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Pregnancy Week 31

Pregnancy Week 31: Your Baby’s Lungs Mature and You Prepare for Labor

As you enter the third trimester of your pregnancy, your baby continues to grow and develop rapidly. At 31 weeks pregnant, your baby is about the size of a coconut and weighs around 3 pounds.

Your Baby’s Development at Week 31

  • Lungs: Your baby’s lungs are now fully formed and producing surfactant, a substance that helps keep the alveoli (air sacs) open. This is essential for breathing after birth.
  • Brain: Your baby’s brain is growing rapidly and becoming more complex. They can now recognize your voice and respond to external stimuli.
  • Bones: Your baby’s bones are hardening, but they are still soft and flexible. This allows them to move through the birth canal during labor.
  • Movement: Your baby is very active at this stage and you may feel them kicking, punching, and rolling around.
  • Eyes: Your baby’s eyes are now open and they can blink and focus. They may even be able to distinguish between light and dark.

Your Body at Week 31

  • Weight gain: You may have gained around 20-25 pounds by now.
  • Belly: Your belly is now very large and you may have difficulty sleeping and getting comfortable.
  • Breasts: Your breasts are preparing for breastfeeding and you may notice colostrum leaking from your nipples.
  • Varicose veins: You may develop varicose veins in your legs and feet due to increased blood flow.
  • Constipation: Constipation is common during pregnancy due to hormonal changes and pressure on your digestive system.
  • Hemorrhoids: Hemorrhoids, swollen veins in the rectum, can also occur during pregnancy.
  • Frequent urination: You may need to urinate more frequently as your uterus grows and puts pressure on your bladder.

Preparing for Labor

  • Prenatal classes: Consider taking prenatal classes to learn about labor, delivery, and newborn care.
  • Birth plan: Create a birth plan that outlines your preferences for labor and delivery.
  • Hospital bag: Pack a hospital bag with essential items for you and your baby.
  • Pelvic exams: Your doctor will perform pelvic exams to check your cervix for dilation and effacement.
  • Cervical ripening: If your cervix is not yet dilated or effaced, your doctor may recommend cervical ripening methods to prepare your body for labor.

Common Concerns at Week 31

  • Preeclampsia: This is a condition characterized by high blood pressure and protein in the urine. It can be dangerous for both you and your baby.
  • Gestational diabetes: This is a type of diabetes that develops during pregnancy. It can cause high blood sugar levels that can harm your baby.
  • Preterm labor: Labor that begins before 37 weeks of pregnancy is considered preterm. It can lead to complications for your baby.
  • Placental abruption: This is a condition in which the placenta separates from the uterus before delivery. It can be life-threatening for both you and your baby.

Tips for a Healthy Pregnancy at Week 31

  • Eat a healthy diet: Focus on consuming plenty of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean protein.
  • Stay hydrated: Drink plenty of fluids, especially water.
  • Get regular exercise: Exercise helps keep you healthy and can reduce pregnancy-related discomfort.
  • Get enough sleep: Aim for 7-9 hours of sleep each night.
  • Manage stress: Stress can affect your pregnancy, so find healthy ways to manage it.
  • Listen to your body: Pay attention to your body and rest when you need to.
  • Attend prenatal appointments: Regular prenatal appointments are essential for monitoring your health and your baby’s development.


Week 31 of pregnancy is an exciting time as your baby continues to grow and develop. By preparing for labor and taking care of your health, you can help ensure a smooth and healthy pregnancy and delivery.

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