Congratulations, you are now 36 or 37 weeks pregnant. Now is time to make sure you have all your ducks in a row before the birth of your baby.
Are you ready for labor and delivery?
Are you ready to go to the hospital in a hurry if needed?
Are you ready with your baby checklist?
What about your baby’s room? Is it arranged to welcome your little one?
Did you already have a Baby Shower?
There are a lot of things to consider!
Mom, at pregnancy week 36 and 37 the space of your womb is now very limited for your baby. He or she is completely folded. You may be also finding it very hard to get into a comfortable position.
Your baby may be moving to birthing position now – with its head down. So it is time to have an internal examination to evaluate if your cervix is softened, dilated, or thinned. It is incredible how your uterus has expanded and become nearly a thousand times its original volume.
At this stage of pregnancy most women, especially first time moms, are very nervous because they don’t know about early signs of labor. Calm down Mom, just keep in contact with your doctor. Some research shows that babies can be affected by stress hormones. So make time to relax with your husband and family, have fun, and rest as much as possible.
At 37 weeks pregnant you are considered to be at full term and your baby’s final touches are being made, he or she is fully mature and ready to be born.
Some women experience swelling; this is very common at this stage of pregnancy. If you experience severe and sudden swelling, or the swelling is accompanied by swelling on the face, a bad headache, nausea, vomiting or a rise in blood pressure, then talk to your doctor right away.
Mom and Baby Changes
Mom: At pregnancy week 36 and 37 your weight gain is probably between 25 and 35 pounds. It is comprehensible because of the size of your uterus, womb, and baby.
You may have more frequent Braxton Hicks Contractions, so it is important to know the difference between a false alarm and true signs of labor.
Mom, your belly may be itchy, so use a lotion to relieve that symptom.
During these weeks you may be noticing also the following symptoms:
Lightening, which is also known as engagement. It occurs at 36 and 37 weeks pregnant when your baby is descending into the pelvis as a preparation for birth.
Frequent Urination. There is a good reason for this symptom, your baby is pushing against your bladder.
Hemorrhoids caused by the pressure in your pelvic area.
Vaginal discharge increases as you get closer to labor. However if you notice that mucus discharge is tinged with a small amount of blood, that could be a sign that labor is happening. Call your doctor in any circumstance that you don’t feel comfortable.
Other changes include increased restlessness due to tiredness and lack of sleep at night. Once again mom, try to relax and get some rest during the day. No matter what time you get to sleep, remember that you and your baby have gone through 37 weeks pregnant, it has been a big challenge.
Keep track of your baby’s movements, sometimes inside the womb babies go through very active days and not so active days. But as you approach to labor, movements become less. Keep in mind that 10 kicks for 12 hours is reasonable, otherwise call your doctor.
If you are feeling up to some challenge, try some light exercise like walking.
Baby: At pregnancy week 36, your baby’s primary job is to put more weight until he / she is born.
Your baby is practicing breathing by inhaling some amniotic fluid, and his / her bones are completely hardened and acquire a solid structure, but his / her skull remains soft and flexible for birth.
At 37 weeks pregnant, all the internal organs are well developed and the reflexes are fully functional. Your baby’s gums will become very rigid.
The length of your baby is around 35 cm (13.8 to 14.2 inches) and its weight is about 3000-3100 grams (6.6-6.8 pounds).
Dad: At pregnancy week 37, everything must be packed and ready to run to the hospital. Remember that you have to pack some items for you too because you should accompany your partner day and night. Help her to review the baby’s checklist and make sure not missing the essentials.
Continue going with your partner to the doctor every week for check-ups until delivery. These are necessary to help determine the health of your baby.
My own experience at 37 weeks pregnant:
At 37 weeks pregnant I was very afraid about water breaking before having any symptom of labor, and I asked my doctor for advice. She told me that only 15% of labors start with water breaking, and it was more common to feel contractions before the water breaks. I did not want to risk ruining my mattress, so I put a waterproof sheet on the bed. Fortunately I did’t need it.
As a rule of thumb, if you’re having a normal pregnancy and your contractions last one minute each and they’re happening every five minutes for at least one hour, it is time to rush to the hospital.
At 36 weeks pregnant my doctor told me that my baby was too big and she recommended a cesarean. I was very disappointed, but the health of my baby was first. I waited a week and a half more and my little Hector was born at 39 weeks.