Your pregnancy: 31 weeks

Your baby has been able to open her eyes in utero; now she can also distinguish light from dark.

Today’s Parent August 7, 2017

Felt tub of ice cream used to show how big baby is at 31 weeks pregnant

Photo: Mandy Milks, Erik Putz, Anthony Swaneveld. Felt: thefeltstore.com

31 weeks pregnant: What’s going on in there

This week is so sweet—and not just because your little one is now the size of a tub of ice cream: about 41 centimetres ( 16.2 inches long) and 1.5 kilograms (3.3 pounds). While you’re probably getting a little uncomfortable carrying all that extra weight around, your baby is getting cuter by the second: Her bones have nearly reached their full length, her skin isn’t so translucent anymore, and she is developing creases in her hands and wrists. Around 31 weeks pregnant, the irises in your baby’s eyes are forming and can react to light that reaches the uterus. She is getting stronger, too, so be prepared for her to be more active this week—especially since she isn’t out of room (or womb!) just yet. It will probably feel like she’s doing Zumba in there as she stretches and exercises her limbs. ( Apologize to your bladder in advance!)

31 weeks pregnant symptoms

Protruding navel
If it hasn’t happened already, it’s coming (unless you’re lucky to have a very shallow or very deep belly button). The pressure of your expanding uterus on your abdominal wall will cause the protrusion of your umbilicus, the anatomical term for your belly button. (It will return to its pre-pregnancy state, albeit probably a bit saggier, after delivery.) Steel yourself for turkey-timer jokes because they’re pretty much guaranteed. If the arrival of your popped-out belly button bothers you, you can put a heavy-duty Band-Aid over it to lessen its appearance, but for the record, we think it’s adorable.

Heart palpitations
And we don’t mean just when you’re thinking about labour. Heart palpitations—when you’re acutely aware of a racing heart or your heart skipping a beat—are fairly common in late pregnancy. They are your body’s reaction to changes in circulation, to carrying around a bulge the size of a bowling ball and, sometimes, to a mother’s anxiety about the life changes ahead. Take a break and do some deep breathing until you feel your ticker stabilize, but get in touch with your doctor if the palpitations are accompanied by chest pain or shortness of breath or if you’re concerned that they’re happening too often.

What’s on your mind when you’re 31 weeks pregnant

Antenatal anxiety
With a looming life change ahead, some mom-to-be worries are to be expected (NBD, you’ll just be completely responsible for another human being!). But for some expectant mamas, this anxiety crosses the line. If you find yourself sapped of the joy of pregnancy (or if you never had it to begin with) and you’re spending too much time dwelling on the what-if scenarios of pregnancy and childbirth, it’s time to talk to your doc. You can find more on antenatal (also referred to as prenatal) anxiety here, including symptoms and strategies for coping.

Sex and the pregnant girl
We’ve all heard the stories about women who have gone into labour after a good romp between the sheets. But fear not: An orgasm won’t kick-start premature labour. Even at full term, sex will only help get things going if they’re going to happen soon anyway. That said, don’t be surprised if you experience Braxton Hicks after intercourse because the oxytocin released during sexual arousal can cause the uterus to contract. For more on sex during pregnancy, go here .

One word of warning: If you experience any signs of premature labour or suspect that your water has broken, it’s best to avoid sex until your doctor has checked you over and given you the go-ahead.

Just for kicks

Forward this link to whichever well-meaning friend or relative is hosting your baby shower. No gross “what’s in the diaper?” squished chocolate-bar games for you, lady. Here are some baby shower games that won’t make you cringe.

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