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Week 36 of Pregnancy: All You Need to Know

Baby Development|Body and Life Changes|Your Doctor Visits
Week 36 of Pregnancy: All You Need to Know

Baby Development

How is my baby growing?

In week 36 of pregnancy baby development, you and your baby are inching closer and closer to that due date. Your baby’s quick pace of growth happened throughout 35 weeks or six months. However, by week 36 of pregnancy baby development, growth slows down. Your baby needs to store energy for the process of going through labor. Any additional size might make coming through the birth canal a more difficult exercise for both you and the baby.

By week 36 of pregnancy baby development, your baby is getting ready for the big push. Your baby’s lungs are fully developed, so week 36 of pregnancy baby development means that your baby is ready to take their first breath of air outside your womb. As your baby develops in the outside world, the antibodies your baby cultivated inside the womb will continue to grow stronger.

By week 36 of pregnancy baby development, your baby’s digestive system is fully developed. However, the baby is still dependent on the nutrients received through the umbilical cord.

Body and Life Changes

How is my body changing?

Entering the last month of pregnancy, your baby is just about ready to go out into the world. Along with the full development of your baby inside your womb, you might notice your body adapting and getting ready for childbirth.

All the usual symptoms of your third trimester will still be here. These include:

  • Fatigue
  • Frequent need to urinate
  • Heartburn
  • Possible leakage in your breasts
  • Frequent urination
  • Swelling of ankles, fingers, or face
  • Trouble sleeping
  • An elevated sense of anxiety; however, this is perfectly normal and should not be a cause for concern to feel more stress

One possible positive experience is “lightening.” This happens when your baby drops deeper into your pelvic cavity and relieves the upward pressure you feel in your diaphragm coming from your uterus. In addition to relief, lightening can allow you to take deeper breaths, and eating heavier meals will not feel as daunting as before since your stomach will not feel cramped anymore.

What should I be concerned about?

By week 36 of pregnancy baby development, it is important to always be mindful of possible labor signs, like regular contractions. This is because some babies may come to term earlier than expected.

Contractions can feel like your uterus is tightening or cramping up. Some describe the sensation to be similar to menstrual cramps. During a contraction, your stomach will feel hard when you touch it. Contractions come in waves. They will intensify, climax, and then subside. As the gap between each contraction shortens, the peaks will come sooner and last longer. It is important to track your contractions as this can help your doctor when delivering the baby.

An occasional tightening of the uterus or stomach may lead most mothers to think that they are experiencing labor. This may be “Braxton Hicks” or false labor contractions. Mild and irregular in nature, these contractions are usually your body’s way of practicing for the real thing. These contractions usually stop when you switch positions, drink fluids, or have a warm bath. If you don’t know if you are experiencing Braxton Hicks or real labor symptoms, consult with your doctor.

Besides contractions, you will likely experience symptoms that have been constant throughout your third trimester. Here are some of the symptoms that you could be experiencing:

  • Fatigue
  • Leaky breasts (colostrum or breast milk)
  • Heartburn
  • Frequent urination
  • Swelling of ankles, fingers, or face
  • Trouble sleeping

Your doctor may check-up on your baby if it is ready for delivery. Most babies will turn by the 36th week of pregnancy, but not all do. Some babies choose to turn later than the 36th week.

Your doctor will do a check-up and confirm if your baby is in breech position. Breech means that your baby needs to be delivered bottom first instead of head first. Your doctor may recommend options if your baby is confirmed to be breech. One of these recommendations may be an external cephalic version, more commonly shortened as ECV. ECV is a non-surgical procedure to coax the baby into turning downwards.

Your Doctor Visits

What should I tell my doctor?

A month before labor, you should be having weekly prenatal visits to your doctor. It is important that you not miss any of these visits as this allows your doctor to assess the condition of you and your baby in the coming weeks before childbirth.

If you feel some concerns about having a breech delivery, now would also be a good time to communicate with your doctor.

Childbirth options

By now you should already have a plan for how you will deliver your baby. The Philippine Department of Health greatly encourages facility-based births or births done in a hospital to ensure the successful delivery of your baby. Its National Safe Motherhood program will ensure that you and your baby’s needs are met during both pregnancy and childbirth.

Action Plan

Along with weekly visits to your doctor, here are some tips for the expected due date, especially as you go through week 36 of pregnancy baby development:

  • Finalize your maternity leave
  • Review possible labor and delivery notes from classes attended
  • Make sure your essential childbirth bag is packed for that visit to the hospital
  • Get a car seat for your baby
  • Eat more protein
  • Read up on pre-labor signs
  • Spend time nesting
  • Relax and keep anxiety low
  • Hydrate
  • Remember to still eat balanced meals

Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

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Written by Sky Abundo Updated Sep 28, 2021
Medically reviewed by Jobelle Ann Dela Cruz Bigalbal, M.D.