Week 36

Your baby this week

5.7

POUNDS IN WEIGHT

Your baby is now considered full term.

He is now pointing the right way to come out.

He’s gaining around 1oz per day at the moment.

How big is your baby?

He’s edging closer and closer to his birthweight now, weighing 2.6kg (5.7lb). He measures 47.4cm (18.7in) which makes him about the size of a head of romaine lettuce.

How big is your baby?

He’s edging closer and closer to his birthweight now, weighing 2.6kg (5.7lb). He measures 47.4cm (18.7in) which makes him about the size of a head of romaine lettuce.

What does your baby look like?

He’s gaining around 1oz per day at the moment,so he’s looking a little bit plumper every day. He’s shedding the fine, downy lanugo hair that’s been covering his body, as well as getting rid of the vernix caseosa. However, you may still be able to see traces of this when he’s born.

Changes in your body this week

Increased pressure in your lower pelvic area could mean that your baby has moved down and is ready to engage (have his head right down in your pelvis, ready for birth). This is also known as ‘lightening’. While pressure may seem to increase down your body, when your baby engages you’re likely to feel a bit free-er in your upper abdominal area, making it easier to breathe.

But don’t worry if you haven’t felt this, some babies don’t engage until the moment labour starts. Whichever way you look at it, your body is gearing up for birth.

How your baby is developing

At the end of week 36, your baby is considered full term. He could literally be born any day from now onwards. But if you’re not feeling ready, don’t panic just yet. Only 5% of babies are born on their actual due date and most women give birth between 38 and 42 weeks.

By now he will be swallowing the lanugo and vernix caseosa that his body is shedding and it will then form part of the meconium (your baby’s first poo).

How your baby is developing

At the end of week 36, your baby is considered full term. He could literally be born any day from now onwards. But if you’re not feeling ready, don’t panic just yet. Only 5% of babies are born on their actual due date and most women give birth between 38 and 42 weeks. By now he will be swallowing the lanugo and vernix caseosa that his body is shedding and it will then form part of the meconium (your baby’s first poo).

If your midwife tells you that he’s in the cephalic position, this means that he is head down and pointing the right way to come out. Exciting news, indeed!

Health concerns

By now you are probably used to a fair amount of puffiness and swelling (pregnancy oedema), however, if you begin to experience puffiness around your eyes, or if there’s any sudden and excessive swelling of your hands, feet or ankles, then you should be checked out by your midwife. She will take your blood pressure and generally just make sure this further pregnancy symptom is nothing to be concerned about.

Are there any symptoms you should be looking out for?

If you experience contractions, along with any bloody vaginal discharge, watery discharge and/or any cramping or lower back pain before you reach 37 weeks, you should call your doctor or midwife right away as they can indicate preterm labour.

You have probably already experienced some ‘tightenings’ across your bump where the muscles go rock hard for a moment or two. These ‘false’ contractions are your body’s way of practising for the real thing. Known as Braxton Hicks contractions, they are typically identified as being distinct from labour contractions by being irregular and not painful. They can start happening from mid-pregnancy onwards and some women find they often feel them after sex, because the hormones produced during sex can trigger mild uterine contractions.

If you aren’t sure whether your contractions are practise ones, or the real thing, you can always talk to your midwife who will able to check to see if there’s any softening, or dilating, of the cervix which would indicate that real labour is on its way.

Safety first

At 36 weeks your bump is virtually as big as it’s going to get, you really need to be on the ball with safety in the car. The correct way to wear your seatbelt whilst heavily pregnant is below your bump, between your breasts and away from your neck. Plus, there should ideally be 10in between your chest and the steering wheel. If you find this makes driving uncomfortable, or difficult, then it may be time to delegate the driving duties to someone else for your final few weeks of pregnancy.

Important issues this week

If there are any last minute beauty procedures that you’d like done before the birth – hair, nails, waxing, etc. – then this is pretty much your last chance to get it all done. In this age of social media, an immediate, post-birth, slightly-flushed-but-happy-looking photograph of you and your baby seems to be an essential – but don’t worry. You will look amazing whatever state your hair is in, because you’ll just have brought a new life into the world.

Keeping fit, staying healthy

Don’t lose heart – it’s still possible to maintain your fitness at 36 weeks. You mustn’t overdo it, but light weight training (with mini or very light weights) and moves such as hip bridges and pelvic tilts are fine (unless your doctor has advised you otherwise); your tummy will now prevent you from doing normal stomach crunches. It’s a great idea to stay in shape approaching the birth – 30 minutes a day is more than enough to maintain your fitness level. You can also carry on walking for exercise right up to the birth, if it’s comfortable. Post-37 weeks, walking can even help to kick-start labour, if that’s where your body is at.

Looking forward; planning ahead

Now is the time to make sure that you have planned your “I’m in labour!” trip to the hospital. Phase one of this plan needs to be a practise run along the exact route that you will take on the day. It’s a good idea to spend some time identifying the best (quickest!) route. Make sure the car is kept filled up with petrol and that your phones and cameras are charged. It’s also a good idea to have a small bag of change for parking at the hospital. Keep a list of phone numbers (community midwife, labour ward, taxi company) all together somewhere so it’s easy to grab when you have to go.

Important – If you or your child are unwell you should seek medical advice from a professional – contact your GP or visit an A&E department in an emergency. While My BabyManual strives to provide dependable and trusted information on pregnancy and childcare 24/7 via our website pages, we cannot provide individual answers to specific healthcare questions.
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