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Pregnancy week 31

When you are 31 weeks pregnant, your baby can recognise multiple familiar voices and you may feel Braxton-Hicks contractions.

Week by week stages of pregnancy: week 31

Now you are into week 31 of pregnancy. The vernix and lanugo covering your baby’s body are starting to disappear. They can recognise you and your partners' voices and even those of other people you spend a lot of time with.

You may be wondering what to expect at 31 weeks of pregnancy in terms of symptoms. Any time from now you will probably be experiencing Braxton-Hicks contractions. These are “practice” contractions, lasting about 25 seconds, to prepare you for labour. Sometimes they are so strong that you can mistake them for labour, but don’t worry you will know when you are having real contractions because they will happen at regular intervals.

At 31 weeks your due date is approaching quickly so now would be a good time to think about your birth partner.  Having someone you know and trust with you during labour can really enhance your confidence in your ability to give birth.  Lots of dads fulfil this role by being there at the birth of their child and supporting their partner. However, it is not for all men and it is important to remember that there are alternative ways of being supported if you both decide it’s not what you want.

You could ask a close family member like your mum or sister or a close friend you feel comfortable with. You could even have professional support in the form of a NCT birth companion, doula or independent midwife (all at a fee).

Ask yourself: what support would you like to have, and who would you like to have with you? Who will make you feel secure, relaxed and confident enough to concentrate fully on working through your labour? Once it has been agreed who will be there to support you, you can discuss your wishes for the birth, referring to your birth plan, so they know how they can best support you when the time comes.

Further help and information

NCT's helpline offers practical and emotional support in all areas of pregnancy, birth and early parenthood: 0300 330 0700. We also offer antenatal courses which are a great way to find out more about birth, labour and life with a new baby.

Join in with NCT on Facebook and Twitter - it's a great way to make new friends and stay in touch with old ones. Or joint our community for new parents on Google+ where you can connect with other parents online who are experiencing similar things.