illustration of developing human baby at 36 weeks

36 weeks pregnant

For more information about week 36 in a twin or multiple pregnancy, tap here.

Baby could be making some big moves these days, moving down to your pelvis as they get ready to make their grand entrance!

How’s Baby?

In week 36, Baby is probably close to 19 inches (47.8 cm) and 6 lbs (2.7 kg), about the size of a papaya. Variation in the height and weight of each individual baby increases as they get closer to birth, and when your little one arrives, they should be just the perfect size for them! At this point, if Baby is still in the breech position, your healthcare provider may talk to you about ways to try to get them into a head-down (vertex) position for, the most common position for vaginal birth.

If you haven’t thought much about it yet, you should spend some time thinking about how you want to feed Baby once they’re born. Breastfeeding is an excellent way to bond with your baby and make they get the nutrients they need, but it’s not the only way to do things. Bottle feeding breastmilk or formula can also be a cherished special time. Many parents feed their babies using a combination of these methods. While it can be helpful to plan in advance, it’s always a great idea to seek support to reach or adjust your feeding goals at any point in your journey with Baby.

What’s new with you?

Because Baby is moving down to your pelvis in advance of birth, the pressure on your lungs is probably lightening up, making breathing easier again. When your baby moves down in this way, it’s called lightening, and it’s often considered one of the first signs of labor, though if it’s your first pregnancy, it could happen weeks before you go into active labor. And while you may be breathing easier, you’ll probably still be dealing with a number of other discomforts as a result of this move, like increased pelvic discomfort and pressure on your bladder. Heartburn and insomnia may still be bothering you at this point too. Swollen feet could be doing the same, and if yours have grown significantly during pregnancy, they could remain a larger size even after birth.

As you approach these last few weeks, make sure you know the symptoms of labor so you can be ready for your little one’s arrival. Diarrhea, regular and painful contractions, and your water breaking can all be signs that you might be going into labor.

When your “water” breaks, what’s really leaking is the amniotic fluid around Baby, and sometimes it can be a little tough to tell whether it’s fluid, urine or just lots of discharge. It can feel like a slow, random trickle it might seem like you just peed accidentally. It can’t be controlled like urine can, so that’s one telltale sign to look for. Sometimes it can be a large gush, which is often a more obvious sign. It can be so tricky to tell what’s happening that there are simple tests to check what type of fluid it is; these can be done in your OB provider’s office or at the hospital. Some of the major differences between amniotic fluid and urine are color (amniotic fluid should be clear, but can be green or brown if Baby has pooped ahead of time ) and odor (amniotic fluid does not smell like urine, and may be odorless). If you think you’re leaking fluid, be sure to wear a thick pad and let your provider know. This fluid will continue to come out until you give birth in small or not-so-small amounts!

Once you have a good sense of what the signs of labor are, make sure you have your hospital or birthing center to-go bag ready and any other necessary plans in place. Then you and Baby should be ready to go!

Reviewed by the Ovia Health Clinical Team
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