Week 31: Pregnancy Brain is For Real!

You might notice a certain forgetfulness or lack of clear thinking during this part of your pregnancy. Guess what?! Pregnancy brain is for real! Meanwhile, your baby is already a smarty pants who can process information and pick up signals from all 5 senses. Here’s what you can expect of pregnancy and your baby during week 31.


Pregnancy Week 31: Pregnancy Brain is For Real!

There’s a lot of activity for your baby at 31 weeks. Longer stretches of sleep are happening so you may notice regular patterns of movement and rest. Your baby’s brain is running on overdrive and it’s possible your little one can pick up signals from all 5 senses! Other things your little one is doing in the womb? Making faces, hiccupping, swallowing, breathing, pedaling with little hands and feet and even sucking a thumb. So. Cute. Fun fact: some babies suck their thumbs so vigorously in the womb they are born with a callous!

But the real news coming out of week 31 is this: pregnancy brain is for real! Mommy brain is due to a shrinking of brain cell volume during the third trimester. They’ll go back to normal a few months after delivery. If you’re thinking the stories of forgetfulness and a foggy brain are only the stuff of folklore, consider these true #pregnancybrain accounts:

“I just sat down to pee and realized just in the nick of time that my panties were still on.” – @KristinOSulliv1

“I literally waited a week for my baby shower invites to get here so we could get them out ASAP. We finally got them and my mom pointed out that THERE IS NO DATE. I have never been more disappointed and amused by my pregnancy brain.” – @mrs_shmurphy

“I just tried to put my seatbelt on when I sat down in my office chair.” – @tequila_mom

“I just made my husband laugh so hard he threw up. How you might ask? Because I plugged my phone charger…into my sandwich…after I mistook it for my phone.” – @Toni_Kubiak


Body Changes to Expect for Week 31

If you feel like you’re constantly out of breath by week 31, it’s totally normal. Your uterus can now be felt four inches above your belly button. So all of your internal organs are being shoved out of the way and crowding your lungs. The result? It’s more difficult for your lungs to expand fully and you’ll be out of breath often. The good news is that once your baby drops down into your pelvis, this should subside.

If you’re nervous about your baby being injured during sex, or just plain weirded out by it, don’t be. Pregnant women need sex! Babies may be quiet during sex, or they may be more active as a result of your…well activity. Both are normal reactions. Your baby has no idea what’s going on so keep enjoying your sex life as is. As long as your doctor says it’s fine, you can maintain your regular bedroom soirees right up to delivery day.


Pregnancy Symptoms to Watch For

Your growing belly can do a real number on your back during this phase of pregnancy. A good prenatal massage or yoga can help relax your back. Also a pregnancy symptom to consider this week? Clumsiness. You can thank your burgeoning front for this one too. A shifting posture and increasing girth can make standing or getting in and out of the tub a real challenge. Be super careful. Leg cramps, heartburn, frequent urination and anxiety (thanks pregnancy hormones) can keep you tossing and turning at night. Take frequent naps if you need to but know that it’s a passing phase during this part of pregnancy.


Week 31 To-Do List

Is your hospital bag packed yet? Now would be a good time to do it. To avoid a lot of swelling during this time there are a few things you can do. One, keep chugging the water as you get bigger and bigger. It will help with your internal temperature, keep swelling down and avoid fatigue or persistent headaches. If your feet and ankles are already swollen, choose the most comfortable shoes to give your feet breathing room. Simple stretches and light exercise can also help with swelling and varicose veins, the unsightly result of increased blood flow and pooling in your legs. If you notice sudden facial swelling you should see your doctor, as it may be a sign of preeclampsia. Preeclampsia is a disorder that develops late in pregnancy, usually past week 20, and is characterized by high blood pressure, swelling of the face and hands as well as changes in vision and headaches.

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