Third Trimester

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31 Weeks Pregnant: What's Going On

Your Baby at 31 Weeks Pregnant

Counting to 10. Many health care providers recommend that their patients monitor their baby's movements once they're well into the third trimester. Here's one way to do this: At roughly the same time each day (if possible, the time when your baby is most active), lie down and keep track of how long it takes to feel 10 kicks, rolls, or flutters — any type of movement. Many women find it takes only a few minutes, depending on the time of day. If an hour passes without any movement, eat a light snack, lie back down and try again. If you still don't feel anything, call your healthcare provider. 

Go slow. Don't worry, however, if your baby seems less active as the weeks progress. In fact, less-frequent movement now means she's right on track (assuming you are counting 10 movements in an hour or two åeach day). Her movements are simply becoming less erratic and more organized; also, there's not as much room in your uterus as there was just a few weeks ago.

Measuring up. Your baby is about 11.2 inches long from crown to rump (17 inches stretched out) and weighs about 3.3 pounds. She's been in the fetal position, with her legs tucked, for a few weeks now. She'll put on another 2 pounds this month, and just nine weeks, she'll be ready for a face-to-face meeting with you.

Your Pregnancy at 31 Weeks

Losing your breath? That's because your ever-expanding uterus is pushing your diaphragm into your lungs. If you're carrying low, consider yourself lucky — women carrying high have an even harder time breathing. If you find you're huffing and puffing, slow down and take a few deep breaths. Toward the end of your pregnancy (around week 37 or 38), you may get a break as your baby drops down into your pelvis, easing up on your diaphragm and lungs. 

Choosing child care. Whether you're considering a nanny, day care, or care from a relative, start researching and interviewing prospective choices now. Even if you're not going to need full-time care, you'll probably want to gather a few babysitter recommendations for special occasions.

Preterm labor or Braxton Hicks?  You've probably been on the lookout for preterm labor symptoms since the middle of your second trimester. Now that you're in your third trimester, your body may begin to practice for labor. These practice contractions are called Braxton Hicks contractions. They are different from preterm labor contractions and are no cause for alarm. How do you know the difference? If the contractions are irregular and go away when you change positions or walk around, you are probably experiencing Braxton Hicks. Contact your healthcare provider if you have any questions.