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Third Trimester 1stTrimester     2ndTrimester

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31 WEEKS, 6 DAYS

57 days to go...

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ultrasound of human fetus 31 weeks and 6 days

Your baby today

You can see from this image just how much amniotic fluid is around your baby at this time. Ultrasound displays the fluid as black on the screen. Sometimes there will be speckles within the fluid: these represent skin and hair cells that are shed as your baby grows.

If your third trimester coincides with the summer months, staying cool and comfortable can be a real challenge.

When the weather is hot, your baby makes it sweltering! Keep yourself hydrated by drinking lots of cool water. Consider carrying a spray bottle of water (keep it in the fridge overnight so that it's nice and cold next day) to spritz you when you're too hot.

Opt for sleeveless clothing that is made of natural fabrics, such as linen and cotton, which will help keep the air circulating. If you want to keep some or all of your arms covered, wear short-sleeved jackets or cotton cardigans. Wear a sun hat and sunglasses, especially if you're in direct sunlight for any length of time.

Opt for flip-flops or low-heeled sandals to let your feet breathe-these can also be a good option if your feet are swollen.

The Lowdown

First hours and days

To help you prepare for what will follow the birth of your baby, here's a few interesting facts you might like to know:

  • You may shake all over just after giving birth and don't be concerned if you vomit, this is quite normal and nothing to worry about.
  • Newborn babies don't always master breast-feeding immediately. Just like you, they need to practice.
  • After pains (the clamping sensation in your uterus when your baby nurses) can hurt almost as much as contractions.
  • The first time you urinate and defecate after giving birth can be uncomfortable.
  • You may feel very vulnerable, and in need of your own mom, in the first few days of parenthood.
  • Lochia (after-birth bleeding) can be a challenge at first, even if you're using larger-sized sanitary pads.
  • Bonding with a newborn doesn't always happen immediately for all mothers, but it's worth the wait.

Focus On... Your baby

Listening to your baby's heartbeat

From the very earliest stages of pregnancy, your baby's heart will be beating, and there can be nothing more uplifting and reassuring than hearing this for yourself. Your doctor can use a variety of instruments to hear your baby's heartbeat, including a stethoscope and a Doppler monitor (which uses ultrasound technology). A baby's heart beats between 120 and 160 times per minute (with slight variations)-quite a few more than your own heartbeat, which is normally under 100. The sole purpose of listening to the heartbeat is to ensure that it falls within a normal range, and to reassure moms-to-be that all is well. If there's an unusual rhythm or the heartbeat speeds or slows unexpectedly, your doctor can arrange for tests to confirm that all is well. Some women feel that hearing their baby's heartbeat helps the bonding process in advance of the birth.

pregnant woman listening to heartbeat with doppler
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Excerpted from Pregnancy Day by Day.
Copyright © 2009 Dorling Kindersley Limited.
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