36th – Thirty-sixth week of pregnancy

36 week of pregnancy

Now that you are entering the ninth and final month of pregnancy, your baby has an excellent chance of surviving (about 99%) without experiencing any long-term complications.

However, it must also be said that babies born at the thirty-sixth week of gestation may have some difficulty in feeding and may therefore need intensive care after delivery.

Have you already prepared everything you need to take to the hospital on the day of delivery?

Baby development in the 36th week of pregnancy

The development of fat and the external appearance of the fetus

Your baby’s layer of subcutaneous fat continues to increase – it fills out his cheeks and gives him that plump look you’ll love in a few weeks. At this stage, fat can make up up to 15% of its total weight, which helps it maintain an adequate body temperature.

The baby is losing its hair and vernix, which then mix with the amniotic fluid and which it subsequently swallows. These substances will then be expelled with the baby’s first intestinal secretions during the first days of life.

The resulting substance will have a greenish-brown colour, with a viscous consistency, called meconium.

The development of bones and skull

The bones of her skull continue to remain flexible and cartilaginous, so the baby can then pass more easily through the birth canal. Most of the bones in his body also remain soft and cartilaginous, gradually hardening over the first few years of his life.

The development of the sensory organs

His hearing is still progressively improving: some scientific research has shown that in the thirty-sixth week of pregnancy babies remember their mother’s voice, and then recognize it after birth.

Some research even shows that newborns prefer their mother’s voice to any other sound.

The development of internal organs

The fetus now has good blood circulation and a partially developed immune system, ready to fight off infection and disease once it is born. The baby’s immune system is “helped” by the mother’s antibodies, which pass to the baby through the placenta and then through the mother’s milk.

His lungs are mature enough for him to survive with little assistance should he be born this week.

Although in this phase his digestive system has already formed, until a few weeks after birth, it will not be fully mature and functional, and this because up to now the system has not been used as the baby has taken nourishment from the umbilical cord.

How big is the baby

The fetus, about 47 centimeters long, has almost the standard length of a newborn, while its weight – which is now increasing by about 30 grams per day – is around 2.7 kilograms.

Thus, it is approximately the size of a white melon.

Weight gain gradually slows down in the last few weeks to allow him to store energy for the day of delivery.

At this stage, twins will likely be smaller than single babies, as their weight gain tends to slow slightly before delivery compared to singles.

Fetal movements

Even now the child will continue to kick and shake his fists, despite his increasingly limited space.

You will probably feel the punches and kicks much lower than before as it is moving down the birth canal in preparation for birth.

Although she no longer has much room in the uterus to rotate, you should still feel the same “amount” of movement when you count the kicks.

The birth position – the breech baby

At week 36, your midwife will check your belly to feel the baby, and to see if it is positioned correctly upside down for birth.

If the fetus remains in the breech (feet down) or transverse (lying on its side) position even after this week, the chances of needing a cesarean delivery will be greater.

However, there’s still plenty of time to attempt an external cephalic version (VCE), which is a procedure performed by your doctor, which involves applying pressure to certain points on your belly in order to turn the baby.

VCE has an approximately 50% chance of success.

The twin pregnancy

In a twin pregnancy, one of the babies begins to move towards the pelvic cavity, so that the upper part of the uterus becomes less cramped, allowing the babies more room to stretch.

Twin pregnancies are considered full-term at 37 weeks, but about 50% of twins are born in the 36th week.

The woman at the thirty-sixth of gestation

It is normal to feel increased pressure in the lower abdomen as the baby is gradually descending into the tummy.

This happening, called “relieving,” allows your lungs, rib cage, and stomach to expand slightly.

The result is a decrease in breathlessness and heartburn .

On the other hand, increasing the pressure on your bladder could make you go to the bathroom even more often.

Your weight gain slows in the latter part of the third trimester, and you may also notice a thick, yellowish fluid called colostrum (the first milk your body makes) leaking from your breasts.

Don’t be surprised if you wake up in the morning and find that you want to clean every corner of your house: during weeks 35 and 36 most women go into the «nest syndrome», and this is thanks to their energy levels which increase during this last month.

