37 Weeks Pregnant
37 Weeks Pregnant: Your Baby’s Development
Your pregnancy is quickly coming to an end, but your little one still has a bit more growing to do. This week, she’s probably gaining about a half an ounce each day, adding fat and plumping up before birth. Keep in mind that, although she’s super close to her due date, she’s still considered to be in the “early term” stage at this point. She won’t be considered “full term” until week 39.
In other developments, she has now shed most of the lanugo, the fine body hair that covered her little body while in your uterus. She’s now able to make grasping motions with her fingers. Plus, she may also respond to bright lights in the outside world by moving or turning toward the light. If she hasn’t already, she may also be moving into a head-down position in preparation for labor.
How Big Is Your Baby at 37 Weeks?
At 37 weeks, your baby is about the size of Swiss chard.
Mom's Body at 37 Weeks Pregnant
Are you wondering how many months along you are at 37 weeks pregnant? Because pregnancy doesn't divide neatly into months, it's possible you're either in month 9 or 10 at this point. At 37 weeks pregnant, your cervix may be beginning to dilate. When this starts to happen, you may lose the seal that protected your uterus from infection throughout your pregnancy. This seal is known as the mucus plug. If, at 37 weeks pregnant, you notice some extra vaginal discharge that is clear, pinkish, or slightly bloody, this may be the mucus plug. Seeing this mucus discharge is an indication that labor is starting or is not far off. Keep in mind, you can lose the mucus plug hours, days, or even weeks before labor begins. Some moms-to-be don't notice it at all. At 37 weeks, if you do notice the mucus plug on your panties or on the toilet paper after you wipe, or if you are unsure if this means your labor has started, you may want to call your healthcare provider for advice on what to do next.
37 Weeks Pregnant: Your Symptoms
Pelvic pain or pressure. Is your baby sitting lower in your pelvis these days? This dropping — also called lightening or engagement — can occur a few weeks before your baby is born, and you might notice it if you feel a little extra pressure on your lower abdomen. This pelvic pain can even make it hard to walk. If pelvic pressure is causing you discomfort, a warm bath may provide some relief. Contact your healthcare provider for more advice on what to do to relieve pelvic or lower back pain.
Shortness of breath. If your baby hasn't dropped yet, she might be pressing up against your lungs, making breathing a little more difficult. Try to rest more, move slowly, and sit or stand up straight to help give your lungs more room to expand with each breath. Once your baby “drops” lower into your pelvis, this may take some pressure off your lungs and diaphragm, making it easier for you to breathe.
Nausea. Some moms-to-be experience nausea around 37 weeks pregnant, and it could be a sign that labor is about to start. Try to eat four or five smaller meals instead of three larger meals. Bland foods like rice, toast, or bananas can also help get you through these bouts of nausea.
Snoring. This one might not trouble you as much as your partner. Most moms-to-be go through some breathing changes during pregnancy thanks to hormonal changes, and toward the end, some snoring is not uncommon as the mucus membranes in your nasal passages tend to dry out. Make sure you're staying hydrated, and use a humidifier in your bedroom if your partner starts to complain about your snoring.
Unstable on your feet. By now, your pregnancy weight gain means your center of gravity has shifted, making it easier for you to lose your balance. This extra weight from your baby, the placenta, amniotic fluid, and more can make it challenging to move around. Once your baby drops lower into your pelvis, the distribution of your weight may even change again, so be extra careful whenever you're on your feet! To keep yourself steady, stand with your feet pointed in the same direction with your weight balanced evenly on both feet. Try not to tilt your pelvis forward or backward, and avoid lifting or carrying heavy or bulky items.
Contractions.At 37 weeks pregnant, you could start to feel contractions that you might recognize as being similar to menstrual cramping. Contractions that are irregular and go away when you move or change positions are likely Braxton Hicks “practice” contractions. But, if you feel contractions that occur regularly, get progressively stronger, and don't subside if you move or change positions, you'll want to call your healthcare provider for advice.
37 Weeks Pregnant: Things to Consider
There are a variety of different birthing positions that can help during labor and delivery. Some require equipment such as a birthing bed, chair, pool, or ball. It's a good idea to ask ahead of time what's available at your hospital or birth center. Also, try to keep an open mind; once you're in labor, you may find that what you actually find comfortable is different from what you expected to find comfortable.
Research your options for feeding your baby. The choice of breastfeeding or formula feeding is yours to make, but you may want to find out more about each. You can talk to your healthcare provider or a lactation consultant (the La Leche League website can help you find one in your area) to get more information.
If you haven't already purchased one, you'll need a rear-facing car seat properly installed in time for your baby's trip home from the hospital. Make sure the car seat you buy meets all safety standards. If you'll be using a hand-me-down car seat from a friend or family member or re-using a car seat you used with one of your older children, make sure it's in good condition and is still within the expiration date set by the manufacturer. Learn more about how to choose a car seat, and if you need any help installing your baby's car seat, your local fire department is a good place to start.
You may want to ask some trusted friends, neighbors, or family members to help out with things like grocery shopping, laundry, or looking after your older children or family pets in the first few weeks with your newborn. Make a list of what you might need help with so that your helpers know exactly what they can do to lighten the load.
37 Weeks Pregnant: Ask Your Doctor
What happens if my baby doesn't turn head-down?
Under what circumstances might I need a cesarean section?
Is my birth partner allowed to be with me when I give birth? What if I'm having a cesarean section?
How many people can I have with me during labor?
What happens right after I give birth?
How long do you think I'll stay in hospital after I give birth, and what happens during that time?
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.