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36 Weeks Pregnant: Everything You Need to Know

36 Weeks Pregnant_ Everything You Need to Know

When you’re 36 weeks pregnant, you’re officially at the start of your 9th month!

The main event here is that your baby starts to drop lower into your pelvis. Unfortunately, that can possibly cause pelvic pain and make walking difficult.

Keep reading to learn more about your body’s and baby’s development during this week.

Your Baby’s Development

Your Baby’s Development

Your baby’s growth will slow down in the next weeks, so you might not see too many changes in week 37 of your pregnancy.

This is so your little one will fit through your birth canal. At the same time, they’re storing up all the energy that’ll be needed for delivery.

However, there are also some developments compared to week 35.

Fetal Skull and Bones

Your baby’s skull bones aren’t fused together yet, so moving through the birth canal is relatively easier. 

Aside from their skull, most bones and cartilage are soft too. These also make for an easier delivery

The bones will harden over time. Meanwhile, much of the flexible cartilage will be replaced by bone throughout childhood too. On top of that, some bones will fuse over time too.

That’s why newborns have 275 bones and adults have only 206. 

Digestive System Still Isn’t Fully Developed

Actually, your baby’s digestive system has already developed — it just hasn’t been operational. That’s because they’ve relied on the umbilical cord the whole time they were in the womb.

So, a baby’s digestive system won’t be fully mature until after birth. This will happen in the first year or two of their birth.

By this time, your little one swallows two substances they’ve started shedding.

  1. Lanugo – the downy covering of hair
  2. Vernix caseosa – the waxy substance that protected their skin in the womb

These will make a blackish mixture that you’ll see in their first few poops.

How Big Is My Baby at 36 Weeks?

At 36 weeks, your baby is around 46 to 48 cm — about as big as a head of romaine lettuce or papaya. They’re also about 2.7 kg.

Your Body at 36 Weeks

Your Body at 36 Weeks

Your body has changed so much since the start of your pregnancy — from more body odor to a more sensitive sense of smell.

There are still more changes you can expect this week.

Pregnancy Walk or Waddle

In my third trimester, I remember adopting the penguin waddle. It turns out I’m walking like that, not just because I’m carrying a big load in front.

Instead, it’s because hormones are causing connective tissues to loosen and soften. This process will help your body squeeze your baby through your pelvic bones.

Baby Drops Into Pelvic Cavity

This process is called lightening and is probably one of the more comfortable periods of my pregnancy.

That’s because, as the baby drops into your pelvic cavity, the pressure your uterus puts on other organs is relieved.

For instance, your diaphragm lets you take bigger and deeper breaths again. Thanks to that, you won’t be experiencing as much shortness of breath as you did in the previous months.

You’ll also be able to eat a full meal more comfortably because your stomach isn’t as squished anymore.

Pelvic Pain

Joint flexibility is great since it will help you push your baby during delivery. Unfortunately, this also causes pelvic pain.

On top of that, the baby’s head is burrowing deeper into your pelvis, so your uterus also feels like it’s weighing you down.

Common Symptoms You May Experience

Common Symptoms You May Experience

Below, I’ve listed some common symptoms you can expect when you’re 36 weeks pregnant.

1. Changes in Fetal Movement

You’ll feel less jabbing and kicking from your baby at this point. Instead, expect a lot of squirming since they have less room to maneuver around.

2. Heartburn or Indigestion

Even if your baby drops to your pelvis, they’d still crowd your digestive system because of how big they are.

Try to take smaller meals and antacids (if your doctor approves). Don’t rush while eating too.

3. Frequent Urination

Once your baby drops to your pelvis, they’ll crowd your bladder even more.

Don’t cut back on liquids, even if it can feel tiring and annoying to keep waddling to the bathroom at this stage of your pregnancy. Your body and baby still need to stay hydrated.

4. Vaginal Discharge Streaked With Blood

Vaginal discharge will start to look different the closer you get to labor. The mucus can be clear, pinkish, brownish, or streaked with a bit of blood. 

An early sign of labor is a thick glob of discharge, which could be your mucus plug dislodging. When this happens, you might experience a “bloody show” — which is a darker, bloody discharge.

