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The 36th week of pregnancy: what happens to the baby and mom

The 36th obstetric week is the period of final preparation of the mother and baby for the upcoming labor. Baby continues to grow, occupying almost all of the uterine space.

For the future mom this is the phase in which any sign of painful sensations may indicate the beginning of labor.

The size and development of the fetus in the 36th week of pregnancy

The middle of the third trimester is a period of baby’s intense training for the upcoming birth. The child still needs a large number of vitamins, minerals and nutrients.

Weight, height and appearance of the baby in the 36th week of pregnancy

Pregnancy week 36 sizeIn the thirty-sixth week of pregnancy the almost fully-formed baby weighs 2500-2700 grams.

The overall height from the crown of his head to his heels is 46-48 cm., and the head size is 8 cm. Weight and height of the fetus in the 36th week of pregnancy can significantly differ from other babies’ numbers. Here, the genetic inheritance of the baby plays the role.

In the last weeks of pregnancy, fetal weight increases by 25-30 g per day.

With each week which brings the future mother closer to labor, the baby’s looks become more of a unique masterpiece.

The head, hands and feet of the child are fully proportional in relation to the body, the skeleton is well-formed, but the bones of the skull remain soft, so as to pass through the birth canal.

The amount of fat increases, the baby grows more plump. Due to the formation of subcutaneous tissue, the skin noticeably brightens and becomes more opaque, baby’s cheeks puff out.

Tiny nails have completed their formation, the original peach fuzz (lanugo) and waxy coating continue to recede, thickening hair becomes more noticeable. Tiny lashes and eyebrows are distinguishable, ears protrude away from the head, lines have appeared on the palms of hands.

The position of the fetus

Due to lack of space in the womb, the child takes and ovoid form, holding his crossed legs close to the torso. In the 36th week of pregnancy a baby has already chosen a birthing position. In most cases, the fetus chooses the head down position. This pose is called cephalic presentation.

However, less than 5% of children prefer to turn buttocks to the cervix. Experts refer to such a situation as breech and consider it a form of pathology.

[attention type=yellow]However, it is not necessary to worry prematurely. By performing special exercises, a pregnant woman can help the fetus take the correct position. If these efforts do not help, your doctor will schedule a cesarean section instead of a vaginal delivery.[/attention]

Formation of the organs and body

 The development of the fetus at 36 weeks' gestationIn the 9th obstetric month of pregnancy practically all organs and systems of the fetus are finally ready for the future life. The fetus’s heart beats 140-150 times per minute. All systems are ready for operation, but between the right and left chambers of the heart there remains a hole. The liver begins the production of iron – a basic element that affects the formation of blood.

Lungs have finished their structural development, and have accumulated the right amount of a surfactant for baby’s breathing. He can already regulate his body temperature, his immune, nervous and endocrine systems are almost fully formed.

The baby’s behavior and skills

By the middle of the third trimester the baby’s five senses are already developed and functional. The activity of the fetus is significantly reduced, as he is snug in the mother’s womb. On average, in the 36th week of pregnancy the fetus makes himself known by his stirrings up to 10 times in a 12-hour period.

The kid’s active kicks may indicate that he feels a discomfort. Perhaps the future mom took a position awkward for the fetus or she is in a smoke-filled room.

During this period, the child actively makes sucking and swallowing motions, preparing for impending nursing.

Twins in the 36 week of pregnancy

According to statistics, one out of a hundred women bears a “double happiness.” A multiple pregnancy, in addition to happy emotions, also gives a woman a lot of trouble: an increased risk of miscarriage and premature birth.

In the 36th weeks of pregnancy, the growth rate of twins differs from the single baby – their height and weight are significantly less. Organs and systems have already been formed, only the lungs will not start to work until after the birth.

The future mom can feel their movements this week, as the twins have grown and they do not have enough space to maneuver.

What’s going on with a mom in the 36th week

The last months of the pregnancy are particularly difficult for women. In the 36th week the baby fully completes his development and is considered full-term.

Growth of the belly in the 36th week

 Photos belly 36 weeks pregnant

It seems that the already-huge belly continues to grow in size. The uterus is a unique female organ capable of growing up to 500 times larger during pregnancy, and then to shrink back to its original size. However, due to the features of a body’s constitution, there are women with small bellies. In the photo above you can see how a belly may look in the 36th week of pregnancy.

