Baby development at 37 weeks pregnant
Welcome to your final month of pregnancy! Though you may feel ready for your baby to arrive — and your baby will arrive any day now — remember that every week they stay put makes a difference.
A typical baby measures about 18 inches and weighs 6.3 pounds in week 37. This is about the size of a Swiss chard!
From now through the end of week 38, your baby is still considered early term, with lungs, brain and other systems still making final preparations to ready your little one for life outside of the womb.
- Your baby’s organs are nearly prepared to function independently.
- Though your baby’s body is still rounding out, the rate at which they are gaining weight has slowed.
- Your baby’s digestive system is fully functional and contains meconium, which is a newborn’s first bowel movement. It’s tar-like, sticky and black, but it lacks the intestinal bacteria that gives stool its characteristic stink.
- Your uterine wall lets more light pass through to your baby as it thins, baby, enabling a rudimentary awareness of day and night.
- There’s less room in your womb now, and the jabs become twists, rolls and other attempts to stretch those growing limbs.
Week 37 pregnant belly
At 37 weeks, your baby has moved down into your pelvis, which may mean your belly is hanging lower on your torso.
Common pregnancy symptoms at 37 weeks
By week 37, you’ve probably had enough Braxton Hicks contractions to recognize that they’re not usually intense, subside when you move and occur without a labor-like pattern. Labor contractions, in contrast, will grow more intense and, once you’re tracking them, demonstrate a pattern, growing longer and coming on faster over time. Many women describe them as coming in waves and feeling like very intense menstrual cramps.
- Difficulty sleeping: Sleep may elude you as you attempt to find a comfortable position around a burgeoning abdomen. Strategically positioning pillows around your abdomen may help, but consult your obstetrician if you’re tossing and turning all night. Some sleep aids are considered safe to take on occasion in pregnancy, but any medication you take should be either approved or prescribed by your obstetrician.
- Shooting pain (again): Many women experience shooting pelvic pain early in pregnancy and when the baby descends into the birth canal. Some find that physical activity reduces its frequency and severity.
- Headaches: Headaches are very common throughout pregnancy. In the third trimester, ensure that you stay hydrated, avoid foods that may trigger headaches and practice good posture. Although they’re usually benign, some symptoms coupled with a headache require medical attention. These include significant changes in the patterns of your headaches, a sudden onset of a severe headache, fever, a recent head or neck injury, a headache made worse by coughing or sneezing and high blood pressure.
Pregnancy checklist at 37 weeks pregnant
The prospect of delivering a baby can be daunting, especially if you have a preexisting health condition or a significant complication has come up in the course of your pregnancy. Regular prenatal care is a critical resource for having concerns addressed, so be sure to keep your appointments!
- Install your car seat. Now is a good time to make preparations. You never know when your baby will decide it’s time for their debut. Install the car seat and make sure it’s ready for your baby’s arrival.
- Keep up perineal massage. This massage helps ready your perineum for delivery, which lessens your chance of tearing or needing an episiotomy during delivery.
- Stock up on supplies. Have you decided whether you’ll be breastfeeding or using formula? Now is a good time to stock up on baby bottles and formula. If you didn’t get everything you needed at your baby shower, make sure the nursery is stocked with diapers and newborn clothes for your little one's arrival.
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