Week 36 of Pregnancy
Your Baby in Week 36 of Pregnancy
Forget your aching back (and everything else!) by trying to focus on your baby, who is now about six pounds and 20 inches long, with soft bones and cartilage to allow a safer journey through the exit door. Most of her systems (from circulatory to musculoskeletal) are ready for prime time, though her digestion system — which has done only practice runs so far — will kick into gear as she takes her first suckle at the breast or bottle.
Learn more about your baby in week 36 and fetal development.
Your Body in Week 36 of Pregnancy
It’s a good thing your baby’s almost done cooking, since your body may feel pretty “done” by now as well. For one thing, you’re doing the full-term pregnancy waddle, the result of the hormone-triggered loosening and softening of your connective tissue. This is your body’s way of getting ready to squeeze a big baby out of a small space. Unfortunately, those loose joints can lead to some pretty serious hip and pelvic pain — but hang in there!
Learn more about your body in week 36 and the pregnancy walk or waddle.
Week 36 Pregnancy Tip: Infant and Child CPR Classes
Chances are you’ll never have to use this skill, but knowing how to perform CPR on a newborn or a toddler is just plain smart. There are plenty of classes out there, including low- or no-cost options at your YMCA, hospital, community center, or local chapters of the American Red Cross or American Heart Association. (Your childbirth-education class might even include baby CPR in its curriculum.) Another option — and a potentially fun one at that: Throw a CPR party at home, which allows you to share child-care resources (and appetizers) with other new parents. Whichever setting you choose, make sure you find a certified instructor (ask your practitioner for a referral) who will come equipped with “bogus babies” to practice on. (Good luck getting down on all fours to practice those first-aid breaths with your belly in the way!)
Learn more about children’s health.
Week 36 Pregnancy Symptoms
Changes in fetal activity: As your baby’s quarters get more cramped and she has less room to maneuver, expect her movements to change too. You should still feel her moving, but there will be less jabbing and kicking, and a lot more squirming.
Heartburn or indigestion: As your stomach gets pushed up and squeezed by your uterus, you may feel like eating less at mealtimes. That’s not necessarily bad news. Smaller meals are better for your digestive system and may actually control heartburn.
Flatulence: As if heartburn weren’t enough, you’re probably passing gas and burping like a frat boy. This too shall pass (pun intended). In the meantime, go for smaller meals (which will help the heartburn) and try not to rush while eating (you’ll swallow more air).
Constipation: If it’s getting worse, blame your belly again (a convenient scapegoat!). The same mini-meals that will help ease heartburn and flatulence are also a good way to counteract constipation — and for the same reason. They won’t tax your digestive tract as much.
More frequent urination: Your baby might have dropped into your pelvis by now, crowding your bladder. So it’s no wonder you’re going to the bathroom as much as you did during your first two months of pregnancy. Don’t cut back on liquids — your body needs fluids to stay hydrated now more than ever.
Increased vaginal discharge, possibly tinged with blood: The discharge from your vagina may be increasing and getting thicker. Don’t be shocked if you notice the mucus is pinkish, red, or brownish after you’ve had sex or a vaginal examination. That just means that your cervix, which is sensitive now and may be starting to dilate, has been bruised.
Pelvic pressure and discomfort: Feeling pretty heavy down there in the pelvic region? That’s your baby burrowing deep into the pelvis as she prepares for birth, with her head pressing down on your bladder, hips, and pelvis. Try some pelvic tilts, or take a (long) soak in the tub to give yourself a break.
Itchy abdomen: Your belly might be stretched to the breaking point (or at least feel that way). Creams containing cocoa butter or vitamin E can soothe that itchy abdomen and bring some relief. (Better still, get your partner to rub it on your belly and do some bonding with the baby underneath!)
Increased swelling of ankles and feet: Edema (pregnancy swelling) may be getting more noticeable now as your body retains more fluids. So not only will your ankles and feet be swollen, but your face and hands (and fingers) may be too. Keep drinking water and other liquids. All those fluids will help rid your system of excess sodium and other waste products, which will minimize swelling.
Difficulty sleeping: Sleep may be more elusive than ever as you toss this way and that looking for the perfect position. Make sure your room isn’t too stuffy (you’re sure to feel overheated as the night wears on) by opening a window or lowering the thermostat.
Fatigue or extra energy: It’s normal to be tired by the time you hit week 36. But you may also get the burst of extra energy known as the nesting instinct — a need to get organized and ready for the baby. If you do feel energized, take breaks to rest and eat.