36 Weeks Pregnant – Your Body and Your Baby

36 Weeks Pregnant - What Happens When You're 36 Weeks Pregnant

You are 36 weeks pregnant! If you haven’t already started maternity leave, make sure each day when you leave work, you are prepared for the possibility that you might not come back tomorrow.

If you are able to, take maternity leave sooner than later – giving yourself time to rest and relax before birth can make a huge difference.

Some women choose to work until close to their due date and before they know it, they are in labour without having rested – straight into the demands of being a new mother, which is especially exhausting at first. Keep this in mind when deciding if staying at work until the last moment is the best plan for you.

Make a date or two with your partner. The longer you wait for that last date night, the less likely it will be to actually happen. A relaxing evening out is just what you might need right now.

Go over your birth plan to ensure both you and your partner are aligned with what you want from your birth experience, and that you’re both comfortable with the plan and preferences you’ve decided on. It can help to discuss ‘what ifs’ and work out how to handle them.

Don’t have a birth plan or not sure if it’s worth having one? Take a look at our article on birth plans which includes a free downloadable template in a word document. Review information from your birthing class, like breathing techniques to ensure you’re ready.

36 Weeks Pregnant – Your Body

At 36 weeks pregnant you may be experiencing the famous pregnancy waddle, due to your ligaments softening to make it easier for baby to be born.

You may also be finding walking quite uncomfortable or even painful now, thanks to pelvic pain. If your baby has started to engage or has ‘dropped’ into your pelvis this can make walking even more of a challenge. Usually first babies engage sooner than subsequent babies and the added pressure on your bladder and in your pelvis can be quite uncomfortable.

You will most likely start seeing your birth care provider weekly from now on. Your care provider may recommend a test for Group B streptococcus (GBS) around this time. These bacteria are commonly found in the vagina, rectum or intestine and usually are harmless.

There is a 1-2% chance of passing it onto your baby during pregnancy or birth, which can become serious if not managed. Most hospitals prefer to screen all women for GBS and others will offer screening only to those deemed high risk.

Screening is optional but it is worth becoming well educated about GBS to make an informed decision about whether to test and what to expect if you have a positive result.

36 Weeks Pregnant – Your Baby

At the end of this week your baby will be considered full term and would not be premature if she was born before then.

Your baby’s body systems are pretty much ready for life in the outside world, except her digestive system, which will take a few years after birth to mature.

Inside her bowel, meconium has built up and will be passed after birth as her first poo. Sometimes babies can pass this substance in utero and if your waters break, the fluid can appear a green colour. If this happens, contact your care provider immediately as it can be a sign baby is distressed. Find out more about meconium.

Your baby’s bones and cartilage are still soft. This makes for an easier transition for birth, allowing baby to move, turn and wriggle down. The primary bones in baby’s skull are separated, creating that soft spot you’ve heard so much about. This allows her skull to mould and fit through the pelvis and vagina.

Your baby’s weight may be as high as 3kg and she is about 47 cm long, and is roughly the size of a large cos lettuce.

Last Updated: November 15, 2016

CONTRIBUTOR

Sam McCulloch enjoys talking so much about birth that she decided to become a birth educator and doula, supporting parents in making informed choices about their birth experience. In her spare time she watches Downton Abbey and has numerous creative projects on the go. She is mother to three beautiful little humans.


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