Your growing baby now measures 40cm from crown to heel and weighs approximately 1.5kg. The baby should move frequently, and you should notice 10 episodes of movement each day.
3D Ultrasound image of a fetus at 31 weeks gestation.
Now weighing approximately 1.5kg and measuring around 41cm in length (from crown to heel) the fetus now essentially looks like a newborn. The limbs and body are now proportionate to the head. Body fat continues to be laid down and build up beneath the skin during this week. Fetal movement is now limited due to restricted space in the uterus, although the fetus will continue to squirm and kick.
Brain development continues, with more and more connections being added to neural networks each day. As well as the ability to track light, information-processing capabilities are also increasing. The baby is also now able to perceive and process signals from all 5 senses. In addition to this, sleep patterns are changing, with longer periods of sleep and shorter bursts of wakefulness.
Bone marrow is now capable of producing red blood cells and so the liver is no longer responsible for their production. All major organs continue to develop and mature and the bladder is now sufficiently developed to pass a form of urine out of it.
You may start to notice that your baby’s movements are changing from bigger; sweeping movements to jabs and kicks. This is a normal consequence of there being less available space in your uterus for the baby to move around in. As long as you continue to feel regular movements, there should be no cause for concern.
Weight gain tends to be faster during the latter stages of pregnancy. It is perfectly normal to gain weight quickly and you should continue to eat a healthy, balanced diet.
Some women experience problems with nasal congestion throughout their pregnancy. This is the result of swelling of the nasal passages due to increased blood flow caused by pregnancy hormones. Although many antihistamines and nasal sprays are not suitable for use during pregnancy, some women find the use of saline nasal sprays and nose strips helpful in alleviating congestion.
Most women experience some insomnia or sleep disturbance at this stage of pregnancy. It may be the result of not being able to find a comfortable position to sleep in, or because your sleep is interrupted by the need to go to the toilet. Some women report having vivid or unusual dreams during the later stages of pregnancy. This is also thought to be caused by disrupted sleep. Some women find that practising relaxation techniques before bed can help to promote a more restless sleep. Your midwife will be able to advise you on both relaxation and breathing techniques.
It is important to ensure that the baby is moving well. This means at least ten episodes of movement per day. The baby may not move much one day but it should the next day. If it does not you should see a medical professional. In essence the tummy should be growing and the baby moving.
Pre-eclampsia, vaginal bleeding, premature birth and obstetric cholestasis are important complications in late pregnancy. Pre-eclampsia manifests as headaches, disturbances of vision, swelling particularly of the legs and face and upper abdominal pain. It can result in a small baby and the tummy being smaller than it should be. Vaginal haemorrhage (bleeding) is abnormal in late pregnancy. Painful contractions can result in premature birth. Itching of the palms of the hands and the soles of the feet may be due to obstetric cholestasis which is a threat to the baby. More generalized itching is common and usually harmless.
Movements of the baby are important: there should be at least ten episodes a day.
Visits to the midwife or general practitioner become more frequent in later pregnancy. She will ask about symptoms take the blood pressure and check the urine. The midwife will measure the tummy with a tape measure. This is a crude, basic method of estimating the size of the baby. Referral will be made to the consultant as necessary. If there is a serious threat of early birth then an injection of steroids is given to the mother which will help to protect the baby from respiratory distress.
In a private self referral clinic additional blood tests and ultrasound scans can be done at short notice with rapid reporting of results. This is important if the baby is smaller than it should be or not moving enough. The woman and her partner can see a consultant for opinion and advice. This is done at a convenient time and with plenty time for discussion.
3D and 4D scans are ideally performed around this time in pregnancy, as the baby is a good size to obtain 3D images. If you choose to have a 3D or 4D scan, please ensure it is done at a reputable, medical clinic with a qualified sonographer.
We had received possible worrying news from our NHS anomaly scan, without much information provided or confirmation. I am so pleased that we came to The Birth Company for reassurance, as we are now extremely happy that everything is fine. Shahrzad was fantastic and went through the whole anomaly scan thoroughly, explaining everything and looking in detail at each area. Nothing was rushed and she took her time to make sure baby was in the correct position to get the best results. We can’t thank her and Dr Gibb enough for the confidence they have given us. Would highly recommend The Birth Company for all scans.
' Professional and reassuring 'Helen Campbell
The sonographer was ready as soon as I arrived, and she was extremely calming, personable and professional. The scan and blood test where efficient without feeling rushed and all very easy. These appointments can feel uneasy and make you feel anxious but I felt reassured and in professional hands the whole time
I saw Kate throughout my first pregnancy and am now doing so again with my second. She is absolutely amazing, she explains everything really clearly, and has answered all sorts of bizarre questions and worries I have had. On top of being clinically excellent she is also just the loveliest person and always a pleasure to see.Sarah Elliott
We had the harmony test with the Birth Company and had a reassurance scan with sonographer Kirsty McGarry who was absolutely lovely and really put our minds at rest. We had been scared by our NHS dating scan and left feeling like there was something wrong. We explained the situation and was treated very professionally and with good care. Also speedy appointments also as I had phone in the morning and got an appointment by afternoon. So thankful.Ashley and Tom
Really friendly, efficient service. Great experience overall. Had the Panorama. My appointment was with Kate who was absolutely fantastic. The results came really quickly. Have a comparison with private healthcare elsewhere and must say that The Birth Company was just how I would like to be treated when I pay for medical services - attentively, calmly, friendly, in a pleasant environment that doesn't look like hospital. Top marks!Anna
' Efficient, friendly and always on hand to provide last minute appointments 'Hannah Murphy
The Birth Company has been excellent, providing timely scans and blood tests during my IVF treatment abroad. Staff are always friendly and extremely efficient. I would highly recommend coming here.
' Professional and friendly 'Lyndsey Dilla
When I first contacted the Birth Company I spoke to Danielle. She was fantastic. She went above & beyond to put me at easy & make the journey from Kent as stress free as possible. Every staff member that myself and my husband have come into contact with have been approachable, professional and friendly. Kate scanned me the first time and put me completely at easy. Lisa on reception is professional and very approachable. Highly recommended
' Highly recommended 'Emelie
Donald was so lovely! I was so nervous as I have a bad history and he was super quick and confirmed my baby's heartbeat as quickly as he could. He spent time showing me the baby and the anatomy and it was the best money I have ever spent! The reception girls were lovely too - considering they deal with babies day in day out they were super excited for me! Thank you so much one and all! If only I lived in London and could have all my scans with you!