What to expect at 36 weeks pregnant? Starting with week 36, you should start seeing your caregiver or midwife about once a week. Since only 5% of babies are born on their due date, you’d better get ready in case that your tiny human decides to leave Hotel Utero earlier. In fact, this can happen at any time during the remaining 4 weeks. With all organs now fully developed, he’s got to do just some bulking up before he’s ready to hit the outside world and meet you!
As your baby — and belly — grows, there’s less space available in your uterus, which usually makes eating a normal-size meal quite a challenge. It’s better to eat smaller meals to ease up the discomfort. Soon, your baby will “drop” down into your pelvic area, a process called lightening. It occurs a few weeks before labor, and may put extra pressure on your bladder, cervix, and vagina. This can make walking more uncomfortable, and result in even more frequent trips to the bathroom. The good news? Breathing is a lot easier now that your ballooning uterus isn’t crowding your diaphragm anymore!
Braxton Hicks contractions will also occur more often than before. As a rule of thumb, if you have contractions that last about one minute each, coming every five minutes or so for an hour, then labor may be close. Keep an emergency number at hand, just in case you may need to get to the hospital and your partner or someone else isn’t available to take you there.
You might also feel your nesting instinct kick in this week, giving you an irresistible desire to keep everything clean and neat in preparation for the baby’s arrival. Make sure not to exhaust yourself, though — if you have the energy to do housekeeping and de-cluttering, then go with it!
Your Baby at 36 Weeks
When you're 36 weeks pregnant, your baby is getting ready to meet you! How big is a baby at 36 weeks?At 18 1/2 inches long and almost 6 pounds, your little one is the size of a papaya right now. Layers of fat are piling on his little body — and he’s got some more growing to do before birth. Normally, a baby weighs around 7.5lbs at birth, but if yours isn’t there yet, don’t worry!
At this point, he’s shedding both lanugo and vernix caseosa, the waxy substance that protected his skin against the effects of bathing in amniotic fluid for nine months. Your baby swallows both of these substances, which will result in meconium, a blackish substance that will form the contents of his first bowel movement. The blood circulation and immune system are ready for the outside world right now, but we can’t say the same about his digestive system, which still has some development to do first. At the end of this week, your baby is considered “early term” (before 37 weeks he’s “pre-term”; at 39-40 weeks he’s “full-term”). By now, he has probably moved into the head-down position in your uterus, and has descended into your pelvis.
Ultrasound Images of 36 Week Pregnancy
Bellies at 36 Weeks
The most important thing to do this week is to get plenty of rest — you need it! Don’t feel bad about switching your phone off or letting the voicemail pick up.
Have you packed your hospital essentials? No? Then go ahead and start making preparations, before the baby decides to hit the outside world earlier. Also, keep all handy numbers within easy reach; by hand, we mean hospital emergency numbers, your midwife’s phone number, and also your partner’s phone number if he’s not home with you.
Make sure to visit your caregiver once a week for checkups — both you and your baby need them!