Congratulations! You have now reached full term for your pregnancy.
This means if your baby is born this week, he wouldn’t be classified as premature.
You might still have plenty of time up your sleeve, so don’t panic if you’re not quite ready.
After all, who is ever ready for a newborn to arrive?
If you are wondering what to expect at week 37 of your pregnancy, read on for some helpful tips and advice.
37 weeks pregnant in months
So if you’re officially full term at 37 weeks pregnant, how many months are you?
37 weeks of pregnancy is into the ninth month of pregnancy. Your baby could come any time now!
Is it safe to birth at 37 weeks pregnant?
It’s safe to give birth at 37 weeks pregnant, as you’re full term. 36 weeks and 6 days would mean your little one would be termed premature.
This is how ‘term’ is classified now:
- Early term: Your baby is born between 37 weeks, 0 days and 38 weeks, 6 days
- Full term: Your baby is born between 39 weeks, 0 days and 40 weeks, 6 days
- Late term: Your baby is born between 41 weeks, 0 days and 41 weeks, 6 days
- Post term: Your baby is born after 42 weeks, 0 days.
Don’t worry, a baby born at 36 weeks is usually healthy and rarely needs assistance. Remember, the estimated due date is often a guess and sometimes is out by a few days or even a few weeks.
Very few babies are born on their due date; most arrive in the two weeks before or after.
What should I be doing at 37 weeks pregnant?
If you have a few weeks left before the baby arrives, make the most of having him on the inside and treasure the kicks and bumps; you will miss them later.
Some things you might like to do:
- Meet with friends
- Go to see a movie or have date nights with your partner
- Have a pregnancy massage
- Take a pregnancy yoga class
- Go over your birth plan
- Check you have all you need – pack a bag for you and baby
- Walking and swimming.
Plenty of first time mums have already packed their hospital bag. However, if you’re still working or you have a very busy toddler running around, you might not have had time yet.
Even if you’ve chosen to have your baby at home, it’s still a great idea to pack a mother and baby bag so the midwives can find things you need, or in case of transfer into hospital.
Here are some of the items you might be getting ready to go into your hospital bag:
- Comfortable quality maternity bra
- Sanitary pads or postnatal undies
- Witch hazel for frozen pads; they ease perineal soreness
- Comfortable clothes to labor in and some to change into later
- Your special pillow
- Snacks and drinks
- Camera or video recorder
- Phone and charger
- Breast pads
- Support garment
- Water bottle.
Here are some items you might need to pack in your baby’s bag:
- Nappies – disposable or cloth
- All-in-ones or ‘onesies’–a couple of different sizes, because weight and size are always a guess until after baby is born
- Hat and booties
- Swaddle wrap or muslins
Don’t forget to have the car seat installed correctly.
If you have been expressing during pregnancy don’t forget a note to remind yourself to bring the colostrum.
Are 37 weeks too early for a c-section?
At 37 weeks your baby is only just ready to be born.
The baby is still putting on brown fat, which provides energy reserves for life on the outside.
A baby’s lungs are usually considered to be fully developed by week 37. But this isn’t a hard and fast rule as conception dates and development can vary.
If you have medical complexities, it might be safer for you and baby if a c-section is performed. This is something that your care provider should discuss with you so you can make an informed decision.
However, if you have a choice it’s always advised to let your baby finish developing and choose his own birth date.
Is baby fully developed at 37 weeks pregnant?
Assuming conception and development have happened on track, your baby at 37 weeks has lungs that are ready to go.
At this stage, babies are fully developed but are still putting on brown fat to ensure they can have energy reserves after birth.
Do babies born at 37 weeks need NICU?
If babies are born spontaneously at 37 weeks they generally won’t need to be admitted to NICU (neonatal intensive care unit).
The due date is an estimation and we can never be 100% sure of the exact date baby should arrive.
This means at 37 weeks, you could be 37+3 or 36+4.
If you’re induced or have a c-section, and your baby isn’t doing well adjusting to life outside, it might be your due date was wrong.
All newborns are assessed at the time of birth. If you’ve had a healthy pregnancy, there’s no reason to expect your baby at 37 weeks won’t be healthy as well.
What are the signs of labor at 37 weeks?
We would expect this to be a bit early for labor.
If it does kick off, this is what it might look like:
- Period-like cramping low in the pelvis, or back aches
- Mucus plug might start coming away, indicating your cervix is changing
- Your bowel movements could change (diarrhea)
- Some women at week 37 might have nausea
- Lots of Braxton Hicks contractions – ‘practice’ contractions or tightening of the belly
- Your water breaks with or without labor contractions
- Your nesting instinct kicks in and you have a feeling baby will arrive soon.
Contact your healthcare provider or call your doctor if any of the above signs apply to you.
Signs Of Labor – 7 Signs You Might Be In Labor covers all the main labor signs.
37 weeks pregnant period pains on and off
Some women start to feel period-like pains on and off, similar to menstrual pains with back pain too.
