Congratulations! You are now entering the last month of your pregnancy. Able to function on the outside with limited assistance, many hospitals consider your 36th week to be an acceptable time to induce labor if necessary due to any medical complications for either mom or baby. Certainly babies who are born closer to the 39th week will transition more smoothly than a 36 week delivery, but babies are born at this age regularly.
For the next few weeks, you may have mixed emotions about the birth. On one hand, your aching body parts are ready to face the big day, and on the other hand you may still have some fear of the unknown.
If you haven’t made a list of what to bring to the hospital yet, this is a good time to get all your loose ends tied up. Keep all important numbers on speed dial, and have a bag packed for the hospital and enough gas in the car to get to the hospital. Your hospital bag should include a nightgown or two, a pair of slippers, a change of clothes, toothbrush, toothpaste, soap, shampoo, and snacks and supplies for your partner as well.
It’s been awhile since you saw your feet for any long period of time and even longer since you could tie your shoes easily—but those days are soon to come to an end.
At week thirty-six, the baby is completely developed and has come full term. By now, the baby will continue to move around and start their descent into the pelvic area if they haven’t already.
From head to toe your baby is about 20 inches or so, and weighs about 6 pounds. Certainly there are exceptions to this rule, and your baby could be much larger or smaller. Remember that these weighs and lengths are guidelines and do not reflect every pregnancy.
The baby’s brain is still developing at a fast rate, and your baby continues to practice blinking, sucking, and breathing, as well as gaining additional weight.
Changes to Your Body
Your friends fatigue, swelling, constipation and heart burn are still hanging around. You have been pregnant for the last 9 months, and for some women if feels like 9 years. While you want a healthy baby, you don’t want to be pregnant anymore and packing around your little passenger is starting to feel like a pretty big deal. It is perfectly normal to think that way. Most new moms to be have those thoughts more than once as they near the end of the pregnancy.
You may be experiencing restlessness, lack of sleep, mood swings and sensitivity thanks to your hormonal changes. Just make sure to let your doctor know if you have symptoms of depression—which do strike some women during pregnancy.
The uterus is now 6 inches or more above the belly button and the uterus is about 1000 times its normal size. As the baby continues to move, you may start to feel more and more pressure in the lower abdominal area. You are making more trips to the bathroom and just getting up can feel like a task.
Week 36 brings about the start of weekly doctor’s appointments as well.
What to Expect
You may have 3 or 4 more weeks of pregnancy left, or you may not. You are going to continue to go to the doctor every week and have the normal and routine check-ups until delivery. These are necessary to help determine the health of the baby in these last few weeks. If you are feeling anything that you have not felt before, it is always important to make sure that you discuss how you are feeling with your doctor.
Try to get as much rest as you can in these next few weeks. Try to stay close to home and always keep your phone close and your cell phone charged. The uncertainty of delivery could be just ahead. In some cases, your doctor may schedule an induction in coming weeks, but this doesn’t mean that you won’t go into labor on your own.
You are down to the final weeks; it is time to prepare a hospital bag and have baby’s room in order. If you are still working, remember to take it easy and put your feet up for a few minutes each day if possible. Do your best to eat right and try some light exercises if you are feeling up to the challenge.