Week 37 of Your Pregnancy
At 37 weeks, you're 9 months pregnant with the end in sight. At your next prenatal appointment, your doctor will likely check your cervix for clues about how you're progressing.
PREGNANCY WEEK 37
Your Body at Week 37 of Your Pregnancy
Shortness of Breath
Your uterus can now be felt about 4 inches above your belly button. This means that your uterus is pushing all the internal organs that used to be there somewhere else, crowding your diaphragm and lungs and making it more difficult for them to expand fully. Your body is spare on air and will be until your baby drops near the end of pregnancy in preparation for birth. While this shortness of breath may feel very uncomfortable to you, your baby is fine as he’s getting his oxygen from the placenta.
You may have pelvic pain due to joint flexibility. There is also the pressure from your baby's head burrowing deeper and deeper into your pelvis and your heavier uterus weighing you down. To relieve the discomfort, relax with your hips elevated, take warm baths, apply warm compresses
You might feel clumsier than normal, which is perfectly understandable. Not only are you heavier, the concentration of weight in your pregnant belly causes a shift in your center of gravity. Plus, thanks to hormonal changes, your ligaments are more lax, so your joints are looser, which may also contribute to your balance being a bit off. Balancing your body gets harder this week as you waddle toward the finish line — just a few more weeks to go! Continue to play it safe.
With the hormonal changes, midnight bathroom runs, leg cramps, heartburn and your big belly, sleep is a problem. Many women may also be coping with anxiety about the upcoming birth and a mind that is filled with their to-do-before-the-baby-comes list.
Your body needs rest and worrying will not help.
Instead, do your best to get comfy — before bed and when you get in it. Have a warm cup of milk before sleeping. Ask your partner for a massage. You deserve it!
Strong Baby Movements
You’ll feel your baby moving every day now, sometimes with a punch or a kick! and some times with a wiggle or stretch. You can also expect more activity after you’ve eaten and when you’re lying down. You may feel fewer hard kicks at this stage. Always check with your doctor if you feel there are some other changes.
Braxton Hicks Contractions
Around this time some women may experience Braxton Hicks Contractions. Your uterus tightens or hardens, these are irregular contractions. It may feel like a tightening sensation that begins at the top of your uterus and then spreads downward.
How do you know they aren’t real labor? They’ll stop if you change position, so try getting up if you’re lying down or walking if you’ve been sitting. If they are real labor contractions, they'll become progressively stronger and more regular — so in that case, call your doctor.
As your breasts get bigger in the third trimester, they may also leak a yellowish fluid called colostrum, which is the precursor to breast milk. This liquid, packed with protein and antibodies, is the first milk your baby will get. If the leaks are getting uncomfortable, try wearing nursing pads.
Your uterus puts more pressure on your bladder in the third trimester, giving it less room to store urine. Cut down on the bathroom trips by double voiding: Pee, then when you’re done, pee again. That’ll make sure you’ve emptied your bladder completely.
More than half of all pregnant women experience swollen, itchy veins in the rectum due to the bigger uterus pressing down as well as to increased blood flow to the area. Hemorrhoids can be painful and even cause rectal bleeding.
Constipation can aggravate them, so your best bet at prevention is to increase your fluid and fiber intake and to eat plenty of fiber-rich foods, like fruits, veggies and whole grains.
Your baby's head and your growing uterus may rest on the sciatic nerve in the lower part of your spine. If that happens, you may feel sharp, shooting pain, tingling or numbness that starts in your buttocks and radiates down the back of your legs — known as sciatica. The pain of sciatica can be quite intense at times, and though it may pass if your baby shifts positions, it can also linger until you've delivered. Talk to your doctor about it.
Swelling in Feet and Ankles
During pregnancy your body tissues accumulate excess fluid that is needed to support you and your baby, this may cause swelling in your ankles and feet. Because fluid tends to pool in the feet due to gravity. Reduce water retention in your feet by avoiding standing or sitting for long periods of time — and try to keep your legs elevated when you can. Also keep yourself hydrated.
Heartburn and Indigestion
If you’ve got a burning sensation from the depths of your stomach to your mouth after you eat, then you’ve got pregnancy-induced indigestion and heartburn. Avoid heartburn triggers like spicy or fatty foods and caffeinated drinks and ask your doctor about pregnancy-safe heartburn remedies.
Hormones relax your bowel muscles, so they are not that efficient in moving the waste products out from your body. Add high-fiber foods to your diet, like fruits, vegetables and whole grains, along with plenty of fluids, too.
Your growing baby is putting more demands on your body, and insomnia may be leaving you dead tired during the day. So ask for help and get help.
Blood streaked Vaginal Discharge
The discharge from your vagina may be increasing and getting thinner. Don’t be shocked if you notice the mucous is pinkish, red or brownish after you’ve had sex or a vaginal examination. That just means that your cervix, which is sensitive now and may be starting to dilate, has been bruised.
During this time of your pregnancy you are mostly tired and exhausted. But you may also get the burst of extra energy known as the nesting instinct — a need to get organized and ready for the baby. If you do feel energized, take breaks to rest and eat.
Your Baby at Week 37 of Your Pregnancy
How big is my baby?
By the end of week 37, your baby will be full-term. They look like a newborn baby, measuring about 35cm from head to bottom. They weight about 3kg and are getting ready to be born.
The baby has fully mature lungs and can grip firmly with their hand. Their gut contains sticky green meconium that will form their first poo after they are born.
Your baby is not yet considered full-term
Your due date is getting close now, but doctors don't consider your baby "full term" until 39 weeks. Spending the next two weeks in the womb allows your baby's brain and lungs to fully mature. So if you're planning to have a c-section, for example, your doctor will schedule it for no earlier than 39 weeks, unless there's a medical reason to intervene earlier.
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