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Pregnancy Week 36

Pregnancy Week 36: A Comprehensive Guide to Your Third Trimester


Pregnancy week 36 marks the beginning of the final stretch of your pregnancy journey. As you approach your due date, your body and baby are undergoing significant changes in preparation for labor and delivery. This week, you may experience increased discomfort, but it’s also a time to focus on your well-being and prepare for the arrival of your little one.

Your Baby’s Development

At 36 weeks pregnant, your baby is approximately 18.5 inches long and weighs around 6 pounds. They are fully developed and ready to enter the world. Their organs are mature, and they are practicing breathing and sucking reflexes.

Your Body’s Changes

  • Increased Braxton Hicks contractions: These practice contractions become more frequent and intense as your body prepares for labor.
  • Weight gain: You may gain about 1 pound per week during this time.
  • Swelling: Edema, or swelling, in your hands, feet, and ankles may increase.
  • Frequent urination: Your baby’s head is pressing on your bladder, causing you to urinate more often.
  • Back pain: The weight of your growing belly can put strain on your back.
  • Shortness of breath: Your uterus is pushing up against your diaphragm, making it harder to breathe.
  • Insomnia: It may be difficult to find a comfortable sleeping position.
  • Mood swings: Hormonal changes can lead to mood swings and irritability.

Common Symptoms

  • Fatigue: You may feel tired and exhausted, especially towards the end of the day.
  • Hemorrhoids: These swollen veins in your rectum can be uncomfortable and painful.
  • Varicose veins: Enlarged, twisted veins may appear on your legs and feet.
  • Constipation: Hormonal changes and pressure from your uterus can slow down digestion.
  • Heartburn: Acid reflux can be a common issue during pregnancy.
  • Leaking breasts: Your breasts may start producing colostrum, a precursor to breast milk.

What to Expect at Your Doctor’s Appointment

At your 36-week prenatal appointment, your doctor will:

  • Check your weight, blood pressure, and urine.
  • Measure your belly to monitor your baby’s growth.
  • Listen to your baby’s heartbeat.
  • Discuss your labor and delivery plan.
  • Answer any questions or concerns you may have.

Preparing for Labor and Delivery

  • Pack your hospital bag: Include essential items for you and your baby, such as toiletries, comfortable clothing, and a going-home outfit.
  • Create a birth plan: Outline your preferences for labor and delivery, including pain management options and any special requests.
  • Practice relaxation techniques: Learn breathing exercises and meditation to help you cope with labor pain.
  • Arrange childcare: Make arrangements for your other children if you have any.
  • Get plenty of rest: Sleep as much as possible to prepare for the demands of labor and delivery.

Tips for Staying Comfortable

  • Use a pregnancy pillow: Support your belly and back with a specially designed pillow.
  • Take warm baths: Soaking in a warm bath can help relieve back pain and swelling.
  • Elevate your feet: Prop your feet up on a footrest or pillows to reduce swelling.
  • Wear comfortable shoes: Choose shoes with good arch support and avoid high heels.
  • Stay hydrated: Drink plenty of fluids to prevent dehydration and constipation.
  • Eat a healthy diet: Nourish your body with nutrient-rich foods to support your health and your baby’s growth.

When to Call Your Doctor

Contact your doctor immediately if you experience any of the following symptoms:

  • Vaginal bleeding: Any amount of vaginal bleeding is a sign of potential complications.
  • Severe abdominal pain: Persistent or severe pain can indicate labor or other issues.
  • Premature rupture of membranes (PROM): If your water breaks before 37 weeks, call your doctor.
  • Reduced fetal movement: If you notice a significant decrease in your baby’s movements, seek medical attention.
  • High blood pressure: Elevated blood pressure can be a sign of preeclampsia.
  • Fever: A fever during pregnancy can indicate an infection.


Pregnancy week 36 is a significant milestone in your pregnancy journey. As you navigate the final weeks, focus on your well-being, prepare for labor and delivery, and cherish the precious moments with your little one. Remember to listen to your body, follow your doctor’s instructions, and enjoy this special time.

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