Estimated reading time: 4 minutes
You’ve reached week 31 of your pregnancy–29 weeks from conception. Let’s talk about baby’s position, cramps, and other pregnancy symptoms at week 31.
Table of contents
Week 31 Pregnancy: Baby Bump
At week 31, your baby weighs about 3 1/3 pounds. Her total length is now nearly 16 inches.
Your belly is continuing to grow, too! The uterus now fills a large part of your abdomen. It rests almost 4 1/4 inches from your belly button — just over 12 inches from the pubic symphysis. Your total pregnancy weight gain should be between 21 and 27 pounds (2).
Week 31 Pregnancy: Baby’s Development
Baby is growing in leaps and bounds now, and making the following big changes:
- Baby is adding body fat
- Very active
- Breathing movements are present
- Baby responds to sound
Week 31 Pregnancy: Baby Position
By 29-30 weeks, it is normal for baby to be either head down or breech. The head down position is ideal for vaginal birth. Due to increased risk to baby, providers encourage a cesarean birth if baby is in a breech position at the time of delivery.
During your prenatal visits, your provider may try to determine baby’s position by feeling your abdomen. This is a technique known as Leopold maneuvers. Ultrasounds are the only definitive way to assess baby’s position. However, Leopold maneuvers performed by experienced providers are a considered an effective way to help screen for the breech position (4).
As your pregnancy continues, baby has less and less space to move within the uterus. The later in pregnancy a baby is breech, the more difficult it can become for baby to flip to a head down position. If your baby is in a breech position at week 30, encourage baby to turn by practicing good posture and by exercising/walking regularly (5). A qualified chiropractor may be able to adjust your pelvis and encourage baby to move to a head down position. Sometimes an external version can be performed to try and turn baby to a head-down position.
Week 31 Pregnancy: Symptoms
Many a pregnant woman has been awoken from a sound sleep by cramps in her lower legs, especially the calf. These leg cramps are typically sharp and painful, and can be brought on suddenly by simply extending your foot. While it’s often suggested that cramps are due to a deficiency in calcium or potassium, the exact cause of leg cramps remains unknown (1).
If leg cramps are a problem for you, consider the following suggestions:
- Stretch your legs before you go to bed
- Massage the calf or tense muscle in long, downward strokes (3)
- Avoid freaking out when you awake with a leg cramp. Instead, relax and flex your foot. This tends to bring immediate relief. Leg cramps offer the perfect opportunity to practice the relaxation techniques you’re learning in your natural childbirth class!
Join us again soon to learn all about week 32 of your pregnancy!
Kopa Birth’s online birthing classes allow you to prepare for a natural hospital birth from the comfort of your own home, 24/7. Enroll today in our free online childbirth class and start preparing for your natural birth!
(1) Ladewig, P.A., London, M.L., Davidson, M.R. (2006). Contemporary Maternal-Newborn Nursing Care, 6th edition. Pearson Prentice Hall. Upper Saddle River, NJ.
(2) Glade, B.C., Schuler, J. (2011). Your Pregnancy Week by Week, 7th edition. First Da Capo Press.
(3) The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. (2010). Your Pregnancy and Childbirth Month to Month, 5th edition.
(4) Lydon-Rochelle, M., Albers, L., Gorwoda, J., Craigh, E., Qualls, C. (1993). Accuracy of Leopold maneuvers in screening for malpresentaiton: a prospective study. Birth. Sep; 20 (3):132-5.
(5) When is Breech An Issue. Retrieved from https://spinningbabies.com/learn-more/baby-positions/breech/when-is-breech-an-issue/