Welcome to the last month of your pregnancy. You’re exhausted from carrying around your growing belly and probably also worried about the delivery. Relax and enjoy the last four weeks of your pregnancy. Your baby will benefit immensely from the last few weeks in your uterus.
Pregnancy week 36
When you are 36 weeks pregnant, your baby will move into your pelvic cavity. This process, known as lightening, helps to lower the pressure on your diaphragm. The rapid growth period of your baby will come to an end this week. If your baby is born now, he will be considered moderately premature.
1. Nesting instinct
Though you may be tired most of the time, you may get a sudden burst of energy and an urge to clean and organize. This desire to prepare and get ready for a baby is known as nesting instinct. It is useful as it helps to occupy your mind and get prepared before your baby arrives. However, you should take care to not overdo it and tire yourself out.
Insomnia is expected during the third trimester of pregnancy. The size of your belly makes it difficult to get comfortable in bed. Frequent trips to the washroom, leg cramps, and heartburn can also make it difficult to sleep well.
3. Leaky breasts
You may notice a thin yellow-colored fluid leaking from your breasts during the third trimester. Known as colostrum, his fluid provides nutrition to your baby during the first few days of his life. You can use nursing pads if leaking colostrum makes you uncomfortable.
4. Changes in baby’s movements
As the space inside the uterus gets more cramped, your baby has less room to maneuver and thus is not able to kick as much. You may still be able to feel your baby squirming now.
5. Frequent urination
As your baby has dropped into the pelvis now, he is putting more pressure on your bladder. You may have to visit the bathroom as frequently as you did during the first two months of your pregnancy. You may also find yourself leaking a bit of urine as you cough or sneeze. This happens because your pelvic floor muscles are relaxed in preparation for your delivery.
6. Braxton Hick’s
You may have more Braxton Hick’s contractions now. These false contractions become incredibly powerful towards the end of your pregnancy, and you may mistake them for real contractions. Braxton Hick’s contractions are irregular and do not cause any pain.
7. Digestive troubles
You may be suffering from digestive issues like heartburn, gas, bloating, and constipation. Pregnancy hormones and the increased pressure on your stomach by the uterus are to be blamed for this. Eat small, more frequent meals. Eat slowly so that you do not swallow more air.
8. Itchy belly
As your belly expands, your skin gets stretched and becomes dry and itchy. Apply a light and gentle moisturizer on your skin to soothe the itchiness.
9. Swelling in feet
You may notice more swelling in your feet and ankles now. Drink plenty of water and other fluids to lower the levels of sodium and other waste products in your body.
Your body when you are 36 weeks pregnant
At week 36, your body has already started making changes in preparation for the birth of the baby. The joints and ligaments in your pelvis loosen to make room for the exit of the baby. Your cervix is elongated and contains the mucus plug. This plug began to form when the fertilized egg implanted into the wall of the uterus to prevent bacteria and viruses from entering the uterus (1).
In the coming weeks, you will pass this mucus plug, which is an indication that labor is near. Your milk glands have begun to expand and fill with colostrum, so your breasts may feel a bit lumpy.
Your baby at week 36 of pregnancy
Your baby now stretches to almost 19 inches long and weighs about 6 ¾ pounds. He is rapidly shedding lanugo and vernix from his body and is already in the head-down position.
- Your baby’s growth will slow down in the coming weeks.
- His hearing is well-developed, and he can now recognize your voice.
- Your baby’s bones in the skull are not fused together so that he can come through the birth canal easily.
- Your baby was busy building fat in the last few weeks, and now 15% of his body weight is fat.
- Your baby’s immune system has now developed enough to protect him from infections outside the womb.
Tips to be followed when you are 36 weeks pregnant
1. Pack your hospital bag
Your delivery date is coming close, so pack your hospital bag ahead of time. Leave your bag in a place that is easy to access. For things that cannot be packed earlier, tape a list to your bag as a reminder.
2. Pick a pediatrician
It’s time to choose a pediatrician for your baby now. Ask your family and well-wishers for referrals and meet the potential pediatricians. Choosing a pediatrician ahead of time can help to reduce the stress of looking for one later.
A balanced diet helps improve your and your baby’s health. It also helps to reduce your recovery time after delivery. Make sure your diet is rich in proteins as it essential for the fast-developing brain of your baby. Lean meats, eggs, fish, nuts, and seeds are good sources of proteins.
4. Perineal massage
The perineum is the area between the anus and the vagina. Massaging this area for a few weeks before the birth can reduce the chances of episiotomy (cutting the perineum) during delivery. To massage the perineum, put one or two fingers into the vagina and massage towards the perineum. Perineal massage during labor also helps to reduce perineal trauma (2).
5. Take rest
You may be noticing swelling in your feet and ankles these days. Take rest whenever you can and put your feet up. Lying down on your left side also helps to increase circulation and prevent swelling. Remember, reducing your fluid intake will not reduce swelling. S, drink plenty of water, and take rest.
Your pregnancy week 36 doctor’s visit
You are now in your 36th week and will now be visiting your doctor every week till the date of your delivery. During this visit, your healthcare provider or doctor will check your blood pressure and the presence of protein in your urine. Protein in urine and high blood pressure are signs of preeclampsia. You will also get a Group B strep test if it wasn’t done earlier.
Your doctor will check the baby’s position. Your baby should be in a head-down position. If your baby is breech at this stage, there is a good chance that he will turn naturally.
Tips for the partner
If you have other children, you must spend time with them. Older siblings are excited to have a new brother or sister, but they can also be jealous sometimes. Spend time with them and play with them so that they do not feel left out.
You are now in the 36th week of pregnancy, and your body is changing to get ready for the birth of your baby. Your baby has moved into the pelvic cavity, and your ligament and joints in your pelvis are loosening now. Your baby is almost 19 inches long now, and his immune system has now developed enough to protect him from infections outside the womb.
Continue to eat a balanced diet and take rest. Use this time to choose a good pediatrician and pack your hospital bag.
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