36th Week Pregnancy: Symptoms, Baby Development And Bodily Changes

36th Week Pregnancy

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How Many Months Pregnant Are You In The 36th week?

In the 36th week, you are in the eighth month and the third trimester of pregnancy. You are just a week away from full term.

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How Big Is Your Baby At 36 Weeks?

This week, the baby is about the size of a Head of Romaine Lettuce (1). Your baby measures 19.13in (48.6cm) in length and weighs about 6.30lb (2.859kg) (2).

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Baby Development In The 36th week


Body PartsDevelopment stage
Head (3)The size of the head is in proportion to the size of the body.
Skin (4)The protective coating on the skin, called vernix, gets thicker. There’s an increase in body fat.
Lungs (5)Will develop faster this week on.
Lanugo (6)Remains on the head but disappears from the face.
LimbsFully formed with fingernails and toenails.
EarsEarlobes that are soft, with little cartilage, are formed.
MusclesAre fully toned, and the baby can turn and lift the head.
Bones (7)All the bones in the body, except the skull bones, continue to harden at this time. The skull bones stay separated and soft until after the birth, to make the baby’s descent through the cervix smoother.
Digestive systemIs fully developed and ready to deal with breast milk.

Fetal position and movements: By the 36th week, the baby attains a head-down position deep into your pelvis. The movements will be lesser compared to the previous months, due to the insufficient space inside the uterus. There will be more leg and arm movements and fewer squirming movements. Since the baby is head-down, you will feel the kicks mostly under your ribs.

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[ Read: 38th Week Pregnancy ]

What symptoms of pregnancy do you experience in the 36th week?

The symptoms in the 36th week are more or less similar to those you have been experiencing in the last couple of months. They include:

  • Weight gain, according to the BMI (8).
BMIBelow 18.518.5 – 24.925 – 29.930 and Above
Weight gain (lbs)24 – 3521 – 3113 – 229 – 18
  • As the baby moves down into the pelvis, the pressure from the diaphragm is released, making it easier to breathe.
  • You could feel nauseated, due to some bodily changes in the last few months. Slowed digestion, combined with the uterus’ pressure on the stomach, can push the food upwards into the esophagus, resulting in nausea and vomiting.
  • Body aches, frequent urge to urinate and anxiety about the delivery can cause trouble sleeping.
  • You may experience pressure and discomfort in the pelvic area when the baby engages the head deep into the pelvis.
  • The growing uterus’ pressure on the rectal veins causes the blood vessels to swell up in that area, resulting in hemorrhoids.
  • The growing uterus also pushes the stomach acids into the esophagus, causing heartburn.
  • As the digestion process slows down, the food remains in the digestive tract for a long time, making you feel bloated and gassy.
  • The excess water retention in the body causes swelling of feet and ankles.
  • There will be a decrease in the vaginal discharge, as the body is getting ready for labor.
  • Braxton Hicks contractions are irregular and less painful contractions that help prepare your body for labor.
  • Fatigue is quite common towards the end of pregnancy.
  • The pressure exerted by the enlarged uterus increases the frequency of urination.
  • Slowed down digestion can lead to constipation.
  • The pregnancy hormones relax the joints, which can lead to hip pain.
  • As there is a shift in the center of gravity of the body, you may feel clumsy.

With just four weeks to go, you start experiencing bodily changes that indicate your baby is on track.

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Changes In The Body In The 36th Week

Your body undergoes several physical and emotional changes during pregnancy. Read on to learn about the changes this week.

Physical changes:

  • Itchy and enlarged belly. The enlarged belly makes your movements difficult and even cause trouble sleeping. Women pregnant with twins may deliver around this week.
  • Milky white fluid discharge from the breast begins. This fluid is called colostrum.
  • Stretch marks are evident.
  • Breasts are enlarged with darker nipples and areolas.
  • Prominent linea nigra.

Emotional changes:

  • Mood swings
  • Nesting instincts
  • Anxiety
  • Fear of labor

If the symptoms feel abnormal, or it feels like you may be in labor, go to the doctor immediately.

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When to call the doctor

  • In case of any significant change in the baby’s movement.
  • Sudden weight gain, blurred vision, persistent headache, sudden swelling of hands and face, lightheadedness, abdominal pain, and breathlessness.
  • Dark yellowish or orange colored urine with or without odor, accompanied by lower back pain or abdominal pain.
  • Vaginal itching or burning sensation while urinating indicates UTI.
  • Dry mouth and extreme thirst accompanied by fatigue, blurred vision, or dizziness.
  • Unilateral swelling or tenderness in the leg, with or without pain.

As you near the due date, the risk of preterm pregnancy also increases.

