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Week #31 of Pregnancy

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Pregnancy Week 31

By Christine Shiffler, edHelperBaby

How is Your Baby Growing and Developing?
           Only weeks to go before you meet your baby for the first time.  Your baby is about 3 1/2 - 4 pounds by now.  Your baby is still growing rapidly.  The lungs are getting ready to breathe when the baby is born.  You may be jumpy about any little sign that could indicate an early labor.  Don't worry.  Only about 10 percent of pregnancies go early, before week 37.  These babies are usually born to women already thought to be high risk.


What is Happening to Your Body?
           You are probably excited, apprehensive and finding it hard to imagine the arrival of your baby.  You may be experiencing practice contractions known as Braxton Hicks contractions.  These can be quite strong during the third trimester.  To relieve any discomfort, lie on your left side and keep you body hydrated by drinking water.  If that seems to give you more discomfort walk around.  Remember any fatigue is a sign that you need to look after yourself and get rest.


Parent's Activity:
           Important activities for you and your partner to engage in this week are making lists and being prepared with baby equipment.  Now is the time to begin discussing baby equipment, such as cribs, car seats and such items, with your partner.  You need to make sure you have these items before the baby's birth.  Most hospitals won't let you take your baby home without an approved car seat.  Together with your partner, make a list of important telephone numbers and keep this list with you.  Include numbers of your work, your partner's work, the hospital, the doctor's office, a back-up driver, baby-sitter or others.  You may also want telephone numbers of people you want to call after the baby is delivered.  Keep this list with you at all times.       

       For a fun activity you can take out pictures of you and your partner from when you were a baby.  Make a copy of the pictures to keep the originals in tact.  You can cut across the pictures to have eyes, lips, nose, forehead, chin, ears, etc.  It is fun to mix and match the pictures to see what the baby may look like. You can see what the baby may look like with your partner's nose and ears and your eyes and mouth. It is also fun to do once the baby is delivered.  This activity is fun and exciting at the same time.  It can be hard to tell who the baby resembles.  With this activity you may find resemblances you never noticed before.       

       SectionPersonal Experience:       

       We had a great time with this fun and silly activity.  We even were able to see in isolation the very specific features of our own body parts.  You get a great feeling of wonder and excitement because you just have to wait to see what the baby will look like and who the baby will resemble.  In the meantime, you sometimes secretly say to yourself, "I hope the baby doesn't inherit my big ears or his narrow lips."  All I can remember hoping was that the baby look like me a little.  Our baby is now 3 months old and we are still trying to look for things that we feel resemble one of us.


Prime Your Body:
           Prepare your body for childbirth.  There are some specific exercises that will help you during childbirth.  Squatting practice will help if you want to squat during labor.  Squat down keeping your back straight and lengthened as if a string is suspending you.   Try to keep your heels on the floor while you balance your weight.  Always get up slowly, holding onto a chair or table.  Trunk stability is another great pelvic exercise.  Lie on your back and slowly raise your buttocks from the floor, keeping the stomach and buttocks muscles tight.  Backward bends while standing are terrific.  Arch backward to make the hollow of your back deeper.  Hold this position for 10 seconds.  These exercises will help take some of the pressure off your lower back, hips, and knees.       

       Here's a simple breathing exercise that will help you to relax.  Inhale slowly through one nostril, closing the other by pressing a finger against it.  As you breathe in, feel your diaphragm gently rise to your chest.  Breathe out, very slowly, through the opposite nostril while keeping the first one closed.  As you exhale, imagine you're sending your breath through every part of your body.  Focus and start from the top of your head and go to the bottoms of your toes.  Continue breathing until you feel calmer and more relaxed.


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