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Pregnancy At Week 31

Pregnancy At Week 31

Week 31 Pregnancy – How Is Your Baby Doing?

At your 31st week of pregnancy, you will be excited to know that your little baby now weighs just under three and a half pounds. Not only this, but they are now between sixteen and eighteen inches long – very close to their birth length. What they need to do now is grow another three to five pounds before they are ready to be born. In the last thirty one weeks, your little darling has grown from the size of a nut to the size of a coconut!

You may have noticed that your baby is resting every now and then. This is just the baby’s way of preparing for their routine once outside the womb. They will sleep for a few hours and then look for food and play. No need to panic if the kicking stops for a few hours – now you know why.

coconut

    You may be surprised to know that as your baby’s organs mature, they are now able to pass urine from their bladder (getting good practice for the outside world!). And if you’re wondering how on earth they are passing the time in there, get this: They are hiccuping, making faces, sucking their thumb, kicking, pedaling, and even waving and smiling as scan footage has shown us recently.

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    The Mothers Body at Week 31 Pregnancy

    Just as there is quite a lot going on with your baby, there is also a lot changing with your own body this week.

    Colostrum

    You may notice colostrum leaking from your breasts. This just means the body is getting ready to nurse and is no big deal, although many of us have been left red-faced the first time it happens. Not to worry – nursing pads are excellent for soaking up colostrum and they are very discreet. Don’t worry if there is no sign of colostrum. This can happen and it’s not a big deal. You will still have plenty of milk when you need it if you decide to breastfeed.

    You may also want to buy a nursing bra at this point. Try to get one a cup size too big as you will need this space when the milk comes in.

    Shortness of Breath

    Your uterus is pushing up well past your navel by now, squishing your other organs as it grows. Feeling shortness of breath is normal under these conditions. Things will go back to normal as soon as your baby is born. Take it easy – don’t be too hard on yourself. Gentle exercise is fine. It’s important to know when to stop exercising for both yourself and your baby.

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    Leaking Urine

    Some pregnant ladies find that when they cough, sneeze, or laugh that they lose urine. This can be very frustrating or embarrassing and is caused by the baby putting pressure on your bladder. The best thing to do is to wear a pad and make sure you completely empty your bladder when you use the toilet. Do this by bending forward as far as you can when you urinate.

    Common Symptoms this Week

    Each week of pregnancy poses new problems for you to solve. Some of them hang around until the end of the pregnancy, while others tail off and are forgotten about. You may find that you have some of these difficulties on week 31 of pregnancy:

    Sleep Problems

    Sleep problems during pregnancy occur for several reasons. Constant bathroom breaks are at the top of the list, while worrying can also cause problems, especially for inexperienced mothers. After you empty your bladder at the toilet, have another go and see if you can empty it again. This is called double voiding and will help ensure that your bladder is completely empty. Worrying is common during pregnancy, so don’t get caught up in a cycle of anxiety. Instead, have a chat with your midwife about what’s bothering you. And remember that most of what we worry about turns out absolutely fine in the end.

    Pregnancy Brain Fog

    Yes, it’s true. You may find it difficult to concentrate from this point on. We shouldn’t beat ourselves up, though. This is something that’s completely out of our control. Instead, we should get clever and put some measures in place to limit damage. Use your phone as a tool to remember pieces of information, or write everything down in a little book you carry around with you. In the workplace, this can be very frustrating and can damage your self esteem. Don’t be hard on yourself – you can only do your best. Your workmates will understand, and hopefully your boss will be compassionate too.

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    Varicose Veins

    These veins are a result of the uterus putting pressure on blood vessels, pregnancy hormones, and increased volumes of blood. It’s best to do small amounts of low key exercise when you can – the more often the better.

    Backache

    Your back arches under the pressure of the growing uterus, leaving many women in terrible pain. Consider some gentle stretching exercises to help with flexibility – yoga would be a good option. Also make sure you have a maternity pillow, which is vital for comfortable sleep.

