Fetal development in pregnancy week 31:
Your baby now weighs about 3.3 pounds and measures about 17 inches. Growth will begin to slow down now, but the average weight of babies at birth is around 7 pounds.
Baby is opening and closing their eyes this week. A brain scan would show that your baby is probably having dreams now. Lungs are quickly developing now, getting ready for full time work after birth. White fat is now being deposited beneath the skin, which helps make baby’s skin look pink.
By now you should be seeing your health practitioner every two weeks. Your doctor or midwife will be checking your blood pressure and any swelling in your arms and legs, measuring the baby, asking you about how the baby is moving around and keeping close tabs on you and the baby in general. They’ll start paying attention to what position the baby is in now, as the birth gets closer. About 96% of babies born are born head first. The rest are born breech with the buttocks or feet coming first. Having a breech birth does not mean an automatic cesarean section, but be sure and talk with your doctor or midwife if you are concerned. It’s probably time for you to remove your rings, if you have not already done so, because with swelling it can become very hard to remove these later.
During pregnancy week 31 and beyond you may become more aware of your breasts. Some women leak colostrums in the last trimester of pregnancy. This is the pre milk that forms in your breasts to nourish and protect your baby in the first few days of life. Colostrum varies in color from clearly to orange or even yellow at times. Some women never notice colostrum until right before delivery while others leak frequently. Fortunately a good breast pad can prevent embarrassing leaks from making their presence known to others.
Colostrum is particularly beneficial for babies born prematurely. Packed full of important antibodies, colostrum helps boost your baby’s immune system and protects your baby against early infections that can occur during the first weeks of your baby’s life.
By about this time you may be thinking more and more about your impending delivery. Delivery comes with many choices and many options. Some women will prefer a natural delivery while others will have an induction or a cesarean section. Of increasing interest of late are patient choice cesarean delivery at term. This is sometimes also referred to as a cesarean delivery at maternal request. This is an often controversial health care subject. Many women feel that the risks of a vaginal birth often outweigh those associated with cesarean delivery, thus they choose a cesarean delivery. It is their right to do so.
Women should know they can actively participate in the decision making process during their pregnancy. This includes working with their healthcare provider to decide the best method of delivery for their baby. Physician’s work intimately with patients to assure the best outcome for the mother and their baby, and at times this may mean a cesarean delivery is necessary.
If you are planning on giving birth in a hospital or birth center, you might want to plan your route there. Don’t forget to plan for traffic, special parades, having gas and even car keys.
Want to know the one thing all moms have in common? They are hot… no, we aren’t referring to the fact that moms look good (even though all pregnant women are gorgeous!). We are referring to the fact that most moms feel very hot while pregnant because their body temperature is higher than normal. If this feels like you, then consider adding maternity shorts to your wardrobe. If you are expecting, there is no reason you can’t wear Maternity Shorts from Destination Maternity all year round, particularly if that is what it takes to keep you cool and comfortable. So what are you waiting for?
Pregnancy Health Tips
As you approach labor and delivery, you are probably starting to think about the method of delivery you will endure. While some women prefer to have a natural delivery, others prefer an induction or even a planned cesarean section.
Cesarean delivery on maternal request, is a new and controversial women’s health care topic. Some women feel that the risks of a vaginal birth may outweigh the risks of a cesarean delivery, thus they would rather opt for a cesarean. Can a woman choose to have a cesarean delivery? The answer is… YES.
As an informed mother, you have the right to assume the risks associated with cesarean delivery for the well being of your unborn child.
Women’s health care rights are evolving and the definitions are changing. It is important that pregnant women actively participate in the decision making process during their pregnancy. This includes deciding the best route of delivery for their unborn baby. More and more physicians are accepting a woman’s right to be involved in her healthcare and delivery decisions. In times of old, physicians bore the burden of making the majority of decisions related to their patient’s health. However, more and more physicians are working intimately with patients to provide them with the information and resources they need to make sensible and safe decisions for themselves and their families.
If you do consider an elective cesarean delivery, make sure you discuss this option with your health care provider. There are many risks associated with a cesarean delivery. In some cases, it may be in your best interests to deliver vaginally. In others, you may benefit from delivering via cesarean section. Your healthcare provider can work with you to make this determination.
Some women consider the risks of cesarean more troublesome than the risks of a vaginal birth. All in all, it is important that the facts are explained to you, including the risks and benefits of a cesarean versus a natural delivery. You should know that the concept of maternal requests for a cesarean delivery is still a highly controversial and an emotionally charged issue. In many instances, your healthcare provider may decline your request. If you feel strongly regarding your decision, your healthcare provider can always refer you to another provider that is comfortable with the decision you have made.
About 10% of twins will be born by this point, 30% of triplets, compared to 1% of singletons.