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31 weeks pregnant - what to expect

Your baby is now about the size of a coconut!

31 weeks infographic.

What does my baby look like?

They’re still pretty slim but will start piling on the pounds over the next few weeks - gaining about 200 grams each week.

All babies are different, even at this stage, and your baby will have their own pattern of movements. It’s good to get familiar with these and to be aware of the pattern. Then, if there is a change in the pattern, you can contact your midwife or the hospital quickly.

Download the 'Feeling your baby move is a sign that they are well' leaflet (PDF).

Babies’ movements do not slow down at the end of pregnancy. It’s an old wives’ tale that this happens because they have less room. In fact, slowing of movements can be a sign your baby is having problems, so get in touch with your midwife or hospital ward immediately if you notice this.

Watch our film on why babies' movements matter here.

Your symptoms - what to expect

What are Braxton Hicks?

You may feel your womb tighten and harden for a few seconds every so often. These painless, irregular Braxton Hicks contractions are normal in the second half of pregnancy.

If they become painful or regular, call your midwife.

Find out about four ways your body gets ready for labour.

“I sorted my finances out before maternity leave and tried to save as much as I could, so there was a bit of a cushion when I didn't have a full income coming in.” Sonja, mum of two

My fingers hurt and keep going numb. Why is this?

Even your fingers can be affected by pregnancy! If you find your fingers are becoming numb, you may have carpal tunnel syndrome.

Give your hands a shake whenever you can and if you use a keyboard, try to keep your elbows above your wrists. If you’re struggling to cope with the pain, talk to your doctor or midwife.

Cramps, indigestion, heartburn and constipation are all fairly common symptoms during pregnancy.

Here’s our guide to 10 common pregnancy complaints (and how to avoid them).

Feeling clumsy?

As your bump gets bigger you might feel clumsy and off balance. Take care if you’re riding a bicycle (although the stationary ones in the gym are fine) or stepping on or off a bus or train.

Any falls or hard knocks to your bump need to be checked out by a midwife.

Actions to take

Go to sleep on your side

When you reach your third trimester, the advice is to go to sleep on your side. Research has shown that going to sleep on your back is linked to an increased risk of stillbirth. This advice includes daytime napping and night sleeping. Read more about safe sleep positions in pregnancy.

Your antenatal care

If this is your first baby, your midwife or GP will measure the size of your womb and check which way up the baby is at 31 weeks pregnant.

They will also take your blood pressure, test your urine for protein and discuss the results of any screening tests from your last appointment.

Find out more about your antenatal appointment schedule.

Pilates

It’s best to go into labour in tip top shape. Pilates helps strengthen your pelvic floor, tummy and back muscles - not only good for preparing your body for labour, but also to help you cope with carrying your growing bump, and then lifting your baby after the birth.

Should I be eating for two?

Did you know that ‘eating for two’ is a myth? You only need to consume an extra 200 calories in the third trimester.

Here are some 200 calorie pregnancy snack ideas to get you started!

Sources

1. Lennart Nilsson (2009) A Child is Born, Johnathan Cape, p. 208

2. RCM (2008) Pilates and pregnancy, London, Royal College of Midwives: https://www.rcm.org.uk/news-views-and-analysis/analysis/pilates-and-pregnancy [accessed 30 March 2015].

3. Macdonald S, Magill-Cuerden J (2012) Mayes’ Midwifery, 14th edition, London, Ballière Tindall.

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Last reviewed on April 1st, 2015. Next review date April 1st, 2018.

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