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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 October 19, 2018

    The Most Critical Do’s and Don’ts of Working Out While Pregnant

    The Most Critical Do’s and Don’ts of Working Out While Pregnant

    Are you scared of working out whilst pregnant? Or simply not sure how to proceed? Everything seems slightly more daunting once you’re carrying and creating a whole other person.

    In this article I will give you specific advice, tips and strategies for working out while pregnant. Ensuring that you, and your baby, are safe. Not only that but you will both benefit.

    Benefits of Working Out While Pregnant

    It is clear that everyone, not just you but your baby, and probably your partner and other kids will benefit from you working out while pregnant. If you’re sleeping better and feel less stress, you can guarantee everyone in the household is going to feel better.

    How you benefit from working out while pregnant:

    • Reduced incidence of lower back pain
    • 30% reduction in the risk of gestational diabetes
    • Reduced likelihood of unplanned cesarian
    • Lower incidence and reduce severity of depression
    • Less pregnancy weight gain
    • Lower risk of urinary incontiennce
    • Reduced pregnancy constipation
    • Less pregnancy tiredness
    • May have a shorter labour

    How your baby benefits from working out while pregnant:

    • A healthier heart
    • Normal birth weight
    • Quicker neurological development
    • Reduced risk of respiratory distress syndrome (for infants of high-risk women)
    • Less maternal stress could reduce impact on immune system development

    Instant Big-Rocks for Working out While Pregnant

    Before we get cracking into what really will benefit, here are some instant ‘big-rocks’ when it comes to working out while pregnant.

    Safety first: Check with your midwife

    Each person and pregnancy is individual – and as I”m not speaking to you in person, the first pre-qualifier is that you check with your doctor that you’re ok to work out while pregnant. In certain circumstances, it is not recommended due to potential complications arising from exercise.

    If you’re new to exercising or have just fallen pregnant do check with your GP or midwife before commencing or recommencing your exercise program.

    Exercise Check In Second – No lying Flat or Crunches

    Crunches are a whole other issue in regards to pre and post natal training that I’ll get into during another article.

    For now, know that lying flat on your back puts pressure on your body, especially after 16 weeks. The weight of your bump pressing on certain blood vessels can reduce cardiac output, make you feel dizzy and affect the flow of blood that carries nutrients and oxygen to your baby.

    While this means traditional stomach crunches are out, you can and should still include core and pelvic floor strengthening exercises in your routine. These I’ll get to later in the article.

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    Third Intensity Check In – No High Intensity Workouts

    When it comes to exercise intensity, it is best to abide by the guideline “to be able to comfortably hold a conversation” whilst working out. Unless you are an athlete and extremely used to very high heart rates whilst you workout, keeping your rate of perceived exertion to a 7 out of 10 is best practice.

    Experts agree that you should avoid undertaking activities that will raise your core temperature by more than 2°C – or above 38.9°C. This is because such a temperature change may result in hyperthermia (the opposite of hypothermia). Hyperthermia during pregnancy has been linked to a twofold increase in the risk of birth defects impacting the spine or brain.

    As such, it is not advisable to use hot tubs or spas during pregnancy, and hot yoga should be avoided as well as parking in only moderate intensity exercise.

    Final & Fourth Point – No high contact/dangerous sports

    For obvious reasons, contact sports or sports in which it’s likely you can fall or have an accident should be avoided.

    For example scuba diving while pregnant should be avoided as your baby will have no protection against decompression sickness (‘the bends’) or gas embolism – bubbles in the bloodstream that can cut off blood supply or cause breathing difficulties.

    Similarly, horse riding, climbing, cycling, gymnastics and other activities that require extreme balance are best avoided as your centre of gravity shifts and affects your balance.

    Certainly, sports like kick boxing, jujitsu or rugby in which contact is prevalent should be avoided for bump protection.

    Actual Workouts You Can Do While Pregnant

    1. Let your personal trainer or group exercise instructor know that you’re pregnant

    In doing so they can assist you in providing expert advice or refer you to a qualified practitioner in your area. If you’re unsure ask your GP or Midwife for a referral.

