At 36 weeks pregnant, you’re inching closer to meeting your baby. Keep reading to learn what to expect during this time in your pregnancy!
In this article:
- What Does the Baby Look Like in Week 36?
- What Are the 36 Weeks Pregnant Symptoms You’ll Experience?
- What Should You Do When 36 Weeks Pregnant?
- What to Do When Travelling at 36 Weeks Pregnant?
- Are You Safe to Deliver Your Baby at 36 Weeks?
- Is It Time to Prepare for Labor?
- How Do I Prepare for Contractions?
- When Is the Right Time to Go to the Hospital?
Important Questions at 36 Weeks Pregnant
What Does the Baby Look Like in Week 36?
By week 36 of your pregnancy, she’s the size of a piece of romaine lettuce and will be growing bigger in your womb at the rate of about an ounce a day.
There’s less room in the womb, but she’ll continue to move and kick right up until birth. Continue to observe his/her movements and call your doctor if there’s less of them.
Your baby’s lungs will be developed by this time, but they’ll stay deflated while she receives his/her oxygen from the placenta. This is what keeps babies from drowning during water births.
She will also be shedding the downy covering on his/her hair and body. Your baby swallows these amniotic fluids, and it’ll be his/her first bowel movements after birth.
What Are the 36 Weeks Pregnant Symptoms You’ll Experience?
1. Braxton Hicks
Braxton Hicks are the practice contractions you’ve been having since week 30. By week 36, you’ll be experiencing them more often.
Luckily, they’re not painful and are just your womb tightening to get you ready for labor. These contractions only get stronger once you’re at the end of your pregnancy.
Braxton Hicks Definition: Known as false contractions, Braxton Hicks does not open the cervix and cause labor. It can be uncomfortable and is said to feel like menstrual cramps.
2. Leaking Urine
Your pelvic floor muscles will also be preparing for labor. They’ll become slightly more relaxed, and you’ll find yourself leaking a bit of urine whenever you laugh or cough. This is normal by week 36, but you should still practice your pelvic floor exercises to tighten the muscles.
3. Swollen Feet and Ankles
Edema or swelling during pregnancy is often seen in the feet and ankles, but this can also happen to your arms, hands, and face.
If this symptom worsens around your hands and face, you should see your doctor to make sure it’s not eclampsia. You can prevent this by cutting down on salt and avoiding sitting or standing for too long.
Eclampsia Definition: A complication of preeclampsia, It’s a rare condition during pregnancy where high blood pressure leads to seizures.
As your body’s getting bigger, your organs are moved and pushed upwards. This can slow down digestion and force your stomach acid into the esophagus, which results in heartburn.
It may be uncomfortable, but it’s not harmful. If the pain doesn’t travel and remains near the top of your belly, you need to consult your doctor.
5. Better Breathing and Eating Habits
You may find yourself having more difficulty finishing normal servings of meals. Try to eat smaller meals more frequently to keep your nutrition up. Your baby will also start moving down to your pelvis, which will improve your eating and breathing.
6. Pelvic Discomfort
On the other hand, while your baby is moving down your pelvis, you may feel pelvic pain at 36 weeks pregnant. You may also need to go to the bathroom a lot more as the pressure on your bladder increases as well.
7. Changes in Your Discharge
You may notice your vaginal discharge increasing because your body is getting ready for birth. It’s important to keep an eye on whether it’s your normal discharge or signs of risk:
- water discharge can be amniotic fluid
- blood is a sign of preterm labor
- mucus-like discharge can mean losing the mucus plus which is a sign of labor
What Should You Do When 36 Weeks Pregnant?
Tip #1: Sleep on Your Side
During your third trimester, sleeping on your side can help decrease the risk of stillbirth. This tip applies to both night sleeping and naps during the day.
Tip #2: Have a Perineal Massage
A perineal massage targets your perineum, which is the area between your vagina and anus. Have a perineal massage every week before the end of your pregnancy. This can help decrease the chances of needing to cut the perineum during birth.
You can ask your partner to give you a perineal massage or do it yourself. Use 1-2 fingers to massage the vagina, and then massage downwards toward the perineum.
Tip #3: Start Thinking About Pain Relief
It’s time to start thinking about your pain relief options during labor and birth. If you plan your pain relief option this early, you’ll feel a lot calmer and in control during labor. Here are ways to ease your contractions during labor:
- Epidurals are very effective and a few mothers choose to have them. It is a local anesthetic injected in between the spinal nerves in the lower back.
- Nipple stimulation can increase the release of oxytocin in the body which helps stimulate contractions. This is why it’s encouraged to breastfeed your baby after birth to help continue your contractions until the womb is all out.
What to Do When Travelling at 36 Weeks Pregnant?
By this time, you will no longer be allowed to board a plane. It’s also best to avoid any kind of long travels away from home through a car or boat. At 36 weeks pregnant, you can go into labor at any time, and it’s better to stay near your hospital or at home when it happens.
Are You Safe to Deliver Your Baby at 36 Weeks?
During this time, your baby is just about ready to meet you. She’s almost at the average weight of most births. Your baby’s lungs are developed and she’s moving down your pelvis in a head-down position.
His/her immune system and blood circulation are ready for the outside world, but his/her digestive system will take a few months to fully develop before she can eat solids.
Though it is safe to deliver, this is still the early term. There are health risks and complications that exist for babies born during this term, and they may still be admitted to a neonatal intensive care unit.
Is It Time to Prepare for Labor?
When you’re pregnant at 36 weeks, you should start preparing for labor. At every appointment, your midwife or doctor will check the baby’s position to find out if his/her head is in the right position for birth. Another important thing to prepare yourself for is contractions.
How Do I Prepare for Contractions?
The best way to prepare for contractions is to learn more about them. Contractions are also symptoms which can help you tell when it’s time. Your first contractions will be easier to go through because they won’t be as painful and will have longer intervals.
You can prepare for the stronger contractions by being in a comfortable position through the first contractions. Practice gentle breathing and always keep moving to relax. This will help you feel more in control as the contractions progress.
When Is the Right Time to Go to the Hospital?
During this week of your pregnancy, you should have your hospital bag packed and ready. When your contractions are stronger and longer, lasting from 50-60 seconds, and occurring more regularly every 5-6 minutes, it’s time to go to the hospital.
Always call the labor ward before leaving the house so they can prepare a bed for you.
During the 36 weeks pregnant stage, the baby is facing an upright position even though she’s yet to be born, and things are feeling more real than ever. Watch this video from Health Tips to know everything else you need to know about your 36th week of pregnancy:
At 36 weeks pregnant, there are a couple of changes you’ll be experiencing. If there are any unusual changes like a reduction in your baby’s movements or frequent and unbearable pain, you should contact your doctor or midwife right away.
Whether or not you think it’s nothing, it’s much better to be sure that you and your baby are safe.
What other questions do you have about week 36 during your pregnancy? Share your questions with us in the comments section below!