Guide to Being 31 Weeks Pregnant

What You Might Be Feeling
By this point, you've probably experienced some practice contractions.
By this point, you've probably experienced some practice contractions.

For some women, this final stretch can feel like a bloated, fat-ankled dream. Your body may not remotely resemble what it looked like six months ago, and the lack of sleep doesn't help matters.

Overall, you're probably feeling, quite simply, very very pregnant. That can mean bloating, heartburn, constipation, swelling, skin tags, occasional dizziness and headaches, and better hair than you ever thought you'd have. Oh, and lots of farting.

At 31 weeks, you may also be experiencing some relatively new or suddenly more intense symptoms, such as:

  • Heightened anxiety and excitement -- You'll be a mom in just about two months. So much to do! (See "Things to Consider.")
  • Poor balance -- That bulging abdomen is shifting your center of gravity, which is probably wreaking havoc on your ability to not knock into chairs. Make sure to move carefully, and hold onto a handrail when on the stairs.
  • Increasing back pain -- That shifted center of gravity is also affecting your posture, and your lower back is bearing the brunt of the increased weight in your middle.
  • Tingling hands -- Increased blood volume (40 to 50 percent right now, if you can believe it), swelling and an oversized uterus are all causing nerves to be crowded, possibly resulting in a tingling or numbness of your hands and wrists which is carpal tunnel syndrome.
  • Leaking breasts -- They're making colostrum, the "pre-milk" that, if you breastfeed, will nourish your newborn for a few days before your milk comes in. It may be starting to leak out.
  • Leaking bladder -- There's not much room these days for holding it in. You might be leaking a little when you sneeze, cough or laugh.
  • Practice contractions -- Braxton-Hicks contractions, sometimes called "false labor," may start to strike around now. They typically last about 30 seconds and feel like a tightening of your uterus. They shouldn't hurt (you may not even feel them). If you feel contractions that are painful and/or last longer than a minute or two, call your doctor immediately, because it could signal preterm labor.

Your uterus is practicing those contractions with good reason -- that baby is incredibly close to what he or she will be at the time birth …