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Mother and Baby

31 Weeks Pregnant – What to expect

31 weeks pregnant

This week, your bump is visibly moving and you may be feeling hot under the collar. Here’s everything else you need to know about your baby and your body at 31 weeks.

How big is my baby at 31 weeks?

Your baby now measures over 16 inches long and weighs about three and a third pounds, and is well on her way towards a growth spurt. She’s about the size of a coconut, and is growing steadily.

What’s my baby doing at 31 weeks?

Your foetus is more baby-like than ever: She can turn her head from side to side, and is moving a lot, to the extent she may be keeping you up at night. She’s also extremely lively – wriggling, stretching and kicking so much now that you might even see your bump move, especially when you’re relaxing in the bath. However, there are more defined patterns of movement and rest, as a result of your baby sleeping for longer stretches of time. 

There’s also plenty of fat accumulating under her skin, helping her arms, legs and body plump up. Your baby’s digestive system, liver, kidneys and pancreas are functioning.

Your baby’s brain is also working at the speed of light, developing faster than ever, and making tons of connections between individual nerve cells. She can now perceive signals from all her senses, although obviously she won’t be able to smell anything until she leaves the amniotic fluid that has been her home and breathes her first gulp of fresh air.

In the meantime, just as you’re preparing your home for your new arrival, your baby’s practising for life in the outside world, making faces, breathing, swallowing, hiccuping and even sucking her thumb.

What is my body doing at 31 weeks?

Been feeling a lot clammier recently? Well, due to your increased blood flow, your body sweats more as a way of cooling you down. Nice! Make sure you keep well hydrated with lots of cold water. 

If you feel numbness or pins and needles in your fingers, especially your thumb and first two fingers, this is Carpal Tunnel Syndrome. It’s a result of fluid retention in your carpal tunnel – which is a structure in your wrist housing your nerves, tendons and ligaments. 

You’re due for another antenatal appointment around now, too, so bring up any issues, worries or questions with your midwife. 

If you’ve been feeling the muscles in your uterus tightening from time to time then don’t rush to hospital – you’re probably having harmless Braxton Hicks contractions. These should be quite random, won’t hurt and can last around 30 seconds. 

However, if they’re frequent contractions, say more than four in an hour (even if they’re not painful), you notice a change in your discharge (for example, if they're more watery, contain more mucus or are bloody in any way), suffer from cramping, abdominal pain or an increase in pelvic pressure or lower back pain, call your GP or midwife, as these could be signs of premature labour.

Common symptoms to look out for:

  • Shortness of breath: Finding it hard to catch your breath? Yup, it’s pregnancy’s fault again. As your uterus pushes on your internal organs, your lungs feel crowded and it’s harder for them to expand fully, meaning you might experience an unpleasant or uncomfortable feeling of shortness of breath. This may improve towards the end of your pregnancy, when your baby drops lower in preparation for delivery. Sleeping on your side may give your lungs more space to breathe in the meantime.
  • Backaches: Your growing belly can impact your back, as it will have to curve to accommodate the new weight. Try to attend some prenatal yoga classes to protect your back and relax your mind. 
  • Headaches: It’s those pesky hormones again that might cause you to have headaches, as well as pregnancy fatigue. To get rid of migraines or tension headaches, take 15 minutes to lie in a quiet, dark room, or put an icepack on your forehead or the back of your neck while you relax. Don’t take any medication before checking with your doctor first.

What to do this week:

  • Think about the birth plan: Start thinking about pain medication during labour. You don’t have to decide yet, but it’s good to be prepared and understand all the options, whether you know you want pain relief, you’re sure you don’t, or you’re happy to wait and see how you feel on the day. You could sign up for a childbirth education class with your partner, where you can learn all about medical pain relief such as epidurals, as well as drug-free approaches such as breathing techniques. 
  • Start packing! You should also start thinking about what to pack in your hospital bag. Preparing in advance means all you have to do is leave the bag by the door, and if your baby arrives earlier than expected, you’ll have one less thing to worry about when rushing to the hospital! Luckily for you, we've got a handy downloadable list for you to tick off here. 