[attention type=yellow]No matter the size of the abdomen, this week it starts to drop. That is because the baby, feeling the lack of space, moves his head to the bottom of the pelvis. Many women experience some relief with this maneuver: heartburn stops, the uterus does not press as much on the internal organs, breathing is easier.[/attention]

Weight gain

Along with the growth of the child’s weight, the weight of the future mom increases also. The overall weight directly correlates to the fetal weight, the amniotic fluid, and the weight of adipose tissue and water accumulated in the woman’s body.

The average weight of a pregnant woman in the middle of the third trimester increases by 11-13 kg. Doctors believe that a woman should not gain more than 16 kg., as this may adversely affect the health of the mom and the baby. However, all indicators are individual and depend on genetic predispositions and conditions of gestation. The breasts become large and may secrete colostrum.

Sensations and pain the 36th week of pregnancy

 Future mother at 37 weeks of pregnancy

If the uterus has already dropped, future moms have more frequent urges for urination and bowel movements. The cervix is getting shorter and softer, as the body prepares for childbirth.

The weight of the fetus and the displacement of the center of gravity increase pain in the lower back. The hormone relaxin is released into the future mom’s blood, which provokes a softening and weakening of the joints. The pelvic bones gradually expand, causing pain in this area. The hormone changes ease the baby’s passage through the birth canal.

Due to the compression of the uterine and pelvic veins, the outflow of blood from the lower part of the body is reduced: there is edema of the legs and acute hemorrhoids.

Training contractions

In the 36th obstetric week the future moms may be bothered by training contractions, the so-called Braxton Hicks contractions. False contractions are contractions of the uterine muscles, which seem like labor has begun. Training contractions can be quite frequent, the uterus tightens for 20-30 seconds, without painful sensations. More about this.

[attention type=red]If the uterus is in a painful tonus for one minute, or there are repeated contractions every five minutes for one hour, then it’s time to go to the hospital, most likely you are in labor.[/attention]

Discharge in the 36 week of pregnancy

A mucus discharge that the woman has experienced the entire third trimester, is more dense and viscous. The mucus plug closing the cervical canal, starts to fall out, so there are small lumps of mucus in the vaginal discharge. Sometimes the plug comes out immediately, in which case the discharge will contain clots with blood streaks.

If the discharge is pink in color, this is a signal that labor will begin soon. The appearance of clear or yellowish fluid, instead of the usual mucus, can also be a harbinger of labor in the 36th week of pregnancy.

Spotting, even in small quantities, is a sign of abnormal placental shedding. In this case, you need to urgently call an ambulance.

Green, yellow, foamy, cottage-cheesy or purulent secretions indicate the presence of a genital infection, which needs to be treated.

Psychological condition

The huge abdomen, heaviness in the feet and constant fatigue cause a future mom to wish for a quick resolution of the burden. Irritation from her own clumsiness and awkwardness gives way to joyous anticipation of the impending meeting with the baby. Some nulliparous women have fears of the upcoming labor, some begin to imagine various problems with the fetus, while others just quietly wait for their time.

The future moms can experience different psychological well-being, but the one thing common to all is the eager anticipation of the baby’s birth.

Analyses, examinations and ultrasound in the 36th week of pregnancy

Photo fetal ultrasound 36 weeks pregnant

By the middle of the third trimester of pregnancy, a woman visits an obstetrician-gynecologist once every two weeks. At each visit, the doctor records the required data:

  • the weight of the mother;
  • the height of the uterine fundus;
  • blood pressure;
  • fetal heart rate;
  • abdominal circumference;
  • fetal presentation.

After the anamnesis, a specialist will schedule a general analysis of urine and blood, as well as a CTG.

An ultrasound is usually not required if no pathologies are found. However, in some cases, an ultrasound is necessary for the doctor to clarify the fetal status in the 36th week of pregnancy (the position in the womb, umbilical cord entanglement, condition and maturity of the placenta, polyhydramnios and oligohydramnios, other possible pathologies) and the future type of delivery.

We invite you to watch the video of a fetal ultrasound in the 36th week of pregnancy and to look at the child’s photo above.

