Miracle of Life – Weeks 31st to 34th

Post Date: September 13, 2023
Author: Laura Stephens

Just as you do not know how the life breath
enters the human frame in the mother’s womb,
So you do not know the work of God,
who is working in everything.
– Ecclesiastes 11:5

Though we have spent weeks studying the intricate details of the weeks of pregnancy, there are still so many mysteries and miracles that occur that we have yet to understand. We appreciate the gift of science that allows us to better support and maintain pregnancies to ensure that babies have the best possible health and development. We are grateful for the incredible medical field that supports pregnant mothers and their pre-born babies as well as those who support birthing whether full term or when the baby is preterm. We also ask forgiveness for the uses of science that destroys or manipulates this precious miracle of life. May we all seek ways to speak out for life and to cherish it at every stage.

Thirty-First Week  

The baby’s growth is now about the length of a burp cloth and is about 3.75 pounds. The baby is practicing some skills needed after birth like blinking in addition to breathing. Their blinking rate is still very slow about 6 to 15 times every hour whereas an adult blinks around 19-20 times per minute. Breathing practice increases from a previous of about 20% of the time to now about 40% of the time. The lungs are maturing, but the body cannot yet make the necessary surfactant that allows the lungs to breathe on their own. The brain of the baby is sending many messages to the body as it is practicing controlling functions. This is considered the last week of the pre-term time for a baby and survival odds are at 99% with NICU help.

Thirty-Second Week

The baby’s length is about the same as a highchair seat and weighs about 4 pounds which is the weight of a cantaloupe. The baby has likely turned upside down in the mother’s womb to be in the best position for birth. Some babies take longer, but the doctor will keep an eye on the baby’s position weekly at this point. The body temperature of the baby is being better regulated now by the baby. This ability to regulate temperature is due to an increased production of a protein and enzyme that generate body heat.

The baby’s movements are now not as forceful as before since much of the space inside of the womb is decreasing with the baby’s increased size and length. By this week, the startle reflex that newborns have after birth can be seen in the pre-born baby too. This is a natural defense reflex to sensation of falling or being startled. It will help notify if in danger and give the parent notice that something is wrong. This type of built-in protection is important since the baby cannot protect their body from any danger at this early defenseless stage of life.

Thirty-Third Week

The baby is now about the length of a bathmat and weighs 4.5 pounds. The baby’s bones are mostly hardened now except for the skull which must stay supple and pliable to compress as needed to pass through the birth canal. There are spots in the brain that will stay soft for a year or so after birth to allow room for the continued development of the baby’s brain. The baby’s lungs are now producing the necessary surfactant. The baby is storing iron in the liver that will be used for up to 6 months after birth. The baby is just beginning to show a sucking response. Practicing sucking and swallowing more now will continue to strengthen the respiratory and digestive systems. The rooting reflex is starting, which is when the check is touched, and the baby turns the head and opens the mouth. This prepares the baby for nursing or bottle feeding, which will be the new way to seek nourishment.

Thirty-Fourth Week

The baby is similar in length to an activity walker and weighs about 5 pounds or the size of a large pineapple. Most of the baby’s major organs have developed enough to function on their own but each week of life inside the womb gives the baby a stronger and healthier start to life. The vernix that was the thick coating over the skin has reached peak is will now begin to fall off into the amniotic fluid. The baby will then swallow it with the amniotic fluid increasing the development of the stomach and intestines. The amniotic fluid itself is at its highest volume around the baby at this week. This incredible fluid has been helping the baby develop its muscles, bones, lungs, and digestive system.

No one else will ever know the strength of my love for you, after all, you’re the only one who knows what my heart sounds like from the inside.

(Baby Love Quotes)

References:

Resources include: https://www.pregnancybirthbaby.org.au/pregnancy-week-by-week, https://www.webmd.com/baby/your-pregnancy-week-by-week-weeks-21-25 and https://www.verywellfamily.com

Baby Love Quotes retrieved from https://www.pap,erheartfamily.com/quotes-about-babies-love/

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