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31 WEEKS, 1 DAY

62 days to go...

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ultrasound of human fetus 31 weeks and 1 day

Your baby today

The amount of amniotic fluid within the uterus is at its maximum over the next two weeks but will subsequently start to reduce gradually. Measurements of the four deepest pockets of amniotic fluid can add up to 6-8 in, allowing space for your baby to move.

If you listen to music while you're pregnant, your baby will be tuning in, too – and it might just benefit her.

You might have noticed that your baby becomes more active when you're listening to music. It's been noted that unborn babies move and even breathe in time to music, and there have been claims that by exposing your baby to certain types of music, you can enhance her brain development.

One study, relating to a "Baby Mozart" brain-enhancing product, claimed that the structure of, say, a particular Mozart arrangement, stimulated brain development to a greater extent than other genres, and even other classical composers. This theory has, however, been debunked. Some research found that college-aged students who listened to classical music showed a brief and temporary improvement in spatial intelligence. However, the same research was not tested in children or babies.

The research has not been repeated and the results are open to several different interpretations.

Whether or not it enhances your baby's intelligence, listening to classical music can relax you, which is always a good thing during pregnancy. And if you gently sway to the music, your baby may enjoy being "rocked" to sleep.

Focus On... Your body

Protruding navel

You may be surprised to find that by now your perfectly formed navel is protruding. This protrusion is caused by the pressure of your rapidly expanding uterus, which presses against your abdomen and literally pops your belly button out.

Some women find their protruding navel unsightly, and choose to wear skirts or pants with a high waistband to cover it; you can also cover your protruding belly button with a Band-Aid.

A protruding navel is a normal consequence of pregnancy and it will return to normal a few months after the delivery. Although you may find that, like other parts of your body, your navel sags a little more than it used to.

pregnant belly with protruding navel

Ask A... Doctor

What exactly is an "active birth"?

Having an "active birth"-staying mobile during the first stage of labor and remaining upright, squatting, kneeling, or on all-fours during the second stage-can make labor and delivery easier and less painful. Working with gravity helps your pelvis to open and encourages the baby's head to press on your cervix, helping it to dilate. To get active:

  • Practice squatting (see Second stage positions): it takes time to learn to do it, but it's an effective way to speed labor up. When squatting, make sure you have sufficient support-from your partner, for example.
  • Relax by kneeling with a birth ball or beanbag.
  • Use a birthing pool if you want to relax in water for a while.
  • If you need an IV, because you've been induced (see Induction of Labor), ask for one with a long tube that will leave you free to move around a little.
  • Choose a walking epidural, which should enable you to stay active.
  • If lying down makes your contractions stop, get up and start moving again.

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Excerpted from Pregnancy Day by Day.
Copyright © 2009 Dorling Kindersley Limited.
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