Week 31

Week 31 baby

Sweet dreams

By monitoring babies for extended periods of time via ultrasound, it has been shown that they dream while they sleep – or at least, that’s how we interpret it, because the baby’s eyes move the same way that sleeping adults’ eyes move during the REM phase of sleep. Just imagine if we knew what they were dreaming… At this point, most babies have yet to turn their head to face downward, but some start planning their journey into the world well in advance. In that case, they position themselves with their head (or that little bottom) facing down in the pelvic inlet, at the start of the birth canal.

Week 31 mum

The body prepares

If you’ve had a normal pregnancy, and you are healthy, then you’re likely following the standard programme provided by your clinic. In that case, it is probably time for another check-in with your doctor or midwife right about now. Because your uterus is taking up more and more space, breathing may feel a bit heavier. But your lungs are doing their part and have increased their capacity to enable you to oxygenate yourself and your baby properly. Still, it isn’t uncommon to feel like your usual walk takes an unbelievably long time, with a lot of panting. Another consequence of your bigger uterus is that it takes up some of the space for the stomach – which may very well mean you have to eat a little less at a time, but more frequently. Maybe you’re having more Braxton-Hicks contractions now that your belly is getting bigger? This is your body slowly but surely preparing to give birth. You can probably feel the load on your back and joints increasing by the week. At this point, you can hand heavy grocery bags over to someone else with a clear conscience – someone who isn’t carrying a baby in their belly. If there is no one else around, then try to distribute weight evenly between both hands so that you aren’t weighed down on one side or the other.

Week 31 partner

Pregnancy sleep positions

It’s probably quite challenging for your partner to find a comfortable position to sleep in these days. Her increasingly large belly is in the way. Lying on her back makes her feel dizzy (and she should actually avoid it), because the heavy uterus can press against the large vena cava vein. However medieval it may sound, a half-seated sleep position is a good option, or lying on her side. Other life hacks that might help include resting the belly on an inflatable pool ring for a while, or placing big, firm pillows under one leg for a comfy side position. If you want to surprise her with a gift, skip the fancy high heels and go for a maternity cushion. It is shaped to support the neck, stomach and back and can be a life-saver after endless sleepless nights. After childbirth, it can be ideal for a sore, newly reclaimed body – and as a breastfeeding cushion.