36 Weeks Pregnant

Your baby is the size of a

head of romaine lettuce

At 36 weeks pregnant, you're coming ever closer to meeting your new bundle of joy. Your body is preparing itself for labor and delivery while your baby continues to grow and develop. Read on for insights and information on potential symptoms you might experience at 36 weeks of pregnancy, the developments taking place inside your belly, and what you can do to help prepare for labor and birth as you approach your due date.

Highlights at 36 Weeks Pregnant

Want some highlights from 36 weeks pregnant? Check these out:

  • Your little baby is about the size of a head of romaine lettuce.

  • They’re still gaining fat around 36 weeks, but it’s likely they’ve just about finished growing in length.

  • Around 36 weeks, you may feel your baby drop lower as they settle into your pelvis. This is sometimes called “lightening,” as the process may release some pressure from your lungs and diaphragm.

  • The size of your belly might cause some discomfort around this time, but there are ways to feel more comfortable, such as using extra pillows at night or getting some gentle exercise.

  • Still working on selecting a baby name? If you need a little inspiration, try our Baby Name Generator below:


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36 Weeks Pregnant: Your Baby’s Development

Your little one's steady growth and various fetal developments continue around 36 weeks pregnant:

  • At about 36 weeks, your baby is plumping up, becoming less wrinkled, and is generally starting to look more like the baby you’ll meet in just a few weeks.

  • All that growth means your little one doesn’t have quite as much room to move around at this point, because they’re now taking up most of the available space inside the amniotic sac. However, you’ll probably still feel fetal movements around 36 weeks from time to time.

  • Curious about how your not-so-little one is going to make it through the birth canal when you go into labor? At this point, their skull bones have formed but haven’t yet fused together. This means the bones can move and overlap, allowing the head and body to pass through your cervix and pelvis a little more easily.

  • For this reason, if you give birth vaginally, your baby’s head may look slightly misshapen when they’re born but will return to a more normal, rounded shape in a few hours or a few days. The skull bones will then fuse together over the first two years of life.

  • If you’re 36 weeks pregnant with twins, you might find some of our tips and advice helpful.

How Many Months Is 36 Weeks Pregnant?

You know that you're 36 weeks pregnant, but what is that in months? Although the 40 weeks of pregnancy don’t fit neatly into months, it’s likely you’re considered at the beginning of your ninth month now.

Baby's Size at 36 Weeks Pregnant

Your baby may likely have gained a pound or two over the past few weeks, and when you're 36 weeks pregnant, they’ve probably already reached the length they’ll be when they’re born. At 36 weeks, the size of your baby is about that of a head of Romaine lettuce. Though each baby is different, a typical baby weight at 36 weeks pregnant might be about six pounds.

Your Baby: What Does 36 Weeks Pregnant Look Like?

Although your healthcare provider would be able to confirm how your baby is positioned this week, here’s a general illustration of what your little one might look like and how your baby may be positioned at 36 weeks.

Your Body at 36 Weeks Pregnant

From now until you give birth, you may be going in for weekly checkups with your healthcare provider. During your appointment at 36 weeks pregnant and in the following weeks, you can expect to have your weight, blood pressure, and fundal height checked. Your provider may check your cervix to see if it’s preparing for labor.

Your provider will also examine you to find out whether your baby has moved into the head-down position in preparation for birth. If your baby is in a breech position, meaning that their bottom or their bottom and feet are positioned to come out first, the provider will be able to tell you whether they recommend trying to turn your little one.

You may have detected a feeling of pressure down below in your pelvic area and bladder around 36 weeks as your baby settles lower in your pelvis. The upside of your baby “dropping” is that there is now less pressure on your diaphragm and lungs than before, which is why this change is sometimes called “lightening.” You may be uncomfortable as your baby drops, but at least you’ll be breathing a little easier!

