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Your Baby at Week 36
Baby’s Growth Is Slowing Down
Forget your aching back (and everything else!) by trying to focus on your baby, who is now about six pounds and 18 to 19 inches long.
Growth will slow down in the coming weeks, both so your baby will be able to fit through the narrow passageway to the outside and so she can store up all the energy needed for delivery.
36 Weeks Pregnant Is How Many Months?
If you’re 36 weeks pregnant, you’re in month 9 of your pregnancy.
Only a few weeks left to go!
Still have questions? Here’s some more information on how weeks, months and trimesters are broken down in pregnancy.
Fetal Skull and Bones
When you’re 36 weeks pregnant, your baby’s skull bones are not fused together yet so the head can easily (well, relatively easily) maneuver through the birth canal.
And your baby’s skull isn’t the only soft structure in her little body.
Most of her bones and cartilage are quite soft as well (they’ll harden over the first few years of life) — allowing for an easier journey into the world during delivery.
Baby’s Digestion Still Needs to Catch Up
By now, many of your baby’s systems are pretty mature, at least in baby terms — and just about ready for life on the outside.
Blood circulation, for instance, has been perfected and your baby’s immune system has developed enough to protect your little one from infections outside the womb.
Others, however, still need a few finishing touches.
Once such notable example:
digestion — which actually won’t be fully mature until sometime after birth.
Why? Inside her little gestational cocoon, your baby has relied on the umbilical cord for nutrition, meaning that the digestive system, though developed, hasn’t been operational.
It will take the first year or two to bring it up to speed.
Your Body at Week 36
Pregnancy Walk or Waddle
Welcome to your last month of pregnancy!
It’s a good thing your baby’s almost done cooking since your body may feel pretty “done” by now too.
For one thing, by 36 weeks pregnant, you’re doing the penguin waddle many third trimester moms-to-be adopt.
That new walk is not in your imagination; it’s in your connective tissue, which those hormones are loosening and softening.
And that’s particularly important now that you’re nearing D-day.
Your baby — who’s grown quite large by this point — needs to fit through your pelvic bones, so it’s good that they’re more flexible at this stage.
It’s your body’s way of getting ready to squeeze a big baby out of a small space.
The downside to all this joint flexibility (besides the resemblance you now bear to your feathered friends) is pelvic pain.
Add the pressure from your baby’s head burrowing deeper and deeper into your pelvis and your heavier uterus weighing you down, and it’s no wonder it’s a pain to walk around these days.
To relieve the discomfort, relax with your hips elevated, do some pelvic exercises, take warm baths, apply warm compresses, get a massage or try some complementary and alternative therapies.
A belly sling may be helpful too.
Baby Drops (“Lightening”)
There is a happy upshot, believe it or not.
As your baby drops into your pelvic cavity (and keep in mind that not all babies drop before labor begins), the upward pressure of the uterus on your diaphragm is relieved.
Once this “lightening,” as it’s known in the pregnancy business, strikes, you’ll be able to take bigger and deeper breaths.
Your stomach also won’t be so squished anymore, making eating a full meal more comfortable.
Infant and Child CPR Classes
Chances are you’ll never have to use this skill, but knowing how to perform CPR on a newborn or a toddler is just plain smart.
There are plenty of classes out there, including low- or no-cost options at your YMCA, hospital, community center or local chapters of the American Red Cross or American Heart Association.
Your childbirth education class might even include baby CPR in its curriculum.
Another option — and a potentially fun one at that:
Throw a CPR party at home, which allows you to share childcare resources (and appetizers) with other new parents.
Whichever setting you choose, make sure you find a certified instructor (ask your practitioner for a referral) who will come equipped with “bogus babies” to practice on.
(Good luck getting down on all fours to practice those first-aid breaths with your belly in the way!)
36 WEEKS PREGNANT
It’s month 9 already?
Time is flying!
Since baby really could decide to arrive any day now, try to put in your final prep work at 36 weeks pregnant.
For example, if you took a childbirth class a few months ago, re-read the materials you were given and practice the breathing techniques you learned with your partner.
Go over your plan for getting to the hospital and all the what-ifs.
Update your boss and colleagues of the status of all your work projects so they know where to take over if you’re suddenly out of the office.
Week 36 of pregnancy is also a good time to enjoy a date with your partner.
We’re guessing you won’t be up for dancing, but how about a nice dinner?
How Big Is Baby at 36 Weeks?
At 36 weeks pregnant, baby is as big as a papaya, measuring about 18.7 inches from crown to heel and weighing in around 5.8 pounds.
36 Weeks Pregnant Is How Many Months?
36 weeks is eight months pregnant.
Welcome to the first week of month 9!
You’re just four weeks away from your due date.
36 WEEKS PREGNANT SYMPTOMS
When you have just four weeks to go, pretty much all your symptoms have to do with the fact that baby’s almost here.