    Awkwardness

    Even a pregnant ballet dancer will suffer from some degree of clumsiness at this point in the pregnancy. It’s difficult to gauge how much space you take up, so you bump into things and knock stuff over. That’s okay, not to worry. Just be careful when cooking and using the bathtub or shower.

    Tips this Week

    Start by making a list of everything you need to bring to the hospital and gather it all up now. Of course, you shouldn’t expect to be there anytime soon – it’s simply good to be prepared.

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    Don’t bother with a bumper for your crib – they look cute but they could cause your baby to suffocate. The same goes for pillows and cuddly toys. There will be plenty of time for them later.

    Best of luck over the coming weeks, this is a truly wonderful time. Never mind all the little discomforts – they will be worth it in the end.

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    Published on August 15, 2019

    15 Tips for an Overwhelmed Working Mom to Feel Better

    15 Tips for an Overwhelmed Working Mom to Feel Better

    As an overwhelmed working mom, you get a lot of intelligent ideas from magazines, friends and the internet about how to manage work, children, and a household.

    Unfortunately, you may still feel exhausted and insufficient at work and home despite the advice to organize, cook efficiently and pamper yourself .

    How great would it be to wake up tomorrow knowing that you can begin to feel better without all of those overwhelmed feelings?

    The sensation of feeling overwhelmed when you wear a lot of hats: mom, professional, household manager, partner, friend, etc. has its roots in reality. You are absolutely doing a lot of important jobs. But here’s the thing:

    If feeling overwhelmed has become your knee-jerk or chronic reaction, this emotion is now literally a part of you that needs your attention so that you can move forward more confidently.

    If helping yourself sounds too difficult, never fear. These tips come straight from therapy and neuroscience to hack into your nervous system. You will learn deeper ways to calm down and feel more confident about yourself, your life and your choices.

    1. Breathe and Notice What Your Body Feels like Inside and Out

    By using body-centered therapy techniques, you can better understand your overwhelmed feelings and offer accurate and practical help.

    As you’ll learn, when you feel stressed out, your thinking brain is not your best resource. In fact, simply thinking about and bolstering your efforts to “get rid” of overwhelmed feelings might actually make them worse.

    The first step to help when you feel overwhelmed is to simply slow down and breathe. This does not mean that you should suddenly take in huge gulps of air or breathe rapidly. That will send you into panic!

    Breathe normally and naturally. Make your breath comfortably slow, extending the exhale. Count 5 to 10 breaths.

    2. Get a Little Curious

    Ask yourself: How do I know I’m overwhelmed? Close your eyes or soften your gaze if you are able. Imagine shifting your awareness from your outside world and sending it into your body along with your breath.

    You might notice the signals right away. For example: My chest is tight, my heart is beating rapidly and there’s a sense of frustrated energy in my legs and arms. Or you might just hear some words like: I’m freaking out, failing or cannot do it!

    If it’s possible, get a little curious about this sensation. Consider that while it may be a big feeling, you probably have other parts of you that feel differently.

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    3. Offer Some Loving Care to Stressed-Out Parts of You

    Richard Schwartz, developer of Internal Family Systems Therapy defines our personalities as made up of sub-parts that interact within us. This explains why a “part” of you can feel one way and yet, you have another part that feels differently.[1]

    Gently acknowledging the part of you that feels overwhelmed and offering it some support and compassion (as you would a frightened child) can soothe your body and mind. “I’ve got you,” is a great mantra to breathe in when you’re overwhelmed.

    4. Get Smart About Your Wise Nervous System

    You may have heard of the “gut” brain or “body” brain. The science of Polyvagal Theory shows that the entire nervous system impacts how you think and feel – not just your thinking mind.

    In fact, did you know that your wise nervous system generally picks up information from your environment before your brain can interpret it?[2]

    When you feel overwhelmed, just one tiny cue of “danger” felt in your nervous system is often the unconscious trigger that tips you from busy but competent to feeling freaked out and exhausted.

