Now well into your third trimester, you’re seeing and feeling the physical effects of the baby you are carrying. But what’s going on with your baby in week 31 of pregnancy?

Your baby’s development

This week your baby is the size of a… cucumber.
Your baby’s growth patterns change around week 31 of your pregnancy – instead of getting longer, he focuses on gaining weight. Now that there is very little space in your uterus, he doesn’t move as much – quite simply because he can’t. You will still feel him wriggling a little bit though. Keep a mental note of your baby’s regular patterns as:
· Like you, he will have times when he sleeps and times when he moves or kicks.
· There’s no real need to worry if he’s not moving as much as before, but it’s good to be aware of any drastic changes.
If you are concerned you haven’t felt him moving for a while (this is common if you’ve been very busy at work or with your toddler) have a cool drink and lie down for a short while. This usually prompts your baby to have a reassuring wriggle.

Your baby’s brain will also be undergoing major developments as the synapses begin to form – these connections respond to sensory stimuli, showing that your baby’s touch, taste, sight, hearing and smell are all becoming more sensitive.

Your physical pregnancy changes

If you haven’t already started getting stretch marks, you may begin to notice them now as your baby’s continued growth causes your skin to tighten across your stomach. Regularly using a rich moisturiser or body butter can minimise their appearance and, after the birth, they should turn from a pink colour to a more subtle silver.
As your baby pushes upwards inside your stomach, work on your posture. Until your baby drops down into your pelvis in a few weeks’ time, sitting up straight can create a little more space in your chest cavity so you can breathe deeper. You need to, in order to stay relaxed at this stage in your pregnancy!
You may find that colostrum (early milk) leaks from your breasts from this week. Invest in breast pads to pop in your bra and avoid embarrassing damp patches.
Your health and fitness during pregnancy

At this stage, it’s more important than ever to maintain a healthy diet. Foods that you should be particularly aware of include:
· Those rich in Omega-3, which are great to aid your baby’s brain and eyes as they continue to develop. Try oily fish, nuts and tofu.
· Cereals, green vegetables and red meat for their iron content. You need this to maintain your red blood cells.
· Foods that contain lots of, which helps your body break down iron in order to utilise it effectively. Fill up your trolley with capsicum, green leafy vegetables, broccoli, cauliflower, kiwis, citrus fruit and strawberries.
Your week 31 pregnancy checklist

· Take note of your baby’s movements, but remember at this stage they will be less frequent than usual so don’t panic.
· If you haven’t already, invest in a rich body butter to smooth out those stretch marks.
· Head to your pregnancy yoga class to continue perfecting your breathing in time for labour.
· Sit up straight, take a deep breath and… relax.
· Buy some breast pads for your maternity/nursing bra.
· Either send your partner to Woolworths with a shopping list, or order some fresh, nutrient-rich ingredients online and have them delivered direct to your door.
· Take some time out for yourself – even if it’s just a soak in the tub. Once your baby arrives he will demand most of your time and energy.