Your 31st Week

You may have firm thoughts about what you consider to be the ideal birth experience. However, keep an open mind because many factors can influence where and how your baby is born. There’s nothing unusual in a woman changing her mind, even after her labor has actually started. Your health-care team will expect you to ask a lot of questions about childbirth, so take advantage of their experience and expertise.


Even if you have a birth plan in mind, be prepared to be flexible

You are 30 Weeks and 1 Day 69 days to go…

It’s well worth giving some thought to where your baby is going to sleep before you actually bring him home from the hospital.

Your baby today

From this point in the pregnancy your baby will yawn just as often as during the first few weeks after birth. Exactly why babies yawn before birth remains unknown, but seeing your baby yawn on a scan is quite likely to make you yawn as well.

It’s recommended that your baby sleeps in a crib in your bedroom for the first six months. See the Should you co-sleep?, if you’re considering co-sleeping. With your baby in your bedroom, you’ll be close by when he cries at night and able to attend to him easily. This is especially useful if you’re breast-feeding.

Remember that babies are not necessarily quiet sleepers: they may wiggle, grunt, and move around and these noises may disturb you or your partner. If your partner has to go to work the following day this extra disturbance may affect him. It will affect you, too, but you may have a chance to “catch up” on some sleep, or at least rest, when your baby naps. You should do what is best for all three of you, even if that means your partner spends some nights in the spare room. Some new parents find that they are so exhausted by life with a newborn that they sleep, regardless of whether their baby is snuffling or not.

If the baby is in his own room you may worry that you may not hear him cry, but you will if you use a baby monitor. When he does cry, yet again at 3 am, be aware that a short trip along the landing can seem like a mile.

Should you co-sleep?

You may want to put your baby into your bed with you, and yet you may be concerned that you might roll over on him. For this reason, the American Academy of Pediatrics does not recommend co-sleeping. It can be especially dangerous if either of you smoke or use alcohol or drugs that make it hard to wake up, or if you sleep with the baby on a waterbed, couch, or in a chair. The safest place for your baby is in a bassinet near your bed.

… Your body
Breast changes

In the third trimester, your breasts will begin to prepare themselves for feeding your baby, and you may experience some discomfort and changes that you had not anticipated. Your breasts will become fuller, and may actually feel very heavy; your areolas (the area around your nipples) will become darker, and you may feel lumps and bumps in your breasts, as the first milk, colostrum, begins to be produced. This may leak out a little (see On leakages).

The small glands on the surface of your areolas (known as Montgomery’s tubercles) will also become raised bumps. You may have darkened veins along your breasts, due to their increased blood supply. Your breasts may also feel more tender and sensitive than usual, especially if touched.

Your breasts will change in preparation for breast-feeding, whether you intend to breast-feed your baby or not. Since your breasts will feel full and heavy by this stage, it’s important to wear a bra that properly supports you. Go for a fitting if necessary.

You are 30 Weeks and 2 Days 68 days to go…

Your baby has now developed a clear rhythm of sleeping and waking that may mimic your own or be personal to him.

Your baby today

You will be aware of times when your baby is especially active and times when he is more quiet. There is still a lot of space for your baby to move within the uterus but it is likely that there will be a favorite spot that receives more kicks than any other.

Exactly when and how your baby develops a cycle of sleeping and waking before birth remains a bit of a mystery. It’s not known whether your own rhythms influence your baby’s sleep–wake cycle or whether your baby develops his own internal clock. Indeed, such a clock might be triggered in response to the small amount of light that is able to penetrate through the uterus during the last few weeks of pregnancy. It’s apparent from brain scans, however, that by this stage of pregnancy, your baby does have very separate periods of activity.

There is a clear cycle, alternating between periods of quiet rest, sleep with rapid eye movements (REM), wakefulness with activity but no eye movement, and wakefulness with lots of activity and eye movements. During this sleep–wake cycle, the baby’s actions becomes more coordinated as periods of activity are linked to rhythmical breathing and increased heart rate, and eye movements.

By this stage of pregnancy, electrical activity in your baby’s brain shows patterns reflecting periods of sleep or wakefulness. An EEG of your baby’s brain would show that the quietest period, deep sleep, takes up almost half of the time. The next most common state is REM sleep (the sleep stage during which children and adults dream). This is a time of great electrical activity within your baby’s brain. During REM sleep the baby may be quiet or making lots of movements, so it’s not possible to tell whether your baby is truly awake at this time or if he’s dreaming. Paradoxically, the least electrical activity happens when your baby is most awake—in fact less than 10 percent of your baby’s time is spent truly awake at this stage.

Stem cell collection

The blood in your baby’s umbilical cord contains “cord blood,” which is rich in stem cells. These cells are the building blocks of organ tissue, blood, and the immune system. Some parents save these cells and store them (in a private facility at a cost) in the event that their child or another family member needs their healing benefits (see Stem cell collection).

Studies have found that they are very effective in the treatment of more than 70 diseases including juvenile diabetes, cancers, heart disease, and brain injury.

Stem cells are widely used, but there is significant evidence to show that using cells from the cord blood of a sibling or other family member is more effective than using cells from an unrelated donor, or bone marrow from relatives.

Cord blood can be expensive to store. Some women choose to donate their blood to public cord blood banks. The donated blood is stored, and this is used to treat patients who need it most. Talk to your doctor if you’d like to do this.

Stem cell collection from your baby’s umbilical cord is easy and pain-free, and could have life-saving benefits for your children.

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