    This cue could be as simple as a song on the radio that feels overly-stimulating, a child’s bad mood (even if it has nothing to do with you) or your spouse forgetting an unimportant errand.

    5. Remind Yourself That a Feeling Can Just Be a Feeling

    When you’re feeling agitated, your physical body is naturally on high alert. Any information or stimulation you receive at these times will feel overwhelming.

    This is not your fault, but it is helpful to understand that usually, when you feel like you’re not good enough, it is not objectively true. Your mind may just be creating a reason for the signals of danger coming from your body.

    Allow your body to feel without making a negative judgement about yourself or your life. This technique will help you break the cycle of feeling overwhelmed, then creating negative thought about the feeling resulting in overwhelming yourself even more.

    6. Learn Your Most Common Unconscious Responses to Stress

    Why is this important? When you feel stressed, you probably respond unconsciously in the same ways throughout your life.

    For some, too much stress will quickly create a numb, hopeless sensation. For others, the thought that life is just “too much” leads to bouts of panic or anger. Still, others might freeze completely, feeling highly anxious but not able to do much at all.

    From a biological perspective, all of these experiences are pretty normal. When you recognize that your body’s reactions are not faulty or foolish, it’s much easier to reassure yourself and move forward confidently.

    7. Exercise the Part of Your Nervous System That Provides Wellbeing and Social Connection

    Did you know that you can actually tone your ventral vagal nerve, the nerve responsible for feelings of safety and social connection?[3]

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    As often as you are able, allow yourself to linger on your favorite memories that invoke feelings of wellbeing, connection to loved ones, times of beauty in nature or your favorite memories of pets or places. Use all of your sense to really feel the experience in your body.

    By doing this, you’re activating and toning your ventral vagus nerve as you might tone your muscles. Make a kind of “body bookmark” of these purely content sensations to which you can return when stressed.

    This practice may feel silly, like an indulgence or even a fantasy. But it is supported by science and is important for you to create a strong and healthy response to stressors.

    8. Give Baby Parts a Break

    No part of you is trying to hurt you. But parts of us do feel extreme feelings and carry burdens from our past.

    For example, if you are feeling overworked in the present, it may activate parts of your personality that felt similarly earlier in life. Deep anger, fear, resentment or sadness provide a signal to you that something from your past could benefit from your attention.

    I know this may sound strange, but the next time you feel very overwhelmed, take a breath and notice if you feel like a child trying to do an adult’s job. If so, spend a moment calmly and compassionately reminding all of your inner child parts that you are indeed grown, capable and doing something appropriate.

    9. Address Critical Messages You Give Yourself

    What do you hear yourself saying to yourself when you feel overwhelmed? You may notice parts of you that sound critical or even cruel.

    Statements like “I’ll never catch up,” “Why do I try,” or “I can’t do anything right,” are very common to hear when you’re under stress. Believe it or not, these inner messages are likely misguided protective parts of your personality.

    These parts are normal and try to help you by “whipping you into shape” so you won’t fail, alerting you about scared feelings inside, or avoiding shock or disappointment by anticipating how others might criticize you.

    If it’s possible, acknowledge these parts as protective. Maybe express a bit of gratitude. Notice how the critical voices inside you, even though they likely mean well, cause exhaustion and even more stress.

    When you acknowledge these messages inside, letting them know they are part of you and you see their positive intention, the critical messages calm.

    10. Take Small Moments to Express Gratitude

    Everyone is talking about gratitude, I know. But there are good reasons for this trend.

    More and more studies about gratitude show valid connections between gratitude and lowered stress and mental health. A 2018 multi-university research study concluded that gratitude not only has direct effects on quality of life, but also has indirect effects through perceived stress and mental health.[4]

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    There are many reasons that gratitude impacts our nervous systems in positive ways, but the best way to discover this impact is to simply try it yourself.