You might also feel pain quite low in the pelvis. This is often a sign that your uterus is gearing up and your cervix is starting to change.
This can go on for some time but it might also continue to build and establish into labor contractions.
Consider whether you have any other signs of labor and contact your care provider for medical advice if the pains don’t settle.
37 weeks pregnancy symptoms
At early term, not much will really change, except you will be hyper vigilant for signs of labor.
Many women have trouble sleeping now, and need to get up to pee multiple times during the night.
It’s also common to feel uncomfortable. Your bump might need some support from a pregnancy pillow which can help relieve discomfort.
Heartburn and nausea might also make an appearance if your digestive system is a little squashed. Try to eat small frequent meals and avoid greasy fried foods.
37 weeks pregnancy symptoms not to ignore
At 37 weeks pregnant, although labor could happen soon, there are some things you shouldn’t ignore as they can indicate a complication.
Some of these signs to look out for are:
- Headache with visual disturbances
- Constant pain in the abdomen or anywhere else
- Really sudden swelling in your legs, ankles, hands, feet and face
- Mid sternum chest pain
- Feeling that your baby isn’t moving or has reduced movement
- You have vaginal bleeding
- Your water breaks. Yellow-green indicates meconium might be in the amniotic fluid.
Contact your healthcare provider or doctor right away if you have any of the above signs at 37 weeks pregnant.
37 weeks pregnant baby movement
Feeling your baby’s first movements is so exciting. Over the months, you’ll have come to know your baby’s normal pattern of movement.
As you get into late pregnancy, the movements themselves might feel different – higher or lower, depending on where baby’s feet and hands are – but the pattern shouldn’t change.
Each baby has its own pattern of movement. Some babies move more in the evening, some in the morning. Certain babies kick all the time and some seem to punch.
The key thing to note is whether your pattern changes or you feel reduced movements. In either case, you need to contact your doctor or midwife for an assessment.
There are a few outdated practices that suggest you should lie down or have a cold drink and the baby will move.
Another myth is your baby’s movements slow down in the third trimester, but this is not correct and can be dangerous advice.
Babies do sleep and this should be part of their usual pattern of sleep-wake.
Make sure to contact your healthcare provider if you’re at all concerned about your baby’s movements.
Be sure to read Do All Babies Go Quiet Before Labor? for more insight into baby movement.
What week does labor usually start?
Your chances of going into labor at 37 weeks, this early in the third trimester, are about 11%, according to Emily Oster, author of the book Expecting Better.
Most women will start labor and give birth by 42 weeks. The golden time for birth is between 39 and 41 weeks.
The graph by Emily Oster below details your chances of going into labor at different gestations:
37 weeks pregnant discharge
During pregnancy you’ve probably noticed more vaginal discharge (leukorrhea). A milky vaginal discharge at week 37 is normal and will probably increase in amount.
Some women find their mucus plug starts to come away as their cervix ripens (effacement) before labor begins.
The mucus plug is a thick mucus-like substance that sits inside the cervix and acts as a barrier between your baby and the outside world.
It prevents bacteria from getting into the uterus and amniotic fluid, and potentially causing infection.
This mucus plug will regenerate if labor doesn’t start at this time.
Check out Mucus Plug – Interesting Facts About Losing The Mucus Plug for more information.
There should be no odor and no copious amounts of fluid that soaks through a sanitary pad.
If this is the case, it could be a sign of infection or that you’re leaking amniotic fluid.
If unsure at any time about discharge, make sure to discuss it with your midwife or doctor.
Find out more in Discharge During Pregnancy – What’s Normal and What’s Not.
37 weeks pregnant baby position
Usually by this stage of pregnancy, your baby will be in a head down position, with baby’s back facing your belly (anterior position).
Don’t stress if this is not the case, as babies can wait until labor to rotate.
Now is a great time to check on where baby is in case you need to make some adjustments to help your baby get into an optimal position for birth.
Maybe your baby is in a breech position (bum down) and needs to flip.
Breech babies are just a variation of normal, and can safely be birthed vaginally if you’re supported by your healthcare provider.
Some tips that might help your body in pregnancy:
- Optimal fetal positioning with Spinning Babies
- Chiropractic care
- Relaxation – let that oxytocin flow.
Chat to your midwife or doctor for more advice.
There’s more information on baby positioning in Optimal Fetal Positioning – How To Make Birth Easier.
37 weeks pregnant baby weight in kg
At 37 weeks pregnant babies are mostly gaining weight in the form of fat. This helps them to regulate their temperature and provides energy reserves after birth.
You might notice your baby drops down into your pelvis, making things a little uncomfortable and your back aches more. It might help to try a hands and knees position, to take the weight off your back.
Your baby will still be moving around, sucking his thumb, and trying to grasp things with his little fingers. He can hear your voice and might respond if you sing or talk to him.
Your baby’s weight is around 2.8 kg (6.3 pounds) and from top to toe baby’s length is around 48 cm (19 inches).