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31 weeks pregnant. Just nine weeks to go

What's happening this week and what you can usefully do to gear up for the birth

Posted: 12 August 2008
by Maria Muennich

Now you're 31 weeks pregnant and with only nine weeks to go your thoughts have probably turned to getting your house ready for your newborn, and you may already be clearing out a spare room to turn into a nursery or re-arranging your rooms to make space for baby's cot and cupboards. The super-organised will already have this done and dusted, but don't panic if that isn't you, you still have plenty of time to get things ready. Although some families go all-out when they have a new baby coming, you don't actually need all that much for a little one. But there are some essential purchases to be made, and if you have already started checking off your list, then now can be a good time to do so: Apart from the fact that the bigger you get, the less comfortable you'll be traipsing around the shops, it's also a good idea to stagger those larger purchases financially. Friends and family may also have started asking you now whether there's anything you need for your nursery, so here's a list of new baby essentials to get you started.

If you're hoping to save some money with some second-hand bargains then you can do quite well online, as well as at children's flea markets and so on, but do be careful about what used products you buy - for safety reasons some items are best bought new, most importantly your baby's mattress.

By now you may be finding that your stomach (but not your bump!) is noticeably smaller than it used to be. Now that the uterus has risen quite high in your abdomen there is less room for your stomach, so you might well find that you are easily over-faced by food, getting full quickly and uncomfortable easily, as well as finding that some of the richer foods you usually enjoy are a too much for you now. Indigestion and heartburn are consequently two common complaints at this stage of pregnancy, and you can help make digestion easier on your body by eating smaller, simpler, more frequent and easily-digested meals and avoiding all those common causes of bloating and wind. If heartburn is causing you discomfort, particularly at night, you can also try easing it with a warm milky drink before bedtime, avoiding eating close to bedtime and sleeping with your upper body slightly elevated with pillows. Some antacids are safe to take during pregnancy to relieve heartburn and indigestion, but do consult your doctor for advice as to which you should take.

Your body will be demanding quite a lot of iron at the moment and the third trimester is quite a common time for women to find that their iron stores are running low, leaving them feeling tired and washed out, or even dizzy and breathless, as the body struggles to carry enough oxygen in the blood. You can make sure you boost your iron levels with easily-absorbed forms of iron in meat and fish as well as the less-easily absorbed iron of green leafy veg, fruits, nuts and beans. For maximum absorption try combining your iron intake with a vitamins C source, such as citrus fruit, and avoid taking iron alongside calcium sources (such as milk and dairy products) and caffeine.

Things to do this week

  • Think about pain relief - If you're still not sure which kinds of pain relief you'd like to try during the birth, if any, then make sure you find out more about the pain relief options usually available. If you do know already what your preferences are then check that they are offered by the place in which you're hoping to give birth. You may need a few weeks' lead-time to organise some labour aids, such as hiring a TENS machine or using acupuncture in the run-up to birth.

  • Write a nursery list- If you're feeling a little overwhelmed by the idea of preparing your nursery, be assured that you probably need less than you think. Rather than going into a baby store and being bowled over by the range and choice, first work out what new baby essentials you actually need, have a look at the ThinkBaby reviews and product section and try to narrow down your options before you head out to the shops.

  • Prep your body - It's certainly not too early, but it's not too late either. Decide what it is you're going to do to get your body in good shape for labour this week and try to stick to it - you'll probably be glad of it in a few weeks' time.

Fetal Development

See here for more on how your baby will develop in week 32.

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