    2. Use your breath to engage your core and pelvic floor throughout your workout programs

    Your breath plays a big part in controlled core to assist with labour and reduce back pain. We each take thousands of breaths per day, as as your baby grows pressure is placed upon the lungs and pelvic floor.

    Preparing and practicing proper breath ensures that your core remains as integrated and activated as possible throughout and after your pregnancy.

    3. Find a Holistic Core Restore Coach

    The reason the Holistic Core Restore® programmes are more effective than performing keels or traditional abdominal exercise alone for true core restore and pelvic floor activation. A Hollisitc Core Restore Coach will work with you to integrate your core and pelvic floor with your whole body through a series of movements and lifestyle factors.

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    4. Join a Pre & Post Natal Class

    Join a Pre & Post Natal Class in order to move in specific ways designed to boost your health and recovery post birth.

    This not only provides you with a chance to connect with other pre & post natal women in your area to and create a community; but also provides you access to pre & post natal experts who can give you tailored advice for exercising whilst pregnant.

    5. Focus on strengthening the glute muscles

    Focus on strengthening the glute muscles to counteract the anterior tilt produced by your expanding bump.

    Most people will simply focus on keeping the core engaged and active to help the ‘pre-mummy-tummy’ bounce back. When in actual fact the synergist muscle to the core for pelvic stability is the butt.

    Really focus on strengthening the glute muscles in order to support the core, posture and back.

    Hinge movements such as single leg romanian deadlifts are a brilliant way to do so. You can do this holding a Kettlebell or Dumbell but also, once the bump is big enough just using your bodyweight.

    6. Enjoy swimming

    Enjoy swimming, especially in your third trimester, to remove weight and boost lymphatic drainage of your feet and ankles.

    It’s well known that your ankles swell during the last months of pregnancy. This is due to the changes in posture from the weight of the stomach pulling down towards the floor.

    Consequently, this causes the front of the hip to become compressed. And this in turn reduces circulation of the lymphatic fluid in the lower body.

    One way to improve this circulation is to get into water as the pressure from the water removes the weight of the bump whilst providing pressure to the legs improving circulation.

    7. Bring layers to your workouts

    Bring layers to your workouts so that you can add and remove layers as you warm up and cool down.

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    As previously mentioned, changes in body temperature can be dangerous for the baby – using layers so that you can keep your temperature constant is one the the most simple and best things you can do whilst working out while pregnant.

    8. Practice the 7 fundamental primal movement patterns in your workouts

    Practice the 7 fundamental primal movement patterns in your workouts – squat, lunge, anti-rotate, push, carry, hinge, pull.

    “We love pregnant mamas to be regularly training their squats, since a low squat is the ideal position for working through contractions and pushing during labor.”

    They also improve pelvic floor strength and elasticity to help prevent tearing during the natural labor process and teach abdominal strength relative to hip mobility for an easier labor and faster postnatal recovery.

    Kiberd and her team prefer front squats done with at least a 12-kilogram kettlebell held at the chest. (Choose an appropriate weight for your level.)

    “The kettlebell gives great feedback to the muscles that need to engage to stand you back up and to stabilize your weight while you’re down in the squat,” she explains.

    And once the bump gets big? “No weight on the front is needed,” she says. “The belly is that natural weight.”

    9. Do exercise that your enjoy

    Because really if you’re enjoying it so will bump and you’ll feel less stressed.

    Do not making working out while pregnant a chore – if it becomes that way, seek advice from an expert in your gym or area on some new varied things that you can try.

    10. Practice anti-rotation exercises

    Practice anti-rotation exercises whilst focussing on the breath for core integration and activation.

    The Palloff press (a core stabilizer done on a cable machine) and the bear crawls offer the same degree of effectiveness.

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    “These two exercises engage the external and internal obliques, which are involved in stabilizing the torso in rotation and help stabilize the shoulders down and back.”

    11. Make sure to wind down properly

    Cooling down slowly after your workouts and providing a little leeway time before your next appointment will reduce your stress levels and help you feel more balanced.