Your 36 weeks pregnant symptoms may include:
Better ability to breathe.
As baby descends into your pelvis, your lungs will have more space, and you’ll be able to breathe more deeply.
Pelvic discomfort. You’re feeling this one for the same reason you can breathe again!
Baby’s down low, putting pressure on your pelvis.
Look out for signs of labor though, including regular, persistent contractions.
Finding yourself up at 3 a.m. writing thank-you notes or reorganizing the closet?
We’ve been there! Find some ways to relax even if you aren’t getting much shut-eye.
Your growing baby is crowding your digestive system, preventing it from working the way it did when you weren’t pregnant.
Antacids can help (as long as your doctor has okayed them).
Prevent heartburn as much as you can by avoiding citrusy, spicy, vinegary, and greasy foods.
(No fun, we know, but it’s worth avoiding the pain.)
Swollen ankles and feet.
Minor swelling is totally normal at 36 weeks pregnant and you’re even more likely to have it if you’re 36 weeks pregnant with twins.
You might find that almost as soon as you deliver your baby, it completely disappears. Seriously!
But severe or sudden swelling can be a sign of a serious problem, so let your doctor know ASAP.
Changes in vaginal discharge.
At 36 weeks pregnant, discharge may increase as your body readies itself for birth.
But look out for watery discharge (which could be amniotic fluid—call your doctor!), blood (a sign of preterm labor), or mucus-like or blood-tinged discharge, which could be the mucus plug.
Losing the mucus plug is a sign labor is very near.
Just how near though, we can’t say!
Braxton Hicks contractions.
You’re probably still experiencing tightening in your abdomen, and it might be getting more intense.
In fact, some pregnant women show up at the hospital thinking they’re in labor only to get turned away.
Note that at 36 weeks pregnant, cramps that are at least as painful as menstrual cramps aren’t due to Braxton Hicks.
If you’re experiencing something more severe, tell your OB right away.
Because at 36 weeks pregnant signs of labor can tough to tell apart from regular pregnancy discomforts, you’ll want to tell your doctor if anything seems out of the ordinary.
It’s worth the call. And yes, even a trip to the hospital to find out it’s false labor is totally okay.
The worst that could happen is you get sent home to relax and wait.
36 WEEKS PREGNANT BELLY
At 36 weeks, your pregnant belly probably won’t seem to change much from week to week.
You’ve probably gained close to 25 to 35 pounds total—the recommended total amount of pregnancy weight gain for women of normal BMI.
That’s probably making it challenging to move (or really… waddle) around.
You won’t be putting on too much weight from here on out—probably only about a half-pound each week until baby’s born.
If you’re 36 weeks pregnant with twins, you’ve probably gained 35 to 45 pounds total.
To say your belly is crowded is an understatement.
While many twin moms deliver around week 36, there’s a chance you and your pair might hold on for a few more weeks.
Remember that the longer you go, the less likely it is that your babies will need NICU time after birth.
So even if you’re feeling super uncomfortable, hang in there and remember this extra time in utero is so good for the twins!
36 WEEKS PREGNANT ULTRASOUND
At 36 weeks pregnant, baby’s liver and kidneys are in working order.
Circulation and immune systems are basically good to go.
Now, baby is getting closer and closer to being able to breathe on his or her own.
Plus, your 36-week fetus’s skin is getting smooth and soft, and his or her gums are rigid.
At your week 36 prenatal appointment, your OB may check baby’s position. At this point, baby should already be in a head-down position.
If not, he or she is considered “breech.” Don’t panic if your baby at 36 weeks is breech.
There’s still a good chance he or she will turn naturally.
Your OB may want to do a version procedure for a breech baby.
A version is an attempt to turn baby by pushing and/or lifting your pregnant belly.
Sounds rough (and we hear it doesn’t feel great), but don’t worry.
It’s a low-risk procedure and it works more than half the time.
Beforehand, you might be given medication to relax your uterus.
You’ll have a 36 weeks pregnant ultrasound, so the doctor can clearly see baby’s position and the location of the placenta.
Ultrasound may also be used during the procedure to guide the doctor’s movements.
And baby’s heart rate will be monitored before, after, and possibly even during the version to make sure all seems well.
Fingers crossed things are soon looking up… er, down?… for baby.
You’ll get a Group B Strep test around week 36 of your pregnancy.
This is a test to see if you have a common bacterium called (you guessed it) Group B Strep in your body.
If you do, you might never even notice it, or it might cause a problem such as a UTI.
For baby though, the bacteria could cause more severe problems and could even be life threatening.
About 10 to 30 percent of pregnant women test positive for Group B.
Treatment is simple: You’ll need an antibiotic drip during labor to significantly reduce the chances of transmitting the bacteria to baby.