Take me back to week 30

Take me to week 32

Read more, the 2017 Mother & Baby award winning pushchairs: 

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Joie Baby Litetrax 4, £200, Amazon

Our mums loved this Joie pushchair so much, they awarded it the Mother & Baby 2017 gold award. Noting how easy the pushchair was to put up and down one handed, the fully reclining seat is perfect for a newborn and the swivel wheels allow for easy steering, especially on and off public transport. It also looks super modern and stylish. Read more reviews of the Joie Baby Litetrax 4 here. 
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UPPAbaby Cruz, £369, Amazon

Designed for city streets, this narrow pushchair was our 2017 silver award winner. Our team of mum testers loved how easily the seat reclined and the extra little pockets, great for holding bottles and toys. Our mums also loved the higher chassis, which allows your baby to sit higher off the ground and closer to you. Read more reviews of the UPPAbaby Cruz here. 
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iCandy Peach, £755, John Lewis 

It's been a firm favourite for the past few years, so it was no surprise when the iCandy Peach won bronze in our 2017 Mother & Baby awards. The iCandy Peach can also be upgraded to a double travel system, meaning this clever little pushchair also won silver in our Best Multiple, Twin or Tandem Pushchair category. Famous for it's one handed fold and of course, it's eye catching design, our panel of mum testers loved how easy this pushchair is to use day to day, rather than just in the YouTube videos! Finding it light, sturdy and easy to manoeuvre, our mums gave this pushchair four and half stars out of five. Read more reviews of the iCandy peach here. 
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ABC Design Pepper Travel System, £670, Amazon

Suitable from six months, the three position seat has a full lie back feature, and along with the group 0+ car seat, this travel system can be used from birth. Winning gold in our 2017 Best Travel System Mother & Baby awards, our mums loved how light and easy to use the system was. Well built and easy to push, the pushchair can be adapted as your child grows. Read more real mum reviews of the ABC Design Pepper Travel System here. 
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UPPAbaby Vista, £599, Amazon

Another pushchair you'll see just about everywhere, the UPPAbaby Vista won the silver 2017 Mother & Baby Award in the Best Travel System catergory AND gold in the Best Multiple, Twin or Tandem Pushchair category. Why? Our mums loved how luxurious the pushchair looked and how easy it was to convert. In fact, one of our mum testers said: 'this travel system made me weep with happiness!' Read more reviews of the UPPAbaby Vista here. 
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Mamas & Papas Armadillo Flip XT, £350, Amazon

Winning bronze in the Best Travel System category, this compact travel system can be folded down in seconds, whichever way the seat is facing. Our mum testers loved how comfortable their little ones seemed in the pram, with the wide wheels giving them a comfy ride. They also loved the room underneath the pram, which is great for those days when you just can't travel light! Read more real mum reviews of the Mamas & Papas Armadillo Flip XT here. 
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Out 'n' About Little Nipper Double, £429.95, Amazon 

This lightweight, practical double buggy won bronze in our 2017 Bronze Best Multiple, Twin or Tandem Pushchair category and it's easy to see why. Despite it's side by side design, the pushchair still only weighs 11kg, making it one of the lightest double buggies on the market. Our mums loved how easy it was to use and how comfy their little ones looked in the Little Nipper. Read more real mum reviews of the Out 'n' About Little Nipper Double here. 
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Silver Cross Zest, £120, John Lewis 

Weighing just 5.8kg, it's no wonder the Silver Cross Zest won gold in our 2017 Best Lightweight Stroller category. Suitable from birth up to 25kg the roomy seat will stand the test of time. A great one to buy for a holiday, the fully-extendable hood has UPF50+ sun protection. Our real mum testers loved how easy the pushchair was to fold down, and of course, how light it felt to move around. Read more reviews of the Silver Cross Zest here. 
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Cosatto Supa Stroller in Bow How - Babies 'R' Us Exclusive, £219, Toys R' Us

Winning Silver in the 2017 Best Lightweight Stroller category, this Supa Bow How Stroller from Cosatto was designed especially for Babies R' Us. Our mums loved how stylish and easy this lightweight buggy was to use, making leaving the house easy (for once!) It is also easy to fit into, and get in and out of a car boot, however small your car may be. Read more reviews of the Cosatto Supa Stroller here. 
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Chicco Liteway Lightweight Buggy, £120, Amazon

Light enough to carry in one hand, with an easy umbrella fold, our mums loved this lightweight stroller so much, they gave it a bronze award in our 2017 Best Lightweight Stroller category. With a roomy seat, padded bumper and comfy leg rest, despite being so light, you are not skimping on quality here. Our mums loved how high quality this pushchair felt, as well as being stylish and durable. Read more real mum reviews of the Chicco Liteway Lightweight Buggy here. 

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