At 36 weeks pregnant, you are finally finishing up month 9, which means that your baby is going to be in your arms before you know it. You are probably spending your time reading up on the birthing process, revising tips from the childbirth class you took and updating people at your workplace about your projects so that they can take over should you go into labor sooner than expected. It can be both scary and exciting, anticipating such a big change, but have faith in yourself to get through this bravely.
There are only a few weeks before your little one makes their way into this world, so try to spend time with your friends and partner this week. If you thought looking after your 36 week baby bump was a tough job, then looking after a newborn is going to take up even more time.
Thus, it is important to get a lot of quality time your loved ones, so that you can spend these last few weeks celebrating the end of this journey with all your favourite people. These are the moments you will look back on and smile, once your tiny one has grown up.
The size of the baby at 36 weeks is around 18.7 inches from the crown to the heel, weighing approximately 5.8 pounds. If you want a more visual image, this means that the size of the baby at 36 weeks is around that of papaya.
The kidneys and liver are working well, while circulation and immunity systems are ready to take care of the baby in the outer world. The skin is getting softer and smoother, whereas the gums are now rigid. Baby is also getting closer to the time when they will be able to breathe on their own.
Your belly most likely won’t grow much from your 36 week baby bump, so you can now gaze at it in all its glory. You may have gained around 25 to 35 pounds for single baby mothers and 35 to 45 pounds for those pregnant with twins.
At this point, you may just be waddling around from place to place, because of all this extra weight. As much as you may want to just give birth already, remember that more time in utero is always good for the baby. So, settle into your cosy maternity dresses and let your baby’s movements soothe you.
Your 36 weeks pregnant symptoms are just your body’s way of indicating that the big day is soon. As the baby readies themselves for delivery by settling into their final position, it can take the pressure off one area, only to transfer it to another. We know that you have probably had enough of all these aches already, but hold on just a bit longer, for your precious little one. When you hold them close to you, all these discomforts will seem negligent in the face of that joy.
At this point, it can be difficult to tell the symptoms of pregnancy apart from the signs of labor. So, in case you are concerned over anything, no matter how small, tell your doctor immediately. After all, when it comes to thing like these, it is always better to be on the safer side.
That being said, here are the 36 weeks pregnant symptoms that you may experience:
1. Pelvic discomfort
As the baby gets ready to come out, they are now settling lower in your abdomen, putting pressure on your pelvis. Remember to keep an eye on the signs of labor, such as regular, persistent contractions that get stronger with time.
2. Ability to breathe easier
Even though you may be feeling uncomfortable around your pelvis, one good thing that comes out of it is that baby is no longer crowing your lungs, which means that you can now breathe easier.
3. Trouble sleeping
You may find yourself up at odd hours of the night because of all the symptoms as well as nerves. Try to create a soothing and relaxing atmosphere around yourself, so that sleep can come easier.
Mild swelling around the ankles, feet and hands due to accumulation of excess body fluids in tissues is normal for this time of pregnancy, even more, if you are pregnant with twins. Still, keep an eye on it, because if there is any sudden or severe swelling, you need to call your doctor immediately.
Heartburn during pregnancy can be an annoying symptom, especially when you are already feeling tired. Try to go for non-spicy, non-greasy and non-acidic foods to ease the effects. Ask your doctor if it is okay to take an antacid.
6. Changes in vaginal discharge
You know by now that increased discharge from the vagina is just your body’s way of preparing for delivery. A thick, mucus-like discharge, which may be tinged with blood, could be a sign of your mucus plug being discharged from your body, which indicates that labor is near. However, watery discharge or even blood could be a sign of preterm labor, so make sure to call your OB immediately in case of any such concerns.
7. Braxton-Hicks Contractions
That irregular tightening in your abdomen may still be happening this week and it may feel more intense. However, if you are experiencing cramps that are as painful as menstrual cramps at the minimum, or more severe, then call your OB immediately.
Read up on the difference between practice contractions and actual labor pains, so that you know how to recognise the latter. Always call your OB at the slightest concern, just so you know what exactly is happening to you.
At your prenatal appointment this week, a 36 weeks pregnant ultrasound may be conducted for a couple of possible reasons.
First, if the doctor checks the baby’s position and finds them to still be with their head up i.e. in a breech position, they make try a version procedure to get the baby in a heads-down position. In this, the doctor will attempt to turn the baby by pushing or lifting your belly.
This is a low-risk procedure where you may be given medication to relax your uterus, after which a 36 weeks pregnant ultrasound will be conducted to see the baby’s position along with the location of the placenta. Then, using this ultrasound as a guide, the doctor will move your belly to try and turn the baby. Your baby’s heart rate will be monitored before, after and maybe even during the procedure, just to make sure that things are all fine inside.
However, sometimes the baby may also turn on their own in the next few weeks, so it depends on whether your doctor feels the need to conduct this procedure or not.
A 36 weeks pregnant ultrasound may also be taken in a biophysical profile, in case you are pregnant with twins or have a high-risk condition. In a biophysical profile, a combination of an ultrasound and non-stress test is taken to see how your baby is doing inside.
Around this time, a Group B Strep test may also be taken to test your body for the presence of Group B Strep bacteria, using a vaginal and rectal swab. Around 10 to 30% of women test positive for this and in case it happens with you, don’t worry. You’ll just be given an antibiotic drip during labor to significantly reduce chances of transmitting the bateria to the baby.
For these final weeks, make sure that you are on the top of your self-care game, so you can finish this pregnancy most healthily.
Continue with your healthy, balanced diet that is rich in nutrients while also taking your prenatal vitamins. Make sure to keep drinking sufficient water daily as well.
Finish your maternity-leave plan
Every pregnancy is different and sometimes, things may happen earlier than planned, especially when you are in these final stages of your pregnancy.
So, finalize your maternity-leave plan at work, update your colleagues about the status of your projects and take care of any other details. That way, you can spend your delivery and the time after that without stressing over these things.
Prepare your hospital bag
Even though you have probably done this by now, it doesn’t hurt to cross-check if you have packed everything you may need when you go to the hospital for delivery, such as insurance information, copy of your birth plan, snacks for your partner, a camera, toothbrushes, comfortable pyjamas, things that will help you relax, books or magazines, etc.
Find a Paediatrician
If you haven’t done this already, it is good to decide on a paediatrician in this period. Ask your friends and family members for recommendations and call to schedule a tour with the selected doctors. This way, you will know firsthand just how comfortable you are with a particular doctor so that you can make your decision confidently.
You are almost there, so just hang on for a little bit longer. We know that you just can’t wait to meet your baby, so we are here to hear about all the excitement and nervousness that you are feeling right now. You are doing well and you will do well in that important moment because you have immeasurable love and strength within you.