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Week 31

This might be hard to believe, but you are almost there!

You're very unlikely to go beyond another 9 or 10 weeks. You could have your baby in just 6 weeks, which would not be considered early.

What's happening in my body?

Your baby and bump are still growing.

In a couple of weeks, you will both go through a final growth spurt. Your baby still has lots of fattening up to do before the big day arrives.

If this is your first baby, then your midwife or doctor will probably check the size of your uterus (womb). This can be estimated by measuring up your stomach, from the top of your pubic bone to the top of your bump.

They will also gently feel your belly to work out which way up your baby is positioned. Some babies will be head down, ready for birth.

You may have felt your baby move into place and seen your bump shift downwards.

If your baby is head up, there's still time for them to get into position. Some babies will not move down into the pelvis ("engage") until labour starts.

If your baby stays head up, in the "breech" position, that could affect the type of birth you are able to have.

In some cases, if the baby is in an awkward position, or the placenta is blocking their way down, then your midwife or doctor might recommend a caesarean. You can talk to them about the risks and benefits before you make a decision.

Feeding: breast or bottle

Have you thought about how you would like to feed your baby?

Breastfeeding is great for your baby because:

  • breast milk contains antibodies that help your baby fight infections
  • your baby is less likely to get stomach bugs and develop breathing problems
  • it's available whenever your baby needs it

Find out more about breastfeeding.

However, not everyone is able to breastfeed. There may be health reasons why you can't – for example, if you are taking medication that could go into your breast milk, or if you're recovering from surgery.

You can still get your baby off to a great start by feeding with formula and lots of cuddles. Get advice about bottle feeding on the NHS website.

Right now, your baby will be practising sucking, which is a vital skill for feeding.

Baby sling safety

Many parents use a sling or baby carrier instead of a pram to keep their baby close to them.

If you decide to use a sling, make sure you know how to use it safely, as a small number of deaths from suffocation have been linked to slings.

The Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA) advises the safest slings are the ones that hold your baby solidly against your body, in an upright position.

Make sure you can see your baby, that their face is not restricted, and their airways are always clear.

The "Ticks" rule to keep your baby safe when wearing a sling or carrier is:

  • T – tight
  • I – in view at all times
  • C – close enough to kiss
  • K – keep chin off the chest
  • S – supported back

Read more about sling safety and the "Ticks" rule on the RoSPA website.

3rd trimester pregnancy symptoms (at 31 weeks)

Are you getting fake contractions? You may feel your bump tighten up for 20 to 30 seconds, then relax again (it should not hurt).

These are called Braxton Hicks contractions and are often referred to as "practice contractions".

They're perfectly normal and harmless. However, if they're painful, or you start to get them at regular intervals, it could be a sign of early labour, so contact your midwife or doctor.

Your signs of pregnancy could also include:

You may also experience symptoms from earlier weeks, such as:

Read Tommy's guide to common pregnancy symptoms.

What does my baby look like?

Your baby, or foetus, is around 41.1cm long from head to heel. That's approximately the size and weight of a coconut.

Your baby is very active, moving around, sucking their fingers and doing the odd somersault.

Day by day, your baby is getting plumper and looking less wrinkled. The amount of amniotic fluid surrounding your baby is increasing because your baby is now able to pee.

Your baby will start to recognise voices outside the womb, so encourage your partner and any other children to talk to your bump, to help create a strong bond between them.

Composite. One side shows a foetus attached to the placenta by the umbilical cord. The foetus is recognisable as a baby. Other side shows a person holding a coconut in 1 hand.
Your baby is about the size of a coconut.

Action stations

For the first few months, you'll need a crib, carry cot or Moses basket.

If you're borrowing a cot, then ideally you'll need a new mattress. It should fit snugly with no gaps and be clean and waterproof.

Do not use pillows or duvets, as they can cause your baby to overheat or even suffocate. Instead, get a baby sleeping bag or layer up with light blankets.

Read more tips on what to buy for your baby.

This week you could also...

Talk to your work

You have maternity rights. You can ask for a risk assessment of your work place to ensure that you're working in a safe environment.

You should not be lifting heavy things and you may need extra breaks and somewhere to sit.

You can also attend antenatal appointments during paid work time.

Start doing pelvic floor exercises

It's a good time to tone up your pelvic floor muscles. Gentle exercises can help to prevent leakage when you laugh, sneeze or cough.

Get the muscles going by pretending that you're having a pee and then stopping midflow.

Visit Tommy's for more information on pelvic floor exercises.

Antenatal classes

Ask your midwife or doctor about online antenatal classes – they may be able to recommend one. The charity Tommy's has lots of useful information on antenatal classes and preparing you for birth.

Ask your partner if they would like to take part in the antenatal classes. Even if you've had children before, antenatal classes are still worth going to as you can meet other parents-to-be.

The NCT offers online antenatal classes with small groups of people that live locally to you.

Smoking, drinking and caffeine in pregnancy

Do your best to stop smoking and give up alcohol, and go easy on the tea, coffee and anything else with caffeine.

Ask your midwife or GP for support.

Vitamins in pregnancy

To keep bones and muscles healthy, we need vitamin D.

From late March/early April to the end of September, most people make enough vitamin D from sunlight on their skin. However, between October and early March, you should consider taking a daily vitamin D supplement because we cannot make enough from sunlight.

Some people should take a vitamin D supplement all year round, find out if this applies to you on the NHS website.

You just need 10 micrograms daily (it's the same for grown-ups and kids). Check if you're entitled to free vitamins.

Exercising in pregnancy

It's recommended that you do 150 minutes of exercise a week while pregnant.

You could start off with just 10 minutes of daily exercise – perhaps take a brisk walk outside. Check out Sport England's #StayInWorkOut online exercises (scroll to the pregnancy section).

Listen to your body and do what feels right for you.

Healthy eating

There's no need to eat for 2.

Now you're in the 3rd trimester, you may need an extra 200 calories a day, but that's not much. It's about the same as 2 slices of wholemeal toast with margarine.

You just need to eat a healthy balanced diet, with a variety of different foods every day, including plenty of fruit and veg. Have a look at our guide to healthy eating in pregnancy.

You may be able to get free milk, fruit and veg through the Healthy Start scheme.

Emotional and mental wellbeing

How are you today?

If you're feeling anxious or low, talk to your doctor or midwife, who can point you in the right direction to get all the support that you need. You could also discuss your worries with your partner, friends and family.

You may be worried about your relationship, or money, or having somewhere permanent to live.

Don't keep it to yourself – it's important that you ask for help if you need it.


Getting pregnant again is probably the last thing on your mind right now. However, now is a good time to start planning what type of contraception you would like to use after your baby is born.

Getting pregnant again could happen sooner than you realise, and too short a gap between babies is known to cause problems.

Talk to your GP or midwife to help you decide.

Talk to your midwife about newborn screening

You will be offered newborn screening tests for your baby soon after they are born.

These screening tests are recommended by the NHS because they can make sure your baby is given appropriate treatment if needed.

Your decisions about whether or not you want these screening tests will be respected, and healthcare professionals will support you.

Ask your midwife or doctor for more information about newborn screening.

More in week-by-week

Week 32

You might find your bump is making it harder to walk and making you "waddle". That's your body's way of compensating for all that extra weight up front.

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