At 36 weeks, you're just two weeks from being considered a full-term pregnancy. All you need to do now is to continue to take good care of yourself and wait for your baby to arrive. Until then, you can make a list of everything you need, review your lessons on birth (try not to worry), and try to enjoy the last preggy weeks you'll with your family.
Pregnancy signs Week 36
At Week 36 of your pregnancy, your weight gain should have plateaued a little. You have almost reached your recommended weight gain at 25 to 35 pounds if you have an average body mass index pre-pregnancy. Expect to still gain just about half a pound a week until your due date, which will go mostly to your baby.
Putting on weight has taken a toll on your body. Putting on your undies feels like hard work. You're also "waddling" now instead of walking.
Your uterus is moving down near your pelvis. If you were to give birth now, your baby will be considered two weeks premature and he needs to be confined at the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) of your chosen hospital to make sure everything is okay.
Pregnancy symptoms Week 36
Your pregnancy symptoms at Week 36 are now less about having a growing uterus than learning to recognize labor signs. If you haven't attended a birth class, make sure to ask for your doctor's help.
Alert your doctor and get to the hospital emergency room immediately if you feel any of the following:
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your contractions are becoming more regular, stronger, longer, and you're out of breath after each one
your water bag is leaking or has ruptured
you feel severe or sharp pain in your abdomen
elevated blood pressure
if your baby isn't moving as much
The above are not just labor signs but also red flags that indicate pregnancy complications such as preeclampsia and placenta problems.
If you're unsure about any symptoms, old or new ones, don't hesitate to ask your doctor. Here are some of the typical symptoms you will feel at at 36 weeks.
Better breathing and eating
First-time moms will notice their baby bump dropping or descending (another term for this is "lightening") into their pelvic area. As a result, your lungs, and diaphragm have more space to take in more air, which is why you breathe more easily now. You can eat better now than the previous months since some pressure on your stomach may be lifted. But you probably don't have the appetite for a big meal at this stage.
Pelvic pain and discomfort
Your ligaments are loosening to help your baby make his way into this world. Your baby is positioning himself nearer your pelvic area in time for birth. These are the two main reasons you feel more pressure and pain on your lower back and abdomen, pelvic area and even your hips.
When your belly tightens and it feels like you're about to give birth, these may be Braxton Hicks or false labor contractions. They are mild and irregular, don't increase in intensity or frequency, and usually go away when you shift positions. If you're unsure if it's Braxton Hicks, consult your doctor.
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Pain and discomfort are the main reasons you might have trouble sleeping. Now that you're in your third trimester, sleeping on your side with the help of a pregnancy can make you feel comfortable. Try meditation or drinking warm milk before bedtime to relax you.
Applying moisturizers should help ease mild itching of the skin and prevent or manage rashes and stretch marks. These are typical pregnancy symptoms, but if it prevents you from getting on with your daily activities, have it checked by your doctor.
Heartburn and indigestion
The relaxed muscle valve between the stomach and esophagus and your enlarged uterus pressing on your stomach are to blame. Eat slowly and drink after you've finished your meal. Avoid eating spicy, greasy, and fatty food.
Constipation, bloating and gas
Hormones and the pressure your baby has been putting on your digestive system is not likely to ease up until you give birth. Drink lots of water and eat fiber-rich food. Also, try not to strain too much when you poop to avoid developing hemorrhoids.
Frequent urination, incontinence
Your growing baby is pressing on your bladder, so you need to empty them more often, or you might find yourself accidentally peeing when you sneeze or cough. Don't wait too long before going to the bathroom to pee either.
Increased vaginal discharge
Increased vaginal discharge help prevents infection and preps your body for labor. If you notice a "bloody show" or a red-tinged, sticky, and a gelatin-like substance on your undies, it could be your mucus plug, which is a sign that you're about to go into labor.
Your baby is about as big as a papaya, measuring nearly 19 inches long and weighing close to 6 pounds. He has less room to move with his size now, but it should not change his activity in the womb. Continue to count kicks during your baby's waking hours.
Your baby's sense of hearing is extra sharp now, so talk or sing to him as he will recognize your voice when he's out of your womb. Your little one's liver and kidneys are now functioning to full capacity. He's been practicing 'breathing' amniotic fluid a lot, so he's close to being able to breathe air on his as soon as he's out.
His digestive system still needs maturing, and a lot of it will happen after birth when he starts taking in milk. Right now, your little one depends on the placenta for sustenance, but his sucking muscles are quite strong now. He's all ready for his first latch and breastfeeding, so expect him to be hungry the moment he arrives.
If your doctor gives you a third-trimester ultrasound at 36 weeks, you might see your baby already in a head-down position for birth. Don't panic if he still not there. There's still time for him to turn around, and most babies do just before it's time for delivery.
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Your to-do list on Week 36 of your pregnancy
You're probably starting to get anxious as your due date nears. Worrying won't help so distract yourself. Start a journal because writing is therapy enough. Or make lists to check if your affairs are in order before you go to the hospital. It can be a great relief just seeing those check marks.
Don't miss any prenatal visits
You're already on your 36th week, and so close to your due date now. You have to see your doctor for your prenatal schedules every week from now on, so make sure you don't miss any of them. It's crucial for your doctor to check your health and your baby's health status inside your womb.
Finalize your maternity leave
Is everything that concerns the filing of your maternity leave all set and done? Have you turned over your duties at work? If not, do so now and double check your financials as well. Make sure you don't overexert yourself if you choose to still go to work until it's time for you to go to the hospital.
Review your labor and delivery notes
You should have gone through at least one birth, breastfeeding and newborn care class, and so all you need to do is review everything you need when your due date arrives. Have your three hospital bags ready, do practice routes to the hospital, and make sure everyone involved knows your birth plan and postpartum care plan.
Nesting can help you check your baby essentials
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Your baby's nursery should be just about done by done and will only need some finishing touches. You can spend time waiting for your baby to arrive by checking your baby essentials, arranging his clothes, and redecorating. Don't forget to get a car seat. Spending time in the nursery and talking can also help calm your nerves.
Enjoy your last month pregnancy!
You might be having a hard time now that you're about to pop, but there are a lot of things you will miss once you're not pregnant anymore. Don't stress! Think of it also as the last month before a new addition to the family shakes up your dynamic, so spend time with your husband and your older kids, if you haven't done it as much as you'd like. Also, sleep as much as you can.