36 Weeks Pregnant: Your Symptoms

At 36 weeks pregnant, here are some of the symptoms you may be experiencing:

  • Frequent urination. As your baby drops lower into your pelvis, you’ll likely find yourself heading for bathroom more frequently around 36 weeks of pregnancy. You may even be waking up to pee several times during the night. There’s not much you can do to alleviate this annoying symptom until your baby arrives, but try to go whenever possible, making sure to fully empty your bladder each time. Don’t be tempted to skimp on drinking water; it’s important to stay hydrated, even if it means peeing more often. If you find that you’re leaking a little urine when you laugh, cough, or sneeze, wearing a panty liner may help you feel more comfortable, and Kegel exercises can also help improve bladder control.

  • Braxton Hicks contractions. As you get closer to your due date, pre-labor or “practice” contractions (Braxton Hicks contractions) might get stronger and may make you think you’re experiencing one of the signs and symptoms of labor at 36 weeks pregnant. One of the important differences between Braxton Hicks and true labor contractions is timing. When you’re actually in labor, your contractions will come at regular intervals and will occur closer and closer together. Braxton Hicks contractions do not strike at regular intervals and can sometimes be relieved by moving around or changing positions. Download and print our handy contraction tracking chart to help you time your contractions to see if they’re the real deal while you also look out for those symptoms not to ignore around 36 weeks pregnant. If you’re in any doubt about what you're experiencing, contact your healthcare provider.

  • Difficulty sleeping. Resting as much as you can now before your baby arrives is smart advice to follow, but you may be having trouble getting a good night’s sleep. At 36 weeks pregnant, your larger belly can make it tough to find a comfortable sleeping position, so try using extra pillows for support under your belly and between your legs if you’re uncomfortable. If insomnia strikes, it can also help to make your bed and bedroom as comfortable as possible. Try leaving your smartphone in another room before you go to bed, and perhaps try some light stretching or meditation to help you fall asleep. If you still find that you’re having trouble getting a full night’s rest, a quick power nap or two during the daytime can give you the energy boost you need to get through the day.

  • Numbness in legs and feet. Your growing body can put increased pressure on some of the nerves in your legs, feet, and hands. This can cause numbness or a tingling feeling from time to time. These symptoms should subside once you give birth, but if you find them troublesome around 36 weeks pregnant, talk to your healthcare provider. The provider may recommend ankle or wrist splints, or tell you to simply rest your hands or feet as much as possible.

  • Leg swelling. Thanks to your body retaining extra fluids while you’re pregnant, some swelling in your legs and feet is to be expected. If you experience any pain or discomfort, try to spend less time on your feet, and prop your feet up on a pillow or stool when you’re sitting down. Comfortable shoes and even support hose or stockings can also help.

  • Lower back pain. Around 36 weeks pregnant, it’s not uncommon to be feeling some lower back pain. The hormone known as relaxin starts loosening the joints and ligaments in your pelvis in preparation for labor, causing back pain that you might notice when you sit, stand, or climb stairs, for example. Talk to your healthcare provider if you’re experiencing lower back pain. They may recommend some gentle stretching exercises that can help relieve your discomfort.

How Big Is a Pregnant Belly at 36 Weeks?

Around 36 weeks or in the coming weeks, as your pregnancy is nearly full term, your uterus will finish expanding. It may now weigh about 2 ½ pounds. This extra weight and size around 36 weeks pregnant may lead to some of the uncomfortable symptoms we listed above.

What Does 36 Weeks Pregnant Look Like?

Every baby bump is different, but here’s an idea of how your belly may look around 36 weeks pregnant.

36 Weeks Pregnant: Things to Consider

Here are a few things you may wish to consider at this stage, when you're 36 weeks pregnant:

  • If you’d like to have a birth plan, download our birth plan guide and try creating your own. Discuss your preferences with your healthcare provider and be sure to pack copies of your completed birth plan in your hospital bag. Having a printed birth plan can help remind your providers about your preferences for labor pain management, who you’d like in the delivery room, and more. Keep in mind that labor and childbirth are unpredictable; things don’t always go to plan. You may even change your mind about certain things once you’re actually in labor. The exercise of writing a birth plan gives you the chance to think through your options.

