When you reach week 36, you will most likely only have a couple more weeks to go until you meet your newborn child. Before that happens, there are a few things you need to know about the stage of week 36 pregnancy.
Baby’s Growth by Week 36
The 36th week is a big one in terms of your baby’s physical development. By this point, your daughter or son weighs approximately six pounds and is more than a foot-and-a-half in length. To help you better envision these dimensions, your baby is about as a tall as a head of romaine lettuce.
Your soon-to-be newborn is also undergoing some necessary changes to prepare to exit the womb. A waxy substance known as vernix caseosa has protected his or her skin up until now, but it is starting to shed away. Additionally, your baby’s body will start shedding the downy hair that has covered their entire body.
Week 36 Pregnancy: The Mother’s Body
By the time you enter the week 36 pregnancy stage, your baby will be taking up a lot of room inside your body! Because of this, it is common to have a difficult time eating large meals. Instead, focus on eating several smaller meals throughout the day in order to provide you and your almost newborn with enough nutrition.
Some women experience a sensation known as lightening during the 36th week. This is most common with first-time mothers, and it can give you some much-needed relief from heartburn. On the other hand, it is not unusual for the baby to drop far enough this week that women begin feeling a lot more pressure in their lower abdomen. If this happens, you may need to urinate even more frequently. It is also possible that you will start having difficulty walking this week.
Common Symptoms During Week 36
One of the most common issues that women deal with during the 36th week is an increase in Braxton Hicks contractions. These contractions can fool you into thinking that you have gone into labor, but there is one big thing that sets them apart: Braxton Hicks contractions do not become steadily more intense and closer together, unlike the real thing.
Even though they will not lead to the birth of your child, Braxton Hicks contractions can still be painful and uncomfortable. If this happens to you, there are several techniques you can utilize to relieve the pain. For example, changing positions may make the pain stop. Please note that this method will not work if you are in true labor, so this is something to try if you are uncertain. You can also drink two glasses of water, take a warm bath, or do some deep breathing to relieve the pressure of false contractions.
Week 36 Activities
The vast majority of women give birth between the 38th and 40th week of their pregnancy, so it is definitely time to start preparing. You should not travel any long distances this week. Even if an emergency situation arises, you may find it difficult to find an airline that is willing to let you board this close to going into labor.
If you have not already built a phone tree for spreading information after you go into labor, now is the time to do so. Get people involved so that you or your partner only need to make one or two calls in order to let everyone know.
You may also wish to start putting together an overnight bag for the hospital. After all, your baby could technically come at any point during the next four weeks. Right now, any birth would be considered early, but not pre-term. In fact, you are only about a week away from having a full-term baby.
When Should I Go to the Hospital?
Because it is possible to go into true labor this week, it is important to have a good understanding of when you should seek medical attention. Pay close attention to any contractions that you experience so that you can determine whether or not they are the real thing versus Braxton Hicks. If your contractions become closer together, longer, and more painful, you have entered the first stage of labor. You will be able to ride out most of this stage in the comfort of your own home, but you will know that you are officially in the transition between stage one and stage two when your contractions start lasting at least a minute and have gaps of only two to three minutes. When this happens, it is time to be at the hospital or in the presence of your midwife!
Now that you know more about what to expect throughout your 36th week of pregnancy, it is time to make sure your house is ready for its new occupant. Your baby will have many needs during the first year, including a crib, diapers, clothing, and a car seat. Acquiring these items in advance will make your life much easier when it is time to bring your newborn home.
Romaine Lettuce Photo Credit: Forest and Kim Starr via flic.kr
Featured photo credit: David Veksler via flic.kr