31 weeks pregnant: advice, symptoms, and what to expect

by Deborah Cicurel |
Updated on

At thirty-one weeks pregnant, your bump is visibly moving and you may be feeling hot under the collar. Here’s everything else you need to know about your baby and your body at thirty-one weeks pregnant.

How big is my baby at 31 weeks?

Your baby now measures over 16 inches long and weighs about three and a third pounds, and is well on their way towards a growth spurt. They are about the size of a coconut and growing steadily.

What’s my baby doing at 31 weeks?

Your foetus is more baby-like than ever: They can turn their head from side to side and they are moving a lot, to the extent they may be keeping you up at night. They are also extremely lively – wriggling, stretching, and kicking so much now that you might even see your bump move, especially when you’re relaxing in the bath. However, there are more defined patterns of movement and rest, as a result of your baby sleeping for longer stretches of time.

There’s also plenty of fat accumulating under their skin, helping their arms, legs, and body plump up. Your baby’s digestive system, liver, kidneys, and pancreas are functioning.

Your baby’s brain is also working at the speed of light, developing faster than ever, and making tons of connections between individual nerve cells. They can now perceive signals from all their senses, although obviously, they won’t be able to smell anything until they leave the amniotic fluid that has been their home and breathes their first gulp of fresh air.

In the meantime, just as you’re preparing your home for your new arrival, your baby is practising for life in the outside world, making faces, breathing, swallowing, hiccuping, and even sucking their thumb.


Common symptoms to look out for at 31 weeks pregnant

Headaches1 of 6

1) Headaches

It’s those pesky hormones again that might cause you to have headaches, as well as pregnancy fatigue. To get rid of migraines or tension headaches, take 15 minutes to lie in a quiet, dark room, or put an icepack on your forehead or the back of your neck while you relax. Don’t take any medication before checking with your doctor first.

Frequent urination 2 of 6

2) Frequent urination

Your bladder's is over crowded and being pressed on. The best thing to do is plan bathroom breaks around your activities.

Shortness of breath 3 of 6

3) Shortness of breath

Finding it hard to catch your breath? Yup, it’s pregnancy’s fault again. As your uterus pushes on your internal organs, your lungs feel crowded and it’s harder for them to expand fully, meaning you might experience an unpleasant or uncomfortable feeling of shortness of breath. This may improve towards the end of your pregnancy, when your baby drops lower in preparation for delivery. Sleeping on your side may give your lungs more space to breathe in the meantime.

Backaches4 of 6

4) Backaches

Your growing belly can impact your back, as it will have to curve to accommodate the new weight. Try to attend some prenatal yoga classes to protect your back and relax your mind.

Leaky Boobs5 of 6

5) Leaky Boobs

You will notice a yellow liquid coming from your boobs. This is the first part of the babies food, called colostrum. Your body’s getting it ready for your baby to be born.

Braxton Hicks Contractions6 of 6

6) Braxton Hicks Contractions

Braxton-Hicks contractions are contractions of the uterus. They tend to be more frequent during the  third trimester of pregnancy. They are absolutely normal and they happen in preparation for the uterus to give birth. To ease these contractions you must drink plenty of fluids and change position often. These should be quite random, won’t hurt and can last around 30 seconds. 

However, if they’re frequent contractions, say more than four in an hour (even if they’re not painful), you notice a change in your discharge (for example, if they're more watery, contain more mucus or are bloody in any way), suffer from cramping, abdominal pain or an increase in pelvic pressure or lower back pain, call your GP or midwife, as these could be signs of premature labour.

What is my body doing at 31 weeks?

Been feeling a lot clammier recently? Well, due to your increased blood flow, your body sweats more as a way of cooling you down. Nice! Make sure you keep well hydrated with lots of cold water.

If you feel numbness or pins and needles in your fingers, especially your thumb and first two fingers, this is Carpal Tunnel Syndrome. It’s a result of fluid retention in your carpal tunnel – which is a structure in your wrist housing your nerves, tendons and ligaments.

You’re due for another antenatal appointment around now, too, so bring up any issues, worries or questions with your midwife.

What to do this week:

  • Think about the birth plan: Start thinking about pain medication during labour. You don’t have to decide yet, but it’s good to be prepared and understand all the options, whether you know you want pain relief, you’re sure you don’t, or you’re happy to wait and see how you feel on the day. You could sign up for a childbirth education class with your partner, where you can learn all about medical pain relief such as epidurals, as well as drug-free approaches such as breathing techniques.

  • Start packing! You should also start thinking about what to pack in your hospital bag. Preparing in advance means all you have to do is leave the bag by the door, and if your baby arrives earlier than expected, you’ll have one less thing to worry about when rushing to the hospital! Luckily for you, we've got a handy downloadable list for you to tick off here.

Just so you know, whilst we may receive a commission or other compensation from the links on this website, we never allow this to influence product selections - read why you should trust us
How we write our articles and reviews
Mother & Baby is dedicated to ensuring our information is always valuable and trustworthy, which is why we only use reputable resources such as the NHS, reviewed medical papers, or the advice of a credible doctor, GP, midwife, psychotherapist, gynaecologist or other medical professionals. Where possible, our articles are medically reviewed or contain expert advice. Our writers are all kept up to date on the latest safety advice for all the products we recommend and follow strict reporting guidelines to ensure our content comes from credible sources. Remember to always consult a medical professional if you have any worries. Our articles are not intended to replace professional advice from your GP or midwife.