Being pregnant

Your pregnancy: 31 weeks

Your baby has been able to open her eyes in utero; now she can also distinguish light from dark.

By Today's Parent
Your pregnancy: 31 weeks

Photo: Mandy Milks, Erik Putz, Anthony Swaneveld. Felt:

Thirty-one weeks pregnant: What's going on in there

This week is so sweet—and not just because your little one is now the size of a tub of ice cream: about 41 centimetres (16.2 inches long) and 1.5 kilograms (3.3 pounds). While you’re probably getting a little uncomfortable carrying all that extra weight around, your baby is getting cuter by the second: Her bones have nearly reached their full length, her skin isn’t so translucent anymore, and she is developing creases in her hands and wrists. Around 31 weeks pregnant, the irises in your baby's eyes are forming and can react to light that reaches the uterus. She is getting stronger, too, so be prepared for her to be more active this week—especially since she isn’t out of room (or womb!) just yet. It will probably feel like she's doing Zumba in there as she stretches and exercises her limbs. (Apologies to your bladder in advance!)  

Pregnant woman silhouette in sportswear strokes large belly LENblR / Getty Images

Thirty-one weeks pregnant symptoms

Protruding navel

If it hasn’t happened already, it’s coming (unless you’re lucky to have a very shallow or very deep belly button). The pressure of your expanding uterus on your abdominal wall will cause the protrusion of your umbilicus, the anatomical term for your belly button. (It will return to its pre-pregnancy state, albeit probably a bit saggier, after delivery.) Steel yourself for turkey-timer jokes because they’re pretty much guaranteed. If the arrival of your popped-out belly button bothers you, you can put a heavy-duty Band-Aid over it to lessen its appearance, but for the record, we think it’s adorable.

close up of pregnant stomach Westend61 / Getty Images


Heart palpitations

And we don’t mean just when you’re thinking about labour. Heart palpitations—when you’re acutely aware of a racing heart or your heart skipping a beat—are fairly common in late pregnancy. They are your body’s reaction to changes in circulation, to carrying around a bulge the size of a bowling ball and, sometimes, to a mother’s anxiety about the life changes ahead. Take a break and do some deep breathing until you feel your ticker stabilize, but get in touch with your doctor if the palpitations are accompanied by chest pain or shortness of breath or if you’re concerned that they’re happening too often.

Pregnant woman with eyes closed sitting cross-legged on exercise mat at home Westend61 / Getty Images

What's on your mind when you're 31 weeks pregnant

Antenatal anxiety

With a looming life change ahead, some mom-to-be worries are to be expected (NBD, you’ll just be completely responsible for another human being!). But for some expectant mamas, this anxiety crosses the line. If you find yourself sapped of the joy of pregnancy (or if you never had it to begin with) and you’re spending too much time dwelling on the what-if scenarios of pregnancy and childbirth, it’s time to talk to your doc. You can find more on antenatal (also referred to as prenatal) anxiety here, including symptoms and strategies for coping.

Frustrated pregnant woman DjelicS / Getty Images


Sex and the pregnant girl

We’ve all heard the stories about women who have gone into labour after a good romp between the sheets. But fear not: An orgasm won’t kick-start premature labour. Even at full term, sex will only help get things going if they’re going to happen soon anyway. That said, don’t be surprised if you experience Braxton Hicks after intercourse because the oxytocin released during sexual arousal can cause the uterus to contract. For more on sex during pregnancy, go here.

One word of warning: If you experience any signs of premature labour or suspect that your water has broken, it’s best to avoid sex until your doctor has checked you over and given you the go-ahead.

man kissing pregnant womans tummy PeopleImages / Getty Images

Just for kicks

Forward this link to whichever well-meaning friend or relative is hosting your baby shower. No gross “what’s in the diaper?” squished chocolate-bar games for you, lady. Here are some baby shower games that won’t make you cringe.

Fun-Filled Baby Shower Activities AzmanL / Getty Images

Fun Baby shower games

And Bingo was his/her Name-o

What you’ll need: A different baby bingo card per guest (there are printable Internet options, we like this one from Artisan Cake Company) and 15-20 card markers (cinnamon hearts work). How to play: As the mom-to-be opens her presents, guests mark off the corresponding gift pic (blanket, bib, book). Standard Bingo rules apply. Who says gift opening has to be a snooze?

Bingo card with stamper Photo: iStockphoto


Bottle boat races

What you’ll need: Alcoholic and non-alcoholic drink options, baby bottles for each guest. How to play: It’s the same old game you remember (or would rather forget) from college only now the beer bottles have been replaced with baby bottles. Divide the party into two teams and may the best (tipsy) sailors win!

