36 Weeks Pregnant – Baby Is Ready To Nurse!
This week your baby is ready to nurse, and your breasts may be ready too. Some moms experience that their breasts leak colostrum (the first, very nutritious breast milk) during this time of pregnancy. You can read about the magic components of breast milk, here.
If you’re lucky, you will find it slightly easier to breathe now, if the baby is engaged and hence positioned lower in your belly. If you have given birth before, it often takes longer before the baby is engaged, though.
In this article:
Your Baby’s Development
As the pregnancy is coming to an end, more babies are actually being born each week, altough they are still a bit premature. The mom to the left (Sarah from Charlevoix, MI, usa) was up for a surprise when she went for her pregnancy check up:
The last pregnancy check up I went to at 36 weeks pregnant I was having lower back pain (contractions) and apparently dilated enough to be considered in labor. 4 weeks before I was due.
I was nowhere near ready. In fact, I had planned on going home after that appointment and packing my bag not to mention my baby shower was scheduled a few days after that! Thankfully I was blessed with a completely healthy 7 lbs 8 oz baby boy.
The fetal age of your baby is now 34 weeks. He or she is almost ready to go! This is one of the final two weeks where your baby would still be considered premature if delivered. After 37 full weeks of pregnancy, a baby is considered full term.
Although most babies born at 36 weeks pregnant are perfectly healthy, they may still need some monitoring for some time as a precaution. The sucking reflex is now developed and the further you go into week 36, the less likely it is that your baby would have problems nursing if born.
The baby is still gaining weight, although the growth rate will slow down as your due date is approaching. Average weight this week is just above 6 pounds (2.7 kg) and the length is around 20 inches (47 cm).
The baby’s systems are in most parts now ready for the outside world. For example blood circulation and immune system are well developed, although a newborn baby is certainly sensitive to infections and in the case of breastfeeding will have additional protection through the breast milk.
There are a number of positions that your baby could move into this week in order to prepare for the birth date. While most babies born will move head down for a normal vaginal delivery, others have a different idea. Breach positioning, transverse, shoulder or brow presentations are other ways that your baby may want to try entering the world. If there are any concerns that you may have with your baby’s positioning, be sure to discuss them with your doctor or midwife. There are some measures that your health care practitioner may try in order to move your little one into a better position for the birth canal, or you may be scheduled for a caesarean section depending on your own health concerns.
The nesting instinct may kick into high gear this week as you begin to subconciously prepare for bringing your baby home. Many women find a burst of energy during this time that enables them to clean or organize their homes in preparation for the big day. Don’t overdo it, though! You’ll soon need that energy both for giving birth and for taking care of your newborn baby around the clock.
Also, if you don’t find this endless energy, don’t worry! Many women find the last month of pregnancy to be exhausting and do little in terms of cleaning or organizing activities at all. If your body is telling you to rest, then by all means listen and put your feet up! I honestly never experienced any of the nesting instinct energy burst!
Many women find themselves riddled with constipation and chronic backaches during this time. The increasing weight of your baby in your lower abdomen does not help, especially if you are doing things around the home or at work where you have to sit for long periods of time or are on your feet for some duration. Try to stretch when you can, put your feet up to avoid swelling and keep mobile if you sit for long periods of time to avoid stiffness.
If you find that something is leaking from your breasts, it is likely to be colostrum, the very nutritious breast milk created for the baby’s first couple of meals before the “real” breast milk production has started.
This week your doctor may perform a Group B Streptococcus Test that will help determine if you will require antibiotics during the delivery of your baby. This is a simple swab taken from the vaginal area and is not painful or harmful to you or your baby. The test is not carried out automatically in all countries, and you may want to ask your midwife about it.
You may also begin to have internal exams regularly by your doctor to determine if your cervix is thinning or opening at all during the next few weeks.
I bet you have already started to prepare for D-day? If not, don’t wait. Knowing about the process and what to expect really helps, trust me… 😉 Visit our section about giving birth here.
Week 36 Pregnancy Video
Diary of a Daughter
What’s it really like being 36 weeks pregnant…? Here’s a true diary from a mom who should have been 36 weeks pregnant. (Me..!)
Diary Of A Daughter
It is getting heavy! I find it hard to sleep – almost need to sit up. And walking is painful too. But it is slightly easier to breathe, I suppose it is because our baby is now really positioned low and ready to go.
Despite losing my mucus plug last week, I have had very few contractions this week.
Are you also 36 weeks pregnant? Please share your experiences and thoughts by leaving a comment below!
- See what your baby is up to in these fetal development videos
- Why does labor have to hurt
- Newborn baby appearance – not as cute as in the commercials…
MayoClinic (2011), Mayo Clinic Guide to a Healthy Pregnancy
Joanne Stone MD and Keith Eddleman MD (2008) The Pregnancy Bible: Your Complete Guide to Pregnancy and Early Parenthood
Nilsson, L; Hamberger, L. (2004) A Child Is Born.
Soderberg, L. (2010) Mammapraktika. B Wahlstroms.
Mittendorf et al (1990), The Length of Uncomplicated Human Gestation, Obstetrics & Gynecology, V.75, N.6, June 1990