You are entering your third trimester at 31 weeks, and you want to know what to expect. Although annoying at times, the increasing discomfort you are experiencing as you’re slowly going through the third trimester means that all is going well.
Pregnancy symptoms are caused by the physiological changes working for your growing baby. They are harmless, but if the symptoms become so severe that they prevent you from doing simple tasks, this may be a result of an underlying problem.
Make sure to consult your healthcare provider if this is the case. You are probably curious about the changes taking place in your body, and what you can do to ease any discomfort.
Here is a list of 5 common symptoms that emerge in the 31st week of pregnancy and some ways to handle them:
Braxton Hicks contractions
Braxton Hicks contractions also called practice contractions, can start anytime during pregnancy. However, they usually become more noticeable in the third trimester. They are different from labor contractions in that they are irregular in intensity, infrequent, non-rhythmic, and they slowly fade away. There are certain things that can trigger them such as increased activity, someone touching your belly or even dehydration. The good news is that you can make the best of these contractions by practicing rhythmic breathing. This will also help to prepare your for when you do go into labor.
Breast milk leaking
Colostrum, your baby’s first meal, might start leaking from your breast as early as the second trimester. You might also notice that leakage from your breast increases during this week of your pregnancy. This is a sign that your body is preparing for the baby’s arrival. This type of milk is much thicker than mature milk. Colostrum is full of antibodies such as immunoglobulin A. You will also be producing colostrum a couple of days after giving birth, which is then replaced with mature breast milk. The leaking normally isn’t heavy, so you don’t have to worry about it leaking through your clothes. To prevent breast leakage from staining your clothes, you can purchase nursing pads.
Shortness of breath
During the 31st week of pregnancy, breathing difficulties might become increasingly noticeable. This happens because your uterus is expanding upwards as your baby continues to grow. This expansion is putting pressure on your diaphragm and making it difficult to breathe. Breathing will become easier once the baby drops downward to the lower part of your uterus, which can happen anywhere from 36 weeks of pregnancy to right before delivery. What you can do in the meantime to catch some breath, is try to keep an upright posture. This will give your lungs plenty of space to expand. Placing a pillow under your back is also said to help if you have trouble breathing at night.
There can be an increase in vaginal discharge during this first week of your third trimester. Increased discharge is caused by high estrogen levels. This is completely normal, and there is no need to worry. Estrogen causes the mucosa of the vagina to shed at a rapid rate, making vaginal discharge heavier. Vaginal acidity also increases. This wards off bacteria, but might cause fungal infections. Your doctor will give you instructions on treatment if the discharge is a sign of any problems. Otherwise, fluctuations and changes in vaginal discharge are a normal part of pregnancy. Make sure to consult your doctor as soon as possible if the discharge is blood tinged, and you are in the 31st week of pregnancy.
The causes of leg cramps during pregnancy are not very clear. One explanation is the weakening of muscle tone due to high progesterone levels. Other than leg cramping, the weakening of muscle tone can cause spider veins and hemorrhoids. Mineral deficiency is another possible cause of leg cramps. Your baby needs a lot of nutrients to grow, but this can cause nutrient deficiencies in the mother-to-be. Taking magnesium supplements can help if magnesium deficiency is causing spasms in your legs at night. If leg cramps are caused by blood not circulating back to the upper body due to increasing pressure on the abdomen, then lying down with your legs upward might give you some relief.
The usual symptoms of pregnancy are just signs that your body is adjusting for the baby to grow. As you get further along in your pregnancy, discomfort increases, but this probably won’t cause too many problems in your daily routine. If you are experiencing discomfort that is too severe, consult your doctor immediately. Expecting a baby is a time of great joy though it can be exhausting, especially in the later stages. Make sure to utilize the advice given for the 31st week of pregnancy to ensure you and your baby are healthy, and that you enjoy every moment of this special period in your life.
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