Thursday, August 17, 2006

Week 31

How your baby's growing: This week, your baby measures about 16 inches long. He weighs a little over 3 pounds and is headed for a growth spurt. He can turn his head from side to side, and he's beginning to accumulate a layer of fat underneath his skin in preparation for life as a newborn. As a result, his arms, legs, and body are filling out.
• Note: Experts say every baby develops differently — even in the womb. This developmental information is designed to give you a general idea of how your baby is growing.How your life's changing: You may have noticed some leaking of colostrum, or "premilk," from your breasts lately. Some expectant moms experience this leaking, others don't; either way, it's perfectly normal and you can rest assured that your body is doing what it's meant to do. If you're leaking, you may want to tuck some nursing pads in your bra to protect your clothes. And if you plan to breastfeed, you might also want to pick up a nursing bra. If your current bra is too snug, go ahead and wear the nursing bra now. (When shopping, choose a nursing bra at least one cup size bigger than you need now to accommodate the swelling that will take place when your milk comes in.)Have you noticed the muscles in your uterus tightening now and then? Some women feel these random contractions — called Braxton Hicks contractions — in the second half of pregnancy. Lasting from 30 to 60 seconds, they're nonrhythmic and irregular and, at this point in your pregnancy, they should be infrequent and not painful. (When you're within a few weeks of your due date, it's normal for Braxton Hicks contractions to become more frequent and even somewhat painful; in fact, they're often called "false labor" because sometimes it can be hard to tell them from the real thing.) Until 37 weeks, though, your baby is still premature. So if you're getting frequent contractions (even if they don't hurt), it may be a sign of preterm labor. Call your practitioner immediately if you have an increase or change in vaginal discharge (especially if it's watery, mucus-like, or pink or tinged with blood), abdominal pain or menstrual-like cramping, more than four contractions in an hour, an increase in pressure in the pelvic area, or low back pain, especially if you didn't have it before.If you're having a boy, you and your partner will want to take some time to think about whether or not to have your baby circumcised. Find out what the procedure involves.Pregnancy Tip: Choosing a focal point "I'm 31 weeks along, and at my childbirth classes they've been telling us to concentrate on a focal point during labor. Anything from a picture to a crack in the wall or ceiling can work, so long as it helps Nom relax and distracts him from the pain." — Anonymous

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