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36th Pregnancy Week

Week 36 of Pregnancy: Preparing for the Final Stretch

As you approach the final month of your pregnancy, your body and baby are undergoing significant changes. Week 36 marks a crucial milestone in your journey, with only four weeks remaining until your estimated due date. During this week, you may experience a range of physical and emotional shifts as you prepare for the imminent arrival of your little one.

Physical Changes

  • Increased Braxton Hicks Contractions: Braxton Hicks contractions, also known as false labor pains, become more frequent and intense during week 36. These contractions are irregular and usually subside within a few minutes. They serve as a practice for the real contractions you will experience during labor.
  • Pelvic Pressure: As your baby descends into the pelvis, you may feel increased pressure on your pelvic floor muscles. This can cause discomfort, especially when sitting or standing for extended periods.
  • Swelling: Swelling in your hands, feet, and ankles may become more pronounced as your body retains more fluids. Elevating your feet and wearing compression socks can help alleviate swelling.
  • Frequent Urination: The pressure from your baby’s head on your bladder can lead to increased urinary frequency. You may find yourself needing to use the bathroom more often, especially at night.
  • Shortness of Breath: As your uterus expands, it can push against your diaphragm, making it harder to breathe. Taking deep breaths and using a pregnancy pillow to elevate your head can help improve breathing.

Emotional Changes

  • Excitement and Anticipation: As the due date approaches, you may feel a mix of excitement and anticipation about meeting your baby. Allow yourself to embrace these positive emotions and share them with your loved ones.
  • Anxiety and Nervousness: It is normal to experience some anxiety and nervousness as you prepare for labor and delivery. Talk to your healthcare provider about your concerns and explore coping mechanisms, such as prenatal yoga or meditation.
  • Nesting Instinct: You may feel an urge to prepare your home and surroundings for the baby’s arrival. This nesting instinct is a natural response to the impending birth and can help you feel more organized and in control.

Fetal Development

  • Size and Weight: At 36 weeks, your baby is approximately 18.5 inches long and weighs around 6 pounds. They are continuing to grow and develop rapidly.
  • Physical Features: Your baby’s skin is becoming smoother and less wrinkled. Their hair is growing longer, and their nails are fully formed.
  • Brain Development: The baby’s brain is rapidly developing, and they are becoming more responsive to external stimuli. They can recognize your voice and respond to music.
  • Lung Maturity: The baby’s lungs are almost fully mature, and they are preparing to take their first breath outside the womb.
  • Position: Most babies are head-down at this stage of pregnancy, but some may still be in a breech or transverse position. Your healthcare provider will monitor your baby’s position and discuss any necessary interventions.

Medical Care

  • Prenatal Appointments: Continue attending your regular prenatal appointments. Your healthcare provider will check your blood pressure, weight, and fetal heart rate. They will also discuss any concerns or questions you may have.
  • Ultrasound: Your healthcare provider may recommend an ultrasound to assess the baby’s growth, position, and amniotic fluid levels.
  • Non-Stress Test: A non-stress test is a procedure that monitors the baby’s heart rate in response to movement. It helps ensure that the baby is receiving adequate oxygen.
  • Cervical Exam: Your healthcare provider may perform a cervical exam to check for dilation and effacement. This can provide an indication of how close you are to labor.

Preparing for Labor and Delivery

  • Create a Birth Plan: Discuss your preferences for labor and delivery with your healthcare provider and create a birth plan. This plan should include your desired pain management options, delivery position, and any other specific requests.
  • Pack Your Hospital Bag: Pack a hospital bag with essential items for you and your baby, such as comfortable clothing, toiletries, and diapers.
  • Arrange Childcare: If you have other children, make arrangements for their care during your labor and delivery.
  • Get Plenty of Rest: Rest as much as possible in the final weeks of pregnancy. Your body needs time to prepare for the physical demands of labor.
  • Stay Hydrated: Drink plenty of fluids, especially water, to stay hydrated.

Tips for Comfort

  • Use a Pregnancy Pillow: A pregnancy pillow can provide support and comfort for your growing belly and back.
  • Take Warm Baths: Warm baths can help relieve aches and pains. Add Epsom salts to the bath for added relaxation.
  • Massage: A prenatal massage can help reduce stress and tension.
  • Exercise Regularly: Light exercise, such as walking or swimming, can help improve circulation and reduce swelling.
  • Elevate Your Feet: Elevating your feet can help reduce swelling and improve circulation.

When to Call Your Healthcare Provider

Call your healthcare provider immediately if you experience any of the following symptoms:

  • Vaginal bleeding
  • Regular contractions that are getting stronger and closer together
  • Leaking amniotic fluid
  • Severe abdominal pain
  • Chills or fever
  • Sudden swelling in your face, hands, or feet


Week 36 of pregnancy is a time of both excitement and preparation. As you approach the final stretch, focus on taking care of yourself and your baby. Attend your prenatal appointments, prepare for labor and delivery, and enjoy the precious moments leading up to the birth of your little one. Remember, you are not alone in this journey. Your healthcare provider and loved ones are there to support you every step of the way.

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