By 37 weeks pregnant, you’re probably just itching to bring your baby into the world (maybe literally itchy over your stretched belly and thighs!).
It won’t be long now. You’ve just got 3 weeks to go, unless your little one decides he’s comfy right where he is and wants to stay for a bit longer! But don’t worry too much about that right now. It’s time for you to take care of yourself, get enough rest, and make sure you’ve got all your ducks in a row before you go into labour! So sit back, put your feet up, and read this quick guide full of information about week 37 pregnancy.
37 weeks pregnant: Bun’s almost done baking!
That’s right. By pregnancy week 37, your little one is so close to birth he can almost taste it! What he’s actually tasting is the amniotic fluid, which he continues ingesting and your body continues replacing throughout the day. He also has lots of other tricks. Here’s what he’s up to when you’re 37 weeks pregnant:
- He’s practicing breathing with his fully formed lungs by inhaling and exhaling amniotic fluid. There’s no need to worry about having fluids in his lungs—this is completely normal and an important part of his body preparing itself for its first real breath of air.
- The vernix caseosa, or the protective covering that he has had on his skin, is falling off.
- Not only will he probably be sucking his thumb a lot, but he can also use his hands more precisely than before to hold onto small objects like individual toes!
- He’s “borrowing” some of your antibodies, which your immune system has worked hard to develop over the course of your life. Now they will keep him safe from germs as his develops his own antibodies during his first years of life.
- His brain should be fully matured, though it may continue to grow a bit in size.
- He could even already have a full head of hair! However, this is highly individual and some babies don’t grow hair until several months after birth.
- He probably isn’t poking and prodding you as much as he used to, as he’s conserving his energy for his big move. However, he should still be stretching out, shifting from side to side, and wiggling.
- He also will keep gaining weight until birth, but at this point should be over 6 pounds and 19 inches long. But boys are usually a little bit bigger than girls, even at birth.
37 weeks pregnant: Slowly but surely
This is how your body will most likely be preparing itself for labour. Although the movies tend to show women surprised by their water suddenly breaking and forming a huge puddle below them, this isn’t realistic for most women. In many cases, women will see gradual signs of their bodies become ready to go into labour, in addition to all the symptoms they’ve already been experiencing for weeks. Here are some changes you may notice around 37 weeks pregnant:
- Your cervix could be dilating, softening, and becoming thinner than usual (this is called effacement). You might feel some pain and sensitivity while this is happening.
- You are probably feeling pretty serious pelvic pain as your baby moves farther and farther down the birth canal. Sometimes this can even pinch a nerve, causing something called lightning pain that shoots from your groin to your feet. Ouch!
- Your nipples may become “outies,” just like your belly button did weeks ago. This, along with continued breast growth, are signs that your breasts are getting ready to produce milk.
- At 37 weeks pregnant, you could also be having more Braxton Hicks contractions that are a bit stronger and closer together.
- You may have more discharge than before, and you might pass your mucus plug sometime around pregnancy week 37. This is the slightly hardened build-up of vaginal mucus that has kept your cervix safe from infection throughout your pregnancy.
- If you see any brown or pink coloration in your discharge, it usually means that you will go into labour in just a few short days. But you should call your doctor or midwife immediately if you see spotting or menstrual-type bleeding.
37 weeks pregnant: Doc, am I going into labour?
You won’t have any scheduled antenatal appointments at 37 weeks pregnant, unless you and your doctor have any concerns or have been waiting for test results to come back. However, sometime around pregnancy week 37, your medical professionals should make sure that you know how to tell the difference between genuine labour and false labour, which happens to a lot of women. In a false labour, here’s what you can expect:
- You will have contractions but they will have unpredictable timing. They will also be of irregular length and some will be very intense, while others will not.
- The pain will come from the abdomen, whereas in genuine labour it will start in the lower back and come around to the front.
- The contractions will probably stop if you move around or change positions.
Your time really is running out before baby gets here. By 37 weeks pregnant, make sure that you know how to do some basic things like safely put the car seat in the car, change a diaper, set up your baby’s bath, and breastfeeding 101.
At 37 weeks pregnant, you could either be feeling exhausted or bursting with energy. Or heck, these feelings could be alternating—darn those hormones! The important thing is to make sure that you’re healthy and well-rested, as well as emotionally and mentally prepared for your little one’s arrival. Only 3 weeks to go!