At 36 weeks pregnant your body will most likely start seriously preparing for birth. Your baby will be fully in position for birth, and your hospital bag should be packed at all times. While most children aren't born until the 37th week and a 36-week-old baby might be considered a premature baby, the commonly associated risks with premature babies have mostly passed. Read on to what else you could expect at 36 weeks.
Key Points of Pregnancy at 36 Weeks
- Cervical dilation will most likely start as the baby is on its way. Your doctor will confirm this with weekly check-ups.
- A process called lightening will occur. Also known as engagement this is when your baby's head will drop down deep into the pelvis.
- Your baby will be starting to build up their facial muscles so they can come out ready to suckle as soon as possible.
Pregnancy Body Changes
When you are 36 weeks pregnant, you may begin to see your healthcare provider every week. Your doctor may give you an internal exam to determine if cervical effacement (thinning of the cervix) or cervical dilation (opening of the cervix) has begun.
Lightening (also called engagement) may occur this week. Lightening is when the baby's presenting part (usually the head) drops down into the pelvis as a first step in preparation for birth.
After lightening occurs, the pressure on your lungs and stomach will be relieved and your appetite may increase. However, mothers may now feel a tingling sensation or numbness in the pelvic region, which is caused by the pressure of the baby on the nerves in the legs and pelvis.
As your baby moves down into the pelvic area, the pressure may cause hemorrhoids, a condition in which the veins around the anus or lower rectum become swollen or inflamed. Tell your doctor if you experience hemorrhoids.
Your Baby's Growth and Development at Week 36
When you're 36 weeks pregnant, your baby is now probably about 13 inches long from crown to rump and weighs about 6 pounds.
Your baby is filling out, with very little wrinkling left. There is fat on your baby's cheeks, and powerful sucking muscles also contribute to your baby's full face. The fat is also used to help support the baby's health after they come out of the womb.
By this week your baby's gums have become rigid and their sucking muscles are fully developed. The brain is developing at an amazing pace. Your baby is finishing the final touches in preparation for birth.