WOW! Can you believe it? In only a few more weeks you'll be holding your precious little angel in your arms for the first time and struggling to imagine them as that familiar 'bump' you carried for so long!
Changes to you and your body
At this stage of your pregnancy, your baby's lungs will have completed their development and are now busy producing a lubricant known as a surfactant which help your baby's lungs to take their very first breath following birth. At 36 weeks, your baby is most likely to have moved down into your pelvis, preparing itself for birth. This positioning is known as ‘lightening'.
If you have been told that your baby is in a breech position, your midwife or doctor may arrange to perform an external cephalic version. This is a procedure in which a trained healthcare professional tries to help your baby to move into the correct position by pushing on certain places on your bump with their hands. In most cases they will also use an ultrasound scan to help them position your baby.
Changes to your baby
At 36 weeks, your baby will weigh around six pounds, or 2.7 kilograms, and measures about 18 and one-half inches or 49 centimetres in length and will be gaining weight at a rate of around one ounce per day.
Preparing for birth and your new arrivalAt 36 weeks, you may well start to experience Braxton Hicks otherwise known as 'practise' contractions. If you have been having these contractions for the past few weeks, you will be more used to them by now. Continue to look out for more stronger and more frequent contractions, as these are a sign of labour. Braxton Hicks contractions should only last under a minute in length.
You may be feeling more nervous about the impending birth, which is perfectly normal, especially if you are exepcting your first baby. If you have questions about your labour, you may like to put them down in a list so that you do not forget to ask the midwife next time you see them, it can also help to chat with your friends or family you have given birth as they may be able to help put your mind at rest.
You are likely to see your midwife at least once a week at this stage of your pregnancy. During these visits, your midwife will continue to check the position in which your baby is lying and you may well be told at what stage your baby's head in engaged as it prepares for birth.
If you are scheduled to have a planned Caesarean section, you may like to plan for friends and relatives to help you around the home following the operation. You will be unable to perform heavy-lifting following the operation for a good number or weeks following the operation whilst you recover and it's recommended that you don't drive for around six weeks. You may therefore wish to consider arranging for a friend or close neighbour to help you perform your usual daily tasks.
Ensure that you keep your emergency telephone numbers near to the phone. You may need them close to hand when you go into labour. Plan your route to the hospital and ensure that you have other routes available to you should you not be able to follow your initial choice of route. This will aid in reducing stress when you do need to reach the hospital.
You may also like to consider choosing a stand-by birthing partner. This is particularly important if your first choice of birthing partner may be away from home at the time of you going into labour.