Possible abnormalities

The most common deviations from the normal course in this period of pregnancy are: hyper tonicity of the uterus, placental abruption, preeclampsia and fetal hypoxia.

  • Hyper tonicity of the uterus in the 36th week of pregnancy shows up as a painful pulling sensation in lower back and abdomen, the main symptom being a tightening of the abdomen. Hyper tonicity of the uterus can lead to premature delivery, so with the appearance of any changes in your well-being, you should see a doctor.
  • Premature detachment of the placenta is the result of a hidden pathology in pregnant women. As a rule, it is accompanied by severe abdominal pain, muscular tension of the uterus, lower blood pressure and heavy bleeding, which is a danger to both the woman and the baby.
  • Chronic fetal hypoxia – a condition of permanent oxygen deficiency in the fetus. Insufficient oxygen supply to the brain cells may cause a delay in the development of the child and even a fading of pregnancy.
  • Preeclampsia – a malfunction of the kidneys, which can lead to detachment of the placenta and premature birth. The symptoms of this disorder are severe whole body edema, high blood pressure and protein in the urine.

The above-mentioned deviations are indications for delivery by caesarean section.

Mom’s nutrition in the 36th week

 Power mothers 36 weeks' gestationBefore labor it is especially important that every pregnant woman follows the correct diet, because an easy labor and the baby’s future health depend on it.

In the 36th week, doctors recommend eliminating or reducing the consumption of animal protein: meat, fish, milk and butter. However, fermented dairy products, such as low-fat cottage cheese, yogurt, kefir, will only benefit a young mom.

[attention type=yellow]Experts advise to increase the amount of plant-based foods and foods high in fiber. For drinks, preference should be given to purified water, fresh juices and green tea.[/attention]

Sexual activity in the 36th week

In the middle of the third trimester, experts advise refraining from excessive sexual activity. As you know, an orgasm at any time during pregnancy may be associated with a tightening of the uterus.

At the same time, having sex in the 36th week of pregnancy perfectly prepares the birth canal for future labor, so you should not completely abandon it. The main thing is to avoid positions in which there is a strong pressure on the abdomen.

How to prepare for the maternity ward

How to prepare for the maternity hospitalMost likely, in the 36th week the expectant mom is actively preparing for the new family member, nesting and arranging necessary things for the hospital. As a general rule, the requirements of each hospital are different, so you should find out in advance what to bring with you, and what will be provided at the hospital.

The first thing is to take care of the required documents: your identification and insurance card (if any). If your husband is present at the delivery, he should take his identity card and the results of any relevant screenings.

The next step is the collection of necessary things for the mother. Prior to labor, a woman may need: bathrobe, nightgown, slippers, towels, a disposable razor, snacks and water.

For the postpartum period: disposable diapers, pads, personal hygiene wipes, toiletries, socks, underwear and a nursing bra if you are breastfeeding.

The baby in his new life will need: diapers, wipes, cream, baby powder, swaddle cloths, blanket, newborn clothes, discharge blanket.

[attention type=yellow]Remember that, even if in a rush the mom forgot something at home, someone from the family can bring these things to the hospital.[/attention]

Recommendations for mom and dad

In the middle of the third trimester experts recommend:

  • monitoring the intake and output of liquids;
  • doing a set of light exercises for 3rd trimester;
  • spending more time outdoors;
  • creating a balanced diet;
  • watching your posture;
  • buying a special brace to support the back and abdomen;
  • at rest, putting a pillow or cushion under your feet;
  • asking your husband for a massage;
  • avoiding long trips and flights.

Video about the 36th week of pregnancy

We invite you to watch a video guide that talks about the features of the 36th week of pregnancy. A skilled specialist will discuss what kinds of things should be taken to the hospital. A doctor will discuss how the baby should be developing and how a mom should feel after labor.

The 36th obstetric week of pregnancy is a special time for every couple. Most likely, the parents have already chosen a name for their baby, collected the necessary things, decided on the doctor and the hospital. This period is one of a daily anticipation of a miracle.

[attention type=yellow]The 36th week is a very difficult period for the future mom. The abdomen seems to be huge, legs are constantly swollen, back aches and false contractions appear. Tell us how your week has passed. Has heartburn disappeared? Is the baby kicking less? Did you confuse false contractions with real ones?[/attention]

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