Baby bottles on a white background Photo: iStockphoto


What you’ll need: Headshots of mom and pop, bristol board, a tech-savy host or helper. How to play: Use one of the many “this is your baby” websites to create hypothetical spawn by swapping out the real dad/mom for famous folk like Obama, Tom Cruise or Angelina Jolie. Guests try to guess the mystery parent.

Baby wearing big sunglasses Photo: iStockphoto

Advice Book

What you’ll need: A nice journal or scrapbook, a few coloured pens. How to play: Have each guest write down a piece of parenting advice for the mom-to-be, whether inspirational, heartfelt or funny. You can include quotes or photos. It’ll be a keepsake she can look back on down the road, and maybe even share with her little one.

Pacifier on an open book Photo: iStockphoto


Rock’n… rattle

What you’ll need: Plain onesies, permanent markers, list of rock’n’roll phrases (Live and Let Diaper, Colic Me Maybe, Rage Against the Mashed Peas…). How to play: Let your guests unleash their inner rock gods as they customize newborn-to-be-wild onesies. Why go cutesy when you can go cool?

Dad plays with baby with hair spiked up in a mohawk Photo: iStockphoto


What you’ll need: Bristol board, cut-out pictures of A-list offspring. How to play: Finally, a fun outlet for all your celeb gossip. Guests earn points for ID-ing celebrity tots and their famous parents. Know your Zumas from your Zaharas, or else!!!

Beyonce sits outside with daughter Blue Ivy in her lap. Photo: @beyonce via Instagram

Don’t say baby

What you’ll need: A safety pin for each guest. How to play: Hand each guest a safety pin to wear when they arrive. For the duration of the party, if you hear someone else say the word “baby,” you get to steal their pin and wear it. At the end of the shower, the person with the most pins wins a prize.

the word Baby spelled out on top of cupcakes Photo: iStockphoto


Guess the baby

What you’ll need: A couple of large bristol boards, pens and paper. How to play: Have each guest send the hostess a baby photo of themselves in advance of the party so she can print them. Fill the bristol board with photos and number each one. Hang them on the wall, and have everyone guess which baby photo belongs to which guest.

Baby taking selfie on a smartphone with mom Photo iStockphoto

Character name game

What you’ll need: A couple of large bristol boards, pens and paper. How to play: Have each guest send the hostess a baby photo of themselves in advance of the party so she can print them. Fill the bristol board with photos and number each one. Hang them on the wall, and have everyone guess which baby photo belongs to which guest.

Dolls of characters from Disney's Frozen Photo: iStockphoto

Time capsule

What you’ll need: A small chest or box. How to play: It’s not so much a game as a cherished keepsake for the baby once she’s all grown up. Email guests in advance and tell them to bring a photo, trinket or souvenir of something big that happened that year. For example, a photo of the biggest chart-topping band of the year or the must-have toy of the year.

Baby sitting inside a colourful woven box Photo: iStockphoto


Pin the sperm on the egg

What you’ll need: A blindfold, a board (you can make your own or order it straight from Etsy). How to play: Same idea as the classic childhood favourite—spin the blindfolded guest round and round and watch them attempt to pin the sperm on the egg.

We've got more NSFW baby shower games that guests will love.

Woman wearing a blindfold holds out her hand Photo: iStockphoto

Baby top 40

What you’ll need: Paper, pens, a timer. How to play: Set the timer on your phone (keep it short!) and see which guest can write down the most songs featuring the word “baby” in the title. Bonus: Prepare a “baby”-themed music list in advance to play throughout the party. See how well those guests were paying attention!

Baby wearing headphones too big for its head Photo: iStockphoto

Baby names

Are you a name nerd with a thing for history? We went way, way back to check out the most popular names over the decades. Take a look at 100 years of baby names.

Pregnancy to-do list: 31 weeks

Pack your hospital bag

It’s always a dramatic scene in movies: Woman goes into labour and partner freaks out and starts doing exaggerated Lamaze breaths (“hee, hee, hee, hooooo”) while yelling “We have to pack the bag!” Woman inevitably pulls already-perfectly-packed bag out of a closet and calmly replies, with a sigh, “I packed the bag weeks ago.” You, too, can be that super-prepared leading lady. Believe it or not, you should think about packing your hospital bag as early as 30 weeks. It’s just one less thing to worry about later in your pregnancy, and it means that you’re ready to roll if your baby decides to make her debut a few weeks early. For what to pack, check out our handy hospital checklist.

Don’t forget to include a few items for your partner, too (or, better still, make him pack his own bag). He is going to need a change of clothes, a few toiletries (toothbrush, deodorant) and his phone charger so that he has enough power to call and text all the friends and family awaiting your joyful news.

Read more: What causes preterm labour? Babyproofing: Should you do it? Next up: 32 weeks pregnant

Your pregnancy: 31 weeks

This article was originally published on Aug 07, 2017

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