It’s not dangerous, and it’s usually safe to give in to the urge to clean the house, as long as you avoid stressing yourself too much.

Tests and ultrasound at the 36th week of pregnancy

During each prenatal visit, your doctor will check how low your baby has dropped.

They may also order an ultrasound if your baby has a suspected breech position.

Ultrasounds could also be used in the external cephalic version, to guide the doctor in the procedure.

The external cephalic version (one of the methods that helps the baby to turn around in the correct way, going from breech to cephalic) can be performed from the 36th week of pregnancy, and is performed by expert doctors.

To be able to turn the fetus, a pressure is applied to the woman’s belly that favors a “somersault” of the baby and its consequent correct positioning.

During this week’s prenatal checkup, as well as in week 35, you will be tested for the so-called GBS, to detect the presence of group B strep (24) .

The symptoms of the thirty-sixth week

In this period the most common symptoms consist of,

  • a pain in the round ligament of the uterus;
  • Braxton Hicks contractions;
  • edema or swelling of the arms, legs and ankles;
  • pain in the pelvis;
  • coccyx pain;
  • leg cramps;
  • joint and back pain;
  • frequent urinations (due to the baby going down into the abdomen putting even more pressure on the bladder);
  • stretch marks;
  • itchy skin, especially around the belly, breasts, and thighs;
  • constipation;
  • varicose veins and hemorrhoids;
  • restless legs syndrome and insomnia;
  • slight increase in appetite (as the baby no longer puts pressure on your stomach, making it easier for you to eat);
  • depression and mood swings (often due to lack of sleep and worries about labor and delivery;
  • hot flashes;
  • carpal tunnel syndrome (tingling and numbness in the hands and fingers).

Signs of a premature birth

By the thirty-sixth week, the doctor will observe if the cervix begins to open by checking its dilation.

These are signs of a premature birth:

  • a feeling of high pressure in the pelvic area;
  • contractions that become more frequent over time;
  • throbbing pain in the lower back;
  • vaginal bleeding;
  • an increase in vaginal secretions;
  • pinkish or bloody mucous secretions (loss of mucus plug);
  • menstrual-like cramps;
  • nausea, diarrhea and vomiting;
  • abundant watery secretions (leakage of amniotic fluid).

When to call the doctor

Contact your doctor in the following cases:

  • lack of movement for a long time (2-4 hours)
  • suspicious signs of premature birth;
  • extreme fatigue and light-headedness, together with increased thirst, dry mouth and an abnormally urgent urge to urinate (may indicate gestational diabetes)</sup>;
  • persistent headaches , dizziness and sudden changes in vision, accompanied by abdominal pain, sudden swelling of the face and hands and shortness of breath (could indicate high blood pressure or preeclampsia);
  • pain and burning sensation when urinating, along with pain in the lower back (around the kidneys), greenish/yellowish or thick white jelly-like discharge, with or without a bad smell, diarrhoea, fever, nausea, vomiting, or pain after intercourse sexual (could indicate urinary tract infections, kidney infections or candidiasis;
  • one-sided swelling, one foot or ankle more swollen than the other (could indicate a blood clotting disorder);
  • severe itching without rash, which does not go away when treated (may indicate cholestasis of pregnancy, a rare liver disease).

Some useful tips for a healthy pregnancy and baby

Some useful tips for you who are now at the end of pregnancy:

  • Attend prenatal yoga classes or follow a regular exercise ‘routine’, such as taking short walks twice a day, as this helps you manage pain as well as boost your energy levels.
  • lie on your left side and keep your feet elevated with a pillow to reduce edema and improve blood circulation;
  • drink plenty of fluids (at least eight glasses a day) to cleanse your system of toxins and minimize edema;
  • take care of your teeth and gums by brushing and flossing them regularly,

Katherine Johnson, M.D., is a board-certified obstetrician-gynecologist with clinical expertise in general obstetrics and gynecology, family planning, women’s health, and gynecology.

She is affiliated with the Obstetrics and Gynecology division at an undisclosed healthcare institution and the online platform, Maternicity.com.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *