Your uterus is almost 4 ½ inches above your belly button. Your weight gain at this point in your pregnancy is on average 21 to 27 pounds.
Your baby and uterus are expanding quickly toward the bottom of your rib cage. This causes your diaphragm to be pushed up out of its normal position. By the time your baby is born your diaphragm will sit about 1 ½ inches higher than its normal position. As this happens, you may get to feeling short of breath.
Be rest assured that you are getting all the air that you need. Due to the influence of hormones on your body, you are breathing deeper and your lungs are taking in more air than they did before you were pregnant.
You may be experiencing Braxton-Hicks contractions. These are sporadic contractions that are not painful and have an irregular pattern. If you are having regular or painful contractions you should consult with your health care provider.
How Big is Your Baby?
Your baby is 15 to 18 inches long and weighs about 3 ½ pounds.
What Does a Fetus Look Like at 31 Weeks? - Video
See what a baby in the womb looks like at 31 weeks (29 weeks since conception).
Click here to watch video
More video of a baby at 31 weeks, video based on 29 weeks since conception.
More 4D video
How is Your Baby Developing?
Your baby’s reproductive system is continuing to develop. If your baby is a boy, his testicles are moving through the groin and into the scrotum. If your baby is a girl, her clitoris is now prominent, but the labia are still small and only partially developed.
Your baby’s body is filling out as it continues to put on layers of fat. The lanugo hairs are disappearing now. Your baby’s skin remains covered with vernix, a white greasy protective layer.
Your baby’s brain is beginning to create memory. It is now familiar with the rhythm of your voice and can remember it. A newborn’s cries often contain some of the rhythms and patterns of their mother’s speech.
Tips for a Healthy Pregnancy
It is a good idea to think about whether you plan to breast feed or bottle feed your baby.
Some people prefer bottle feeding because they can share the responsibility with others, they have more freedom, less dietary constraints, and some women are uncomfortable with the idea of breastfeeding in public.
While some prefer bottle feeding, it is widely accepted that breast feeding is best for your baby. Your baby can enjoy many benefits from being breast fed.
The composition of breast milk changes based on your baby’s needs. Breast milk contains at least 100 different components that are not present in cow’s milk, and it is also more digestible. This means that your baby can absorb more of the important nutrients that it needs.
Breast milk will never spoil or get contaminated. Babies that are nursed don’t suffer the constipation and diarrhea that many bottle fed babies often develop. Bowel movements of breast fed babies are less offensive smelling and less likely to cause diaper rash.
Breast fed babies are lest apt to become obese later in life. They also enjoy a slightly higher IQ on average than babies who are not breast fed.
Breast fed babies are less apt to have allergies and childhood asthma than those fed formula.
Breast fed babies are less likely to get respiratory, urinary, ear and blood infections in the first year of life.
Breastfeeding requires more effort than bottle feeding and helps the development of the jaw, teeth and palate, and helps prevent cavities later in childhood.
Breastfeeding is convenient, saves money, helps the uterus to shrink back to normal after childbirth, helps to burn off the extra weight from pregnancy, improves your bone density, reduces the risk of breast and uterine cancer, and helps you bond with your baby.
If you are unable to breast feed exclusively, consider mixing the breast and the bottle. You will have to breastfeed exclusively until your milk is well established. This takes two to three weeks. It is ideal to wait at least five to six weeks before introducing bottle feeding.