36 Weeks Pregnant

36 Weeks Pregnant: The 36th Week Of Pregnancy

You have reached 36 weeks pregnant, and your baby could arrive at any time. We hope you enjoy these last several weeks of pregnancy. Get the Fetal Life App for Apple and Android endorsed by the American Pregnancy Association.

What changes are occurring with your body when you are 36 weeks pregnant?

Your baby is continuing to put on the weight (about an ounce a day), but you will most likely not notice a change in your own weight. You may feel like there is no room left for your baby to grow and maybe very tired of feeling so “big”, but remember that the longer your baby is in its protective environment up until its due date, generally the better it is. You may notice an increase in the amount of Braxton Hicks contractions you experience. Many women experiencing Braxton Hicks head to the hospital, only to be told that they are actually experiencing a false alarm or false labor. While this can be incredibly frustrating, it can be a good practice run for getting to the hospital. True labor contractions will eventually follow Braxton Hicks contractions.

How big is your baby?

Your baby is likely between 17 ½ to 19 inches (44.5 to 48.3 cm) long and weighs 5 ¾ to 6 ¾ pounds (2.6 to 3.1 kg).

What is happening with your baby?

The fine downy hair (lanugo) that has covered your baby’s skin is beginning to disappear, along with the vernix caseosa. Vernix caseosa is the thick, creamy substance that has protected your baby’s skin while submerged in amniotic fluid. Your baby will swallow both of these, along with some amniotic fluid, which combines together to form meconium, your baby’s first bowel movement. Your baby should be in the head-down position, but do not panic if your baby has yet to reach this position. If your baby is still not head down by next week, your health care provider may suggest trying an external cephalic version, a method to correct a breech presentation. For more information regarding this procedure, please read about breech births.

What should you plan for during the 36th week of pregnancy?

When you have your appointment this week you should be prepared for:

  • Cervical cultures, specifically Group B Strep
  • Discussion of External Cephalic Version (ECV) if your baby is in a breech presentation
  • Discussion regarding the possibility of a cesarean or VBAC

Packing for the hospital can be a cumbersome task. Now that you have reached 36 weeks, it is best to go ahead and start this. Talk with other women for ideas, and see our recommendations regarding packing for your birth. Some basic items to remember are:

Essentials for Mom

  • Health insurance card
  • Breast pads – You will need these whether or not you are breastfeeding because they stop leaks by absorbing milk.
  • Going-home outfit – Choose one that fit when you were 6 months pregnant.
  • Sanitary pads – Many women feel more comfortable when they bring their favorite brand with them; just make sure they are designed for a heavier flow.

Essentials for Baby

  • Infant car seat and infant head support You will not be allowed to leave the hospital without one; include the instructions.
  • Going-home outfit
  • Newborn diapers

Tips for making your pregnancy better:

If your breasts make you uncomfortable during the night, you may want to begin sleeping in a nursing bra. Nursing bras provide much-needed support even before your baby is born. These can also be worn during the day if they feel more comfortable.

Tips for mom’s partner

While it is essential that your partner has her bag packed for the trip to the hospital, there are also items you can pack to prepare for the delivery of your baby. Here are a few suggestions:

  • Change of clothes
  • Pajamas if spending the night
  • Bathing suit- This is important if your partner is planning on a water birth or using the birthing pool during labor.
  • A watch with a second hand
  • Video/camera-Make sure this is okay with your partner first. Also, don’t forget to bring extra batteries, chargers, etc.