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[ Read: 37th Week Pregnancy ]

Risk Of Preterm Delivery In The 36th Week

Labor signs this week indicate preterm labor. Symptoms of preterm labor you may notice include (9):

  • Five or more contractions in one hour
  • Vaginal fluid leak
  • Pelvic pressure
  • Menstrual-like pelvic cramping
  • Abdominal cramping with or without diarrhea
  • Intermittent or constant lower backache
  • Streaks of blood or pink-tinged vaginal leak

It is important to be prepared, should you go into labor this week.

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Tips To Deal With The Preterm Labor

Here is what to do if you experience the preterm labor symptoms mentioned below.

  1. Contractions: If you feel the contractions, take a walk or just lie down on your left side and see if they get frequent and stronger. If they do not indicate labor, the doctor might prescribe some medication to cease the contractions.
  1. Water break: In case of fluid discharge from the vagina, use a sanitary pad. Visit the hospital, and the doctor may put you on intravenous antibiotics. A fluid break predisposes you and your baby to serious infections.
  1. Bleeding: Use a sanitary pad to control the vaginal bleeding and immediately proceed to the hospital. This helps the doctor to check for placental rupture.
  1. Pelvic or back pain: A gentle massage or using a warm compress can relieve you from pelvic or back pain. In case of persistent pain, contact your doctor.

If the symptoms persist and labor begins, the doctor will go ahead and deliver the baby normally or through a c-section.

Can A Baby Born In The 36th Week Survive?

Babies born at 36 weeks are called late preterm or near-term infants and have an excellent chance of survival if they get proper care (6). Their chances of survival are better, compared to the chances that infants born before this week have. However, there is still a considerably high morbidity risk due to difficulty in maintaining the baby’s body temperature, risk of catching jaundice and other infections, breastfeeding difficulty, as well as frequent admissions to the hospital (10).

If the pregnancy progresses smoothly without any risk of preterm delivery, schedule a regular OB/GYN visit.

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Your OB/GYN Visit

During your prenatal visit this week, the doctor will check your:

  • Weight
  • Blood pressure
  • Urine test
  • Fundal height

Other tests include:

  • Ultrasound: To check the health and position of the baby as well as to monitor the cervical dilation. Biophysical profiling is done to check the heart rate, length, and weight of the fetus.
  • Group B strep test: A screening test of the vaginal and rectal swabs is done to check for Streptococcus group B infection. In case of a positive test result, antibiotics will be administered intravenously during the labor (11).

If the symptoms are typical and the pregnancy progresses smoothly, continue to care for yourself until it’s time for labor.

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[ Read: 39th Week Of Pregnancy ]

Tips For Mom-to-be

  • Avoid jerky movements and get up or off the bed slowly when you are lying down.
  • A warm bath help relieve hemorrhoids, leg cramps, and back pain.
  • Avoid carbonated drinks, citrus, spicy, and deep-fried foods as they worsen heartburn.
  • Eat home-cooked meals.
  • Walking helps boost your energy levels and lets you sleep soundly.
  • Stay hydrated. Avoid drinking water or drink less one hour before going to bed, to reduce the frequency of urination at night and to avoid a disturbed sleep.
  • Wear loose and comfortable clothes.
  • Get a massage for body aches and back pain.
  • Do not take OTC medicines without the doctor’s advice.
  • Engage yourself by reading books.
  • Connect with your family and friends.
  • Start packing your maternity bag. Keep all the essentials such as nursing pads, sanitary pads, comfortable clothes for the hospital, diapers, and clothes for the newborn ready.
  • Discuss with your doctor about the possibility of cesarean or VBAC, if you had a previous c-section.

Discuss the delivery options with your partner and seek his help whenever necessary.

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Tips For The Dad-to-be

Your partner can be your primary support system. Here’s what he can do.

  • Help you with the daily household chores.
  • Be with you during the prenatal visits.
  • Make sure that the hospital bag is ready.
  • Keep the documents necessary for delivery at the hospital ready.
  • Start looking for a good pediatrician around your place.
  • Spend quality time with you.
  • Accompany you to pregnancy classes.
  • Be your partner during the workout sessions.
  • Plan a day out, dinner or picnic.

At 36 weeks, you are closer than before to the due date and the waiting game is almost over. You can expect the labor to start anytime from now. Avoid stress and enjoy every moment of the pregnancy, in anticipation of welcoming your angel.

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Do you have any experiences to share with us? Share it in the comments section below.

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shreeja pillai

Postgraduate in Chemistry and content writer. She has worked as a research analyst with a leading multinational pharmaceutical company and also holds a diploma in pharmaceutical regulatory affairs. Her interest in the field of medical research has developed her passion for writing research-based articles. She is a writer for MomJunction and aims at providing informative articles based on health and wellness. Apart from writing, she takes a great interest in music and traveling. know more about her at https://www.linkedin.com/in/shreeja-pillai/
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