Your Baby at 36 Weeks Pregnant
Your baby is the size of a head of romaine lettuce (length: 18.6-19"; weight: 5.5-6 lbs.).
How sweet the sound. Your baby loves hearing you read or sing. In fact, studies show that newborns prefer the sound of their mother's voice to other voices. Research has also found that newborns show a preference for a song that was played to them repeatedly while they were in the uterus. It's not too late to start: Pick a time each day to play or sing a favorite song, or read your baby a story.
The incredible, shapable skull. Your baby's head is specially designed to travel through your cervix and pelvis. The bones in his skull aren't fused together yet; this loose construction facilitates his trip down the birth canal without harming him or you. These bones will gradually fuse over the first year of life.
Your Pregnancy at 36 Weeks
Step up the checkups. Most healthcare providers will want to see you weekly starting at 36 weeks. Your provider will also check your blood pressure during each visit and make sure your urine doesn't contain any protein. High blood pressure and protein in the urine are potential warning signs of preeclampsia, a condition of pregnancy that can be risky to you and the baby.
Living large. Your uterus is now a thousand times larger than its original volume. (Since it's up under your ribs, making breathing more and more difficult, this fact may not come as a surprise to you!) You may have put on 25 to 30 pounds by now. Over the next four weeks, it's likely you'll gain only a few more pounds, or nothing at all. Your uterus may not be the only thing expanding. Even if edema (the medical term for swelling caused by excess fluid) hasn't troubled you up to now, you may retain more fluid in the last month of pregnancy.
Take it easy now. Whenever you can, take a few minutes to rest with your feet elevated or lie on your left side. Both positions will increase circulation, getting the fluid in your extremities moving. A note of caution: Reducing your fluid intake will not reduce edema. You still need plenty of water each day to clear waste through the kidneys, move your bowels, and keep your blood volume up.