Your Pregnancy Week 36

Reviewed by James Brann, MD
Learn about 

your symptoms and changes during the 36th week of pregnancy.

Your Baby

By the time you reach pregnancy week 36 your baby is already about 5.8 pounds and may measure more than 18.6 inches long! Compared with the start of your pregnancy you might consider your little one a heavyweight champ at this point in time!

Changes in Your Growing Baby

Your baby's main job at 36 weeks pregnant is still gaining weight. This will continue up until the point of delivery. You may not think this is very exciting but don't forget all of the important changes and developments your baby has undergone in the last several weeks. Your baby has been working diligently to mature and develop organs, reproductive systems and other unique features that will make your baby the unique person he is at delivery.
You should also remember that weight gain is vital to your baby's health and wellbeing after delivery. The more weight your baby puts on the better prepared your baby will be to face the challenges that will present on the 'outside'.
Here's an interesting bit of information you may like to know. Some researchers think that babies actually release a signal to the mother's body that triggers labor. There are actual many different theories about what exactly triggers labor. The truth is no one is one hundred percent certain, as different factors can influence different women and babies differently!

Some researchers think that when your baby is ready to delivery their brain sends a signal to the fetal adrenal glands. These glands might respond by producing hormones to help stimulate altered production of estrogen and progesterone, a sign your body may need to go into labor.
Still others believe that your baby's lungs may secrete signals or hormones indicating to the rest of the body that they are mature and ready for the outside world. This combined with the presence of certain enzymes may result in the release of prostaglandin's that can trigger labor by ripening and preparing the cervix for delivery. This is a very plausible suggestion as prostaglandins do play a key role in labor and delivery.

Your Body's Development

You are at the height of your pregnancy glory. Your uterus has risen to more than 6 inches above your navel. You may think you couldn't possible grow a centimeter more, but your baby has other plans. Most women will continue their pregnancy until the 39th or 40th week (or more in some cases!).

It is quite remarkable how well our uterus adapts to pregnancy. During pregnancy the uterus grows from the size of a plum to the size of a large melon and then some. At no other time during the course of your life will your body change, transform and adapt more so than during pregnancy. Amazingly, within six weeks after delivery however, your uterus will return to its pre-pregnancy size and shape!

Changes In Your Body

By 36 weeks pregnant you may have felt lightning as the baby drops into the pelvis, and you may even be anxious for labor to begin. Keep in mind however that you still have a good four weeks or so before you deliver. That time is essential to allow your baby the opportunity to fully develop and grow. Don't forget a full term pregnancy lasts anywhere from 37 to 42 weeks duration. Your baby can come anytime between then and be quite normal.

You may hope your baby will come early, but most babies have a peculiar habit of coming a bit late. Remember, take some time to relax in the upcoming weeks. Chances are you will delivery around, though not exactly on your due date. In fact, only about five percent of women actually deliver on their due date!

Video: What to Expect from the 36th Week of Pregnancy



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