YOUR CHANGING LIFE
Phantom contractions and more signs that you’re almost ready!
Welcome to week 31 of your pregnancy. The good news is that you’re closing in on D-Day – the time when you can finally cradle that baby you’ve been carrying around for months in your arms and smother his or her face with some well-deserved kisses. The bad news? Until that day comes, your body’s just getting more uncomfortable as the stress of carrying around a growing little one begins to wear you ragged.
It’s not all bad – in fact, some women feel great up until the day they give birth – but for many pregnant women, the weeks leading up to delivery can be fraught with aches and pains, as well as several signs that your body is ready to give birth.
What are some of the tip-offs that your body’s geared up for delivery? Around week 31, you may notice that a creamy or yellowish substance starts leaking from your breasts. Referred to as pre-milk or colostrum, this is the first stage of breast milk production. If you don’t start seeing colostrum, there’s no need to worry. Your breasts are still producing it just the same, even if you can’t see it.
You should definitely pick up new bras that offer additional support during this time. If you’re concerned about the amount of pre-milk that’s leaking from your breasts, try slipping some nursing pads into your bra each morning. This can be a great way to overcome this problem as you get ready for the baby. Once you give birth, your breasts should stop producing colostrum after a few days.
In addition to colostrum, you may notice that you’re having trouble breathing and that the muscles in your uterus are tightening up. The random contractions you feel are actually Braxton Hicks contractions. While they usually last no more than 30 seconds, these infrequent contractions can help remind you that the end is almost near!
YOUR BABY THIS WEEK
From head of cabbage to four oranges
Last week, your little bundle of joy was the size of a head of cabbage. By week 31, the baby has certainly grown and is now roughly 16 inches long and weighs as much as four oranges, or roughly 3.3 pounds. If, at any point over the next few weeks, it feels like you’re carrying a baby that weighs as much as a bag of fruit, you know why!
Your baby is only getting bigger with each week, which can be exciting and nerve-racking at the same time, especially if you’re having problems with your back and shoulders. Try to focus on how your baby’s doing in that ever-expanding belly of yours.
Your little guy or gal can now move his or her head, arms, legs and body and his or her skin is continuing to thicken up. Your baby now has at least a trillion connections starting to power up in his or her brain, and as the weeks progress, his or her brain is only going to get more active. By now, your wee one should be able to pick up on all five senses, track light and process bits of information. Try talking to your baby (if you haven’t already), and don’t be surprised if he or she starts to react!
Stay connected with your partner
As you head into the final weeks of your pregnancy, it’s totally normal to be preoccupied with new born preparation. After all, from planning your nursery’s final details to getting your route to and from the hospital in order, there’s plenty to keep your mind occupied during the big stretch up ahead.
However, it’s important – especially during the final trimester of your pregnancy – that you try to set aside time to spend with your partner.
Granted, you’re probably seeing a lot of one another between doctor’s visits and trips to your local department stores to stock up on diapers, blankets and a variety of other baby-related products. But these experiences are baby-oriented, not focused on the two of you as a couple. Once the baby arrives, the time you get to spend privately with one another will be limited and eclipsed by the duties you share as parents.
As a result, it’s really important that you make the most of the next few weeks and plan a few great dates. Is there a restaurant you’ve always longed to visit, or a quick day trip you’ve been meaning to make but never have? Tell your partner all about your desires – all you need to do is slip into a sexy maternity dress and let him or her plan the rest!
The most essential thing right now is that you’re building lasting memories together and strengthening the bond you share, even while you’re both busy getting ready for baby.
On a light-hearted note, physical intimacy with your partner can have an interesting effect on your developing baby – something that you’ve probably noticed already! For some babies, the rhythmic movements can actually promote sleep, while others may become noticeably more active while you and your partner are entwined.
No matter what reaction your baby has, it’s completely normal for parents to keep having sex throughout a pregnancy. If you’re having doubts or questions, you can always reach out to your healthcare provider for information!