However, consult your doctor immediately if your water breaks. The amniotic fluid is typically clear or slightly yellowish. It’s watery and odorless or slightly sweet-smelling.

When water breaks, the fluid will leak continuously. This can come out as a trickle or in a big gush.

6. Edema

Pregnancy swelling is more noticeable since your body is starting to retain your fluids. Aside from your feet and ankles, your face, hands, and fingers can be swollen too.

However, sudden or severe swelling can be a sign of something more serious — so consult with your doctor.

7. Insomnia

I’ve found sleep to be harder to come by since it can be harder to find a more comfortable position.

However, other pregnancy symptoms can also cause insomnia.

  • Leg cramps and restless leg syndrome
  • Aches and pains
  • Baby’s movements
  • Nausea
  • Heartburn and constipation

Tips to Help You Through Week 36

Tips to Help You Through Week 36

You’re probably going through more during this period than in the previous months. So, you can keep pampering yourself — whether it’s getting your nails done or indulging in (safe!) food cravings.

Below are more tips that can get you through this week.

1. Keep an Eye on Movement Changes

Your baby has less room for kicking and jabbing, so they’re resorting to squirming instead.

Keep track of your baby’s frequency and pattern of movements so you can alert your doctor if there are any changes.

Try eating a snack or sipping a sugary drink to feel if your baby perks up.

2. Stock Up on Vitamin B6

Vitamin B6, also known as pyridoxine, helps your and your baby’s body use the protein for cell-building. B6 is especially important for your baby’s brain and nervous system development.

This vitamin is found in prenatal vitamins. However, you can also get it from foods — such as bananas, brown rice, tomatoes, and meat.

3. Address Your Labor Concerns

Talk to your healthcare provider and ask all the questions you have about the labor and delivery process.

Pre-labor can last a few hours to a month, and signs and symptoms can differ per person. So, it’s best that you get all your concerns answered before you enter this stage.

This is also a good time to start or continue with a perineal massage to lessen the risk of your perineum tearing during childbirth.

4. Get a Strep Test 

At week 37 or 36, your doctor will test you for group B strep (GBS), a type of bacteria in the vagina.

GBS is generally harmless to adults, and only 1 in 4 women have it. However, it can cause a serious infection in a newborn during delivery.

If you happen to test positive, you’ll be given antibiotics through an IV during labor. This is so there’s less risk of you passing it to your baby.

5. Pack Your Hospital Bag

Get your hospital bag ready this early so you can just grab it when you need to go to the hospital. 

Important items to put in your bag are:

  • Toiletries
  • Labor and delivery gowns
  • Snacks
  • Phone charger

Your partner (or whoever will accompany you to the hospital) should also pack their own hospital bag.

6. Learn to Deal With Pelvic Pain and Pressure

Pelvic pain is very common at this stage in your pregnancy. However, there are several ways to help relieve your discomfort.

  • Wear a pregnancy support belt.
  • Sit or lie down with your feet up.
  • Ask your doctor if you can take a warm bath.
  • Know the difference between pressure and labor pain.

7. Tolerate Bland Food

Yes, sadly, you’ll have to tolerate blander food for a bit more — and trust me, it will help prevent any discomfort later on. You should especially go for bland food if you’ve been experiencing heartburn.

So, avoid foods that are high in citrus or vinegar. Steer away from fried foods as well.

Rest assured that you can still eat seafood as long as they’re low in mercury. You can also continue eating chocolate — but eat in moderation and get chocolate that’s ideally low in sugar.

Conclusion

By 36 weeks, you’re almost to your due date!

You may feel like your body is putting you through too much. However, all these are happening because you have a baby on the way.

If you have trouble managing your symptoms, consult a doctor or reach out to others for support.

Nayna Llenos
Nayna Llenos

Hi, I’m Nayna!
I’ve always wanted to be a mother, and I’m lucky and blessed to have two wonderful children to care for and love.
Despite this blessing, there are times wherein I do wonder if I truly am the mother my children need. Am I giving them the right food, care, and discipline to them?
But that is the beauty of parenting — you grow along with your children as they flourish to be their wonderful selves!
I wish to share my experiences with motherhood and how these tips can help you in your parenting journey.
I hope my advices and experiences will prove useful to you and that you have a smooth and wonderful journey as a mother!