Welcome to week 31
You might be feeling like your bump can't grow any bigger - although it can and will!
Your baby's activity tends to become less vigorous from around now. It's nothing to worry about - just down to the dwindling space in your womb.
If you don't feel any movements for 24 hours do ask your midwife or GP to check on your baby. Chances are everything is fine and you've just been too busy to notice any movement, but it's best to get the reassurance of having a medical person examine you – and any excuse to hear your baby's heartbeat again has to be worth it!
Your baby weighs around 1.6kg (3.5lb) now and is about 28cm (just under 1ft) from crown to rump. This is still only about half the usual birth weight of a newborn – so you can see that you have no choice but to grow a bit more yourself! Boys are usually born heavier than girls - around 300g or 10.5oz more.
Your baby will still have room to move about, even if it feels like you're full to bursting, and you might even be able to identify the shape of a foot or elbow as it jabs at the inside of your bump (although this does depend on a few factors, such as how much fat you have on your abdomen, how your baby is lying and the level of your baby's activity). It can be a bit exhilarating to see the ripples and movements of your bump and identifying the odd limb here and there can also help you feel more bonded with the little life inside you.
On the outside
Your uterus should have risen by another centimetre since last week, and will now be about 11cm (4.5in) above your belly button – and more than a foot from your pubic bone. You'll continue to feel 'full' and uncomfortable as your uterus compresses all your other surrounding organs, but with luck you'll feel some relief in the coming month as your baby's head 'engages' in your pelvis (drops down in readiness for the descent into the birth canal).
At this stage your fingers and ankles are prone to swelling, which is due to fluid retention. It's a good idea to remove any jewellery that's getting a bit tight now. You can always wear fashion jewellery in larger sizes if you feel naked without your usual pieces.
If you're feet are swollen try wearing a style with laces so you can adjust the width as they swell and shrink. Mention any severe swelling to your midwife or GP, especially if it affects your face, ankles and hands, as this can be an indication of pre-eclampsia. Other symptoms that require urgent attention include persistent headache, disturbed vision, nausea and abdominal pain.
Things to think about
Lots of expectant mums feel hungrier in their third trimester so stock up your cupboards and fridge with nutritious snacks you can graze on and carry with you. Fruit – whether fresh, canned or in handy pots, raw vegetables (carrot sticks, pieces of broccoli and cauliflower, chunks of cucumber) accompanied by a low-fat dip are all good snacks.
Other ideas for snacks include:
• rough oatcakes or wholewheat crackers spread with a little hummus
• rye-bread toast with Marmite
• a mini pot of baked beans with half a slice of toast
• a low-fat yogurt
• fruit jelly
• breadsticks with low-fat cheese spread
• rice cakes (sweet or savoury)
• low-cal hot chocolate drink
• soup in a cup.
Sometimes hunger can actually be a sign of thirst, so before you do grab a snack, have a drink of water, herbal or fruit tea or milk. You might want to steer clear of anything fizzy if you're suffering from heartburn or indigestion – although some mums-to-be swear by mildly carbonated drinks as the effect helps them to burp up any excess gas! If you know you can tolerate fizz, then try ginger ale as a thirst-quencher that will also help combat indigestion. Ginger is a well-known remedy for all sorts of tummy-related complaints, including nausea and sickness.