  • Make sure you’re getting at least 85 milligrams of vitamin C each day to help strengthen your immune system, bones, and muscles. Good sources of this nutrient include citrus fruits, strawberries, broccoli, and tomatoes. One medium orange can contain up to 70 milligrams, and one cup of orange juice can contain more than 90 milligrams. If you’re taking prenatal vitamins, they may contain a sufficient amount. Your healthcare provider will be able to tell you whether or not you’re getting enough vitamin C.

  • Gentle exercise can help you be more comfortable during these final few weeks of your pregnancy. Go for walks and do gentle stretching to help take some pressure off your back. Standing backbends can be great for relieving the lower back pain caused by a bigger belly at 36 weeks pregnant. Simply place your hands on your hips and gently bend backward no more than 20 degrees. Repeat these bends as needed.

  • Take advantage of any “nesting” instincts you may feel at this time by working on preparing your home for your baby’s arrival. Some use this burst of energy to finalize last-minute projects, decorate the nursery, or shop for baby gear. Try not to wear yourself out, and always ask for help when you need it.

  • Keep tracking your baby’s movements at 36 weeks using our downloadable fetal movement tracker. Once a day, count at least 10 kicks or movements in a 2-hour period. After a meal is often a good time to do these “kick counts.” If you don’t feel 10 movements, your little one may simply be resting and you can try again later, but you may want to check with your healthcare provider for reassurance.

  • Sometime during the last weeks of your pregnancy, your healthcare provider will likely try to determine your baby’s position in your uterus. The provider may do so by feeling your little one’s outline through your abdomen; and if it seems likely that your baby is in the breech (bottom down or bottom and feet down) position, your provider may suggest an ultrasound exam at 36 weeks of pregnancy to be sure. Keep in mind that your baby still has a few weeks to change positions independently, but your healthcare provider will be keeping an eye on your little one’s position before labor just to be safe.

  • As your due date nears, read through some articles to get an idea of what to look out for and expect as you go into labor:

36 Weeks Pregnant: Questions for Your Healthcare Provider

Here are a few questions you might like to ask your healthcare provider around 36 weeks of pregnancy:

  • Will I be tested for group B streptococcus (GBS), and what happens if the result is positive?

  • Am I at a high risk of preeclampsia? This pregnancy-related high blood pressure disorder can sometimes strike in the third trimester, so it’s a good idea to be aware of the signs of preeclampsia at 36 weeks pregnant and throughout your pregnancy. Your healthcare provider will check your blood pressure during your checkups, but if you notice symptoms such as a persistent headache, face and hand swelling, upper stomach or shoulder pain, nausea and vomiting (in the second half of your pregnancy), or difficulty breathing at 36 weeks pregnant or any time in your pregnancy, contact your healthcare provider right away.

  • If I have a chronic condition, will any element of labor or childbirth be adjusted to reduce any risks associated with my condition?

  • What safe exercises can I do at this point in my pregnancy?

  • What are some symptoms not to ignore at 36 weeks pregnant?

  • Can I fly at 36 weeks pregnant?

36 Weeks Pregnant: Your Checklist

As your due date draws near, here are some to-dos you might like to consider:

☐ Find out what room options are available to you at your hospital or birthing center.

☐ Wash any new baby clothes and linens.

☐ Learn about your options for feeding your baby. Your healthcare provider can go over breastfeeding and formula feeding with you.

☐ Stock up on diapers and wipes if you haven't put together a nice supply yet. And make sure you have everything you need for all those diaper changes you’ll be doing, including things like diaper rash cream, a diaper pail, and a changing mat for the top of your changing table.

☐ If you haven’t already, start considering the things you’ll need to baby-proof your home. We asked thousands of Pampers Parents to review and vote on all the best baby products and their choices include baby gates and child-proof locks to help you with your babyproofing efforts.

How We Wrote This Article The information in this article is based on the expert advice found in trusted medical and government sources, such as the American Academy of Pediatrics and the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. You can find a full list of sources used for this article below. The content on this page should not replace professional medical advice. Always consult medical professionals for full diagnosis and treatment.