    It will also stop sharp changes in body temperature that are non-beneficial to your baby.

    Take your time and enjoy each session for what it is.

    The Bottom Line

    You will have to make fitness modifications as your body changes, but deep down, you know that’s ok. Dr Dawn Harper says

    “We’re now seeing evidence that exercising in pregnancy may be one of the best things you can do for your baby’s future health. Pregnancy exercise can have a huge impact on your personal experience of pregnancy, too. Provided you follow the expert guidelines, it’s safe for most women to continue and even start exercising in pregnancy. Just make sure you check with your midwife or doctor first, in case there are any specific medical reasons why you should avoid being physically active in pregnancy.”

    There are certain things that are essential. The first being to check with your Dr/Midwife to be given the ‘OK’ to exercise.

    There are definite ‘no-nos’ such as abstaining from contact or dangerous sports as well as performing extreme high intensity workouts that bring your heart rate and temperature very, abnormally high for you. It is also contraindicated that you perform any exercises lying on your back.

    The exciting thing is that you can and should exercise. You simply have to adapt to what is possible by seeking advice of a local pre & post natal expert. If you take one sentence away let it be this:

    Focus upon your breath, workout at a 7/10 level, strengthen your glutes and perform whole body integrated exercises preferentially led by a pre & post natal expert.

    And finally, if in doubt, get in the pool for some weight off your feet and relax!

    References

    1. Pennick V, Liddle SD. Interventions for preventing and treating pelvic and back pain in pregnancy. Cochrane Database Syst Rev 2013(CD0011):1-100.
    2. Sanabria‐Martínez G et al. Effectiveness of physical activity interventions on preventing gestational diabetes mellitus and excessive maternal weight gain: a meta‐analysis. BJOG 2015;122(9):1167-74.
    3. Price BB et al. Exercise in pregnancy: effect on fitness and obstetric outcomes-a randomized trial. Med Sci Sports Exerc 2012;44(12):2263-9.
    4. Domenjoz I et al. Effect of physical activity during pregnancy on mode of delivery. Am J Obstet Gynecol 2014;211(4):401.e1-e11.
    5. Gaston A, Prapavessis H. Tired, moody and pregnant? Exercise may be the answer. Psychol Health 2013;28(12):1353-69.
    6. Robledo-Colonia AF et al. Aerobic exercise training during pregnancy reduces depressive symptoms in nulliparous women: a randomised trial. J Physiother 2012;58(1):9-15.
    7. Perales M et al. Benefits of aerobic or resistance training during pregnancy on maternal health and perinatal outcomes: A systematic review. Early Hum Dev 2016;94:43-8..
    8. Shi W et al. Epidemiology and risk factors of functional constipation in pregnant women. PloS one 2015;10(7):e0133521
    9. Gaston A, Prapavessis H. Tired, moody and pregnant? Exercise may be the answer. Psychol Health 2013;28(12):1353-69.
    10. Barakata et al. Exercise during pregnancy is associated with a shorter duration of labor. A randomized clinical trial 2018, 224 33-40
    11. May LE et al. Aerobic exercise during pregnancy influences fetal cardiac autonomic control of heart rate and heart rate variability. Early Hum Dev 2010;86(4):213-7.
    12. Bisson M et al. Physical activity volumes during pregnancy: A systematic review and meta-analysis of observational studies assessing the association with infant’s birth weight. AJP Reports 2016;6(02):e170-e97.
    13. Labonte-Lemoyne E et al. Exercise during pregnancy enhances cerebral maturation in the newborn: A randomized controlled trial. J Clin Exp Neuropsychol 2016:1-8.
    14. Muktabhant B et al. Diet or exercise, or both, for preventing excessive weight gain in pregnancy. Cochrane Database Syst Rev 2015 Jun 15;(6):CD007145.
    15. Marques AH, Bjorke-Monsen AL, Teixeira AL, Silverman MN. Maternal stress, nutrition and physical activity: impact on immune function, CNS development and psychopathology. Brain Research. 2015;1617:28–46

    Featured photo credit: Jernej Graj via unsplash.com

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