods of pain relief during labor. The medicine is injected into the epidural area (section surrounding spinal column) and can be used for C-section or normal delivery. The medicine provides complete pain relief in approximately 5 minutes.
- Pudendal block: This medication is used to provide relief from pain between vagina and perineum. It is administered into the vaginal walls and will provide extra relief to pain that comes from episiotomy.
Twin pregnancy and preterm delivery
For moms who are pregnant with twins, the weight might be too much and they find it unbearable to wait till the last week. By the 31st weeks, a twin mother will be about 27-30 pounds more. This means that all the pregnancy symptoms such as nausea, discomfort, and fatigue among others will be double.
In many cases, women carrying twins have a higher risk of preterm delivery compared to those carrying single babies. It is estimated that 60% of all pregnant moms deliver prematurely. Most of the mothers deliver between weeks 34 and weeks 35. The rate of survival for twin births at thirty-first weeks is very high. Therefore, you should keep looking for signs of preterm labor such as;
- Dull backache
- Progressive pelvic pressure
- Regular contractions (frequency of about 10 minutes)
- Cramps that are similar to menstrual flow
Things to do during the 31st week
- Maintain a healthy diet with a particular focus on extra minerals and essential fats. The baby is putting on fat everywhere from hands to the skin and bones are requiring extra minerals to harden.
- Having started preparing your delivery plan, consider discussing it with your selected doctor. This is important to get clarifications on what is better for you.
- Continue taking more delivery classes to understand it better and get fully prepared. You will learn a lot of things that will help you go through successfully.
- Share your experiences and fears with your doctor in order to reduce your anxiety. It is also important to keep in touch with moms in the same trimester and others that have gone through delivery successfully.
- Keep taking mild exercises that help strengthen the muscles as you prepare for labor and delivery. Some of the great exercises to consider this week include short walks and yoga.
- Go for regular massage that helps to relief your body muscles. This is important to help you get relieved from leg cramps and practice muscles for upcoming contractions during labor.
- Take more time with your partner to share more about delivery and the baby. Your partner is the greatest source of encouragement at the moment when the moods and anxiety set in.
- Continue counting baby’s movements and even record to get a clear picture of his/her health.