At 37 weeks, you're pretty much ready to pop as some might say. Your baby will be almost fully developed and you're just playing a waiting game for a ride to the hospital or a call to your midwife if you are planning a home birth. You still need to be mindful of your nutrition, your environment, and still getting enough movement with doctor approval. If you haven't already now would be a great time to refine and finalize your birth plan and have your hospital bag ready to go! Or at least have a firm idea of what you might want in your bag.
Key Points of Pregnancy at 37 Weeks
- From this point on all that is left to do is go into labor but your baby will be growing in weight.
- Be vigilant of any discharge or changes in your vaginal smell, discharge color, and texture.
- Your baby will most likely have a full head of hair at this point and will be starting to turn to face head down.
Pregnancy Body Changes at 37 Weeks Pregnant
By 37 weeks of pregnancy, most pregnancies are considered “full term.” In most cases, nothing will be done to stop your labor once it starts. If you are having your first baby your baby may have “dropped” lower into your pelvis.
Usually, in a woman who has already given birth, this happens at the start of labor. True engagement is the fixing of the fetal presenting part — usually the head — at the level of the mid pelvis, or at the level of the ischial spines.
Your cervix may start to dilate in preparation for labor. This means that the mucus plug that seals off your uterus from infection and bacteria will discharge from your body. The plug can discharge from your body weeks, days, or hours before you go into labor.
The mucus plug is thick, yellowish, and may be tinged with blood. Always alert your care provider about any discharge. Alert your doctor immediately if it is any other color, there is a serious amount of blood, or concerning changes.
Make sure you are wearing supportive bras, as your breasts are preparing for breastfeeding by growing larger and fuller. You may want to start using breast cream to prepare your nipples and avoid cracking or dryness. According to the Mayo Clinic, a proto-form of breast milk called colostrum will start to come out of your breasts and you should bottle and store it if possible. This colostrum can greatly benefit your newborn in their development.
If you are going to breastfeed, get the supplies you need ready now. The breastfeeding checklist is invaluable for preparation.
It's a good idea to start preparing for delivery and the birth of your new baby. If you haven't already done so, pack your hospital bag. Use the “What to take to the hospital checklist” to make sure you have everything you and your baby will need.
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Your Baby's Growth at 37 Weeks
Your baby weighs close to 6.5 pounds and may be about 20 inches long from head to toe. Your baby's head is now cradled in your pelvic cavity — surrounded and protected by your pelvic bones. This position clears some much-needed space for her growing legs and buttocks.
Many babies now have a full head of hair, with locks maybe around one inch / 2.5 centimeters long. But don't be surprised if her hair isn't the same color as yours. Dark-haired couples are sometimes taken aback when their children are born with bright red or blond hair, and fair-haired couples likewise can produce babies with dark hair. And then, of course, some babies don't have any hair at all.
The coating of lanugo that covered your baby from 26 weeks has disappeared, and so has most of the vernix caseosa, the whitish substance that also covers them.
Your baby will continue to develop about half an ounce of fat a day and is getting rounder and pinker. They are still practicing breathing, in preparation for life outside the womb.