If you’re 36 weeks pregnant with twins or have a high-risk condition such as high blood pressure or kidney or heart disease, you may have a biophysical profile this week.
This combo of ultrasound and non-stress test gives your doctor a pretty good picture of how baby’s doing and rules out the need to deliver early.
36 Weeks Pregnant: Your Baby’s Development
Your baby will likely have gained about two pounds over the past few weeks, and he’s probably already reached the length he’ll be when he’s born.
He’s plumping up, becoming less wrinkled, and is generally starting to look more like the baby you’ll meet in just a few weeks.
All that growth means he doesn’t have quite as much room to move around at this point, because he’s now taking up most of the available space inside the amniotic sac.
However, you’ll probably still feel plenty of movement in there from time to time.
So, just how is your not-so-little guy going to make it through the birth canal when you go into labor?
At this point, his skull bones are developed, but they haven’t yet fused together.
This means they can move and overlap, allowing the head and body to pass through your cervix and pelvis a little more easily.
For this reason, if you give birth vaginally, his head may look slightly misshapen when he’s born but will return to a more normal, rounded shape in a few hours or a few days.
The skull bones will then fuse together over the first two years of his life.
Mom’s Body at 36 Weeks Pregnant
You’re now 36 weeks pregnant, so just how many months along are you?
Because the weeks of your pregnancy don’t always fit neatly into months, you could be in your ninth month (or even your tenth!) as you begin this final stretch of pregnancy.
From now until you give birth, you may be going for checkups with your healthcare provider every week.
During these appointments, you can expect to have your weight, blood pressure, and fundal height checked.
Your provider may check your cervix to see if it’s preparing for labor.
She may also check your baby’s position — whether he’s head down or not.
You may have started to notice extra pressure on your pelvis and bladder lately as your baby settles lower in your pelvis in preparation for birth.
The upside of this change is that there is now less pressure on your diaphragm and lungs, which is why this change is sometimes called “lightening.”
Though you may be uncomfortable as your baby drops, at least you’ll be breathing a little easier!
36 Weeks Pregnant: Your Symptoms
As your baby drops lower into your pelvis, you’ll likely find yourself heading for the ladies’ room a bit more frequently.
You may even be waking up to pee several times during the night.
There’s not much you can do to alleviate this annoying symptom until your baby comes, but try to take bathroom breaks whenever possible, and make sure to fully empty your bladder each time you go.
Don’t be tempted to skimp on; it’s important to stay hydrated, even if it means a few more trips to the bathroom.
If you find that you’re leaking a little urine when you laugh, cough, or sneeze, wearing a panty liner may help you feel more comfortable, and Kegel exercises can also help improve bladder control.
Braxton Hicks contractions.
The closer you get to your due date, pre-labor or “practice”
contractions can get stronger and can make you think you’re experiencing one of the signs of labor at 36 weeks pregnant.
One of the important differences between Braxton Hicks and true labor contractions is timing.
When you’re really in labor, your contractions will come at regular intervals and will occur closer and closer together.
Braxton Hicks contractions, though, do not strike at regular intervals and can sometimes be relieved by moving around or changing positions.
Download and print our handy contraction tracking chart to help you time your contractions to see if they’re the real deal.
If you’re in any doubt, contact your healthcare provider.
Despite all the advice you may be getting about resting as much as you can now before your baby arrives, you might actually be finding it quite hard to get a good night’s sleep.
Your larger belly can make it tough to find a comfortable sleeping position, so try using extra pillows for support under your belly and between your legs.
If insomnia strikes, it can also help to make your bed and bedroom as comfortable as possible.
Try leaving your smartphone in another room before you go to bed, and perhaps try some light stretching or meditation to help you fall asleep.
If you still find that you’re having trouble getting a full night’s rest, a quick power nap or two during the daytime can give you the energy boost you need to get through the day.
Numbness in legs and feet. Your growing body can put increased pressure on some of the nerves in your legs, feet, or even hands.
This can cause a numbness or a tingling feeling from time to time.
These symptoms should subside once you give birth, but if you find them troublesome until then, talk to your healthcare provider.
She may recommend ankle or wrist splints, or that you simply rest your hands or feet as much as possible.
Thanks to your body retaining extra fluids while you’re pregnant, some swelling in your legs and feet is to be expected.
If you experience any pain or discomfort, try to spend less time on your feet, and prop your feet up on a pillow or stool when you’re sitting down.
Comfortable shoes and even support hose or stockings can also help.
Lower back pain.
At 36 weeks pregnant, it’s not uncommon to be feeling some lower back pain.
The hormone known as relaxin starts loosening the joints and ligaments in your pelvis in preparation for labor, causing back pain that you might notice when you sit, stand, or climb stairs, for example.
Talk to your healthcare provider if you’re experiencing lower back pain.
She may recommend some gentle stretching exercises that can help relieve your discomfort.