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Pregnancy Calendar – Week Thirty-One

Now about sixteen inches long and weighing a little over three pounds, your baby begins another growth spurt. The baby’s body, arms, and legs are filling out as fat layers are added. The baby’s adrenal glands are producing an androgen-like hormone that is circulated in the blood.  When this hormone reaches the placenta, it is made into estrogen. The estrogen goes through your bloodstream and produces prolactin in your body which stimulates milk production in your breasts.

While you are probably excited about finally seeing your baby, you may also be stressed. It is natural to be anxious about labor, and you may also be irritable with people around you. Changes in your hormone levels during the last several weeks of pregnancy can affect your neurotransmitters, which are the brain chemicals that regulate your mood. As a result, the emotional ups and downs you may have gone through in your first trimester may also be felt now as your body prepares for the birth of your baby. Remember—if you feel yourself getting tense—take some “space” for yourself. Spend time each day doing something you enjoy; you can also try doing daily stretching and relaxation exercises.

Hot Topic: Breast Sensitivity

Your breasts will become more sensitive in the third trimester as your pregnancy progresses. It is also normal to have drops of a clear or pale yellowish substance leaking from your breasts. This is colostrum—it is what comes before the milk to nourish your newborn baby during the days after birth. Colostrum is rich in the nutrition and antibodies that your baby needs for protection from infections during the first few days. You can wear nursing pads in your bra if leaking is a problem. If you plan to breastfeed, you can wear a nursing bra now, especially if your current bra is too tight. You should get a nursing bra at least one size bigger than your size now, because once your milk comes in after the baby is born, you will need the extra room.

Eating For Two: Lunch

In place of the balsamic dressing, you can use your favorite bottled salad dressing. You can also add or substitute your favorite vegetables.

Kay’s Garden Pasta

For dressing:

  • 3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • Two garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tablespoon fresh basil, minced
  • 1 tablespoon fresh oregano, minced
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

For pasta salad:

  • 1 cup zucchini, cut into bite-size pieces
  • 1 cup broccoli florets
  • 1/2 cup chopped red pepper
  • One (6-ounce) package whole-wheat pasta (penne or fusilli are good choices), cooked according to label directions
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Directions

1. Mix the ingredients for the dressing in a bottle and shake until mixed; or whisk in small bowl.

2. Combine the vegetables and pasta in a large bowl.

3. Pour the dressing over the pasta and vegetables. Toss until mixed.

4. Chill for one to two hours. Sprinkle the Parmesan on top and serve.

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