    Take a minute each day to write down one to three things for which you feel grateful. These can be large or small, important or trivial, but they must be true. Make this a habit and watch your stress-relief grow.

    Or you can try some of these 40 Simple Ways To Practice Gratitude.

    11. Play with Time

    In Gay Hendrick’s 2010 book The Big Leap, he talks about the concept of Einstein time vs. Newtonian time.

    Newtonian time is the clock time we all watch all day. Einstein time is more about what you make with your moments, realizing that your perception can slow or speed time up.

    For example, if you are spending time with someone you love and doing something you enjoy, time moves very quickly. Conversely, if you are doing a miserable job in uncomfortable weather, each second can feel like an eternity.

    The next time you feel stressed for time, take a slow breath and remind yourself that you make time. Time belongs to you. Then, enjoy the pace and do what you need to do. With practice, this little tool will become valuable for overcoming the mental pressure of time.

    12. Don’t Be Tricked by Perfection

    When you’re in the thick of raising children and working, sometimes nervous energy presents as perfectionism. In an effort to feel in control, you may make arbitrary but unreasonable goals for yourself that feel like they are necessary or true.

    Make a quick inventory of every job you are expecting of yourself and your family. Now question it all. What is really important and what is just preferable? What jobs can be left to someone else’s discretion, done well-enough by the children or dropped completely?

    Keep any jobs that give you joy and do them joyfully. Let go of jobs that feel like standards or expectations with little or no payoff. Save them for retirement if you like.

    13. Give Yourself Credit for Quality Time with Your Kids

    Think of the time you spend relaxing with and enjoying your children as a $100,000 per hour job. Very small amounts are still incredibly valuable.

    Showing your children that they are important is just as likely to happen in a ten-minute game of catch as in a whole day at the water park. A shared snack time, a book before bed, a half hour away from your phone to allow loving eye contact with your babes adds up to a lifetime of security and wonderful memories.

    Imagine your child someday saying, “Mom worked hard, but she always had time to hug me, to hear about my day, and to offer me guidance. I always knew that I mattered to her.”

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    14. Meditate for One Minute a Day

    Yes, you may do more. But if you can’t afford any more than one minute, go ahead and sit comfortably, breathe and be in your body for this time. It’s such a simple but powerful exercise and the kids can do it too.

    While you meditate, notice your loving heart. What does it need from you today — patience, compassion, creativity, caring, play? Remember to show up for yourself and you will show up for your work and your family as well.

    15. Guard and Celebrate Sleep

    From tinies to teens, there are many unavoidable reasons that kids interrupt your sleep.

    Here’s the thing: Unexpected sleeplessness due to childhood growth or illness is normal and not easy to control. If you are feeling overwhelmed, though, sleep is crucial.

    There are two things you can do to improve your mindset toward sleep so that you set yourself up for confidence rather than collapse.

    One, prioritize and protect your sleep time. If you tend to wait until the kids go to sleep to complete work or finally relax, that’s okay. But don’t let these activities cut into your sleep time.

    Given the choice between another load of laundry, Words With Friends, binge watching Game of Thrones or eight hours of sleep, consistently choose sleep.

    Two, appreciate and express gratitude for any sleep you get. Sometimes, it’s impossible to get seven or eight hours of sleep. However, allow yourself to enjoy any time when you are laying in a comfy space allowing your body to rest and repair.

    When you wake up saying “I didn’t get enough sleep last night,” you put your mind on alert that there is something lacking. This thinking alone can trigger feelings of overwhelm.

    Set your nervous system up for success by appreciating any amount of rest.

    Final Thoughts

    Life as a working mom is not an easy one. Overwhelmed feelings are natural and normal but, they can take over and cause chronic stress and dissatisfaction.

    Allow yourself just a few moments a day to reorganize your thoughts and feelings using the steps above. You’ll soon discover your calm and capable self.

    Take a lesson from your growing children: small changes create big results now and in the future.

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    Featured photo credit: Bruno Nascimento via unsplash.com

    Reference

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