With just a couple of weeks to go until your official due date, this is an incredibly exciting time!
Your due date is a close estimate of when you will give birth, but many women enter labor one or two weeks before and after the estimated due date. That means you can be going into labor very soon!
While you’re waiting, it’s wise to stay up-to-date and informed about this exciting stage of your pregnancy. Fortunately, this article features everything you need about pregnancy week 37, from symptoms to self-care tips and FAQs to ease your worried mind.
To begin, let’s look at your baby’s development this week.
Your baby at 37 weeks pregnant
At 37 weeks pregnant, your baby is considered full-term, is approximately 19 to 20 inches long, and weighs around 6.5 to 7 pounds.
Here are some of the developmental milestones that your baby is likely to have reached this stage:
1. Skin and fat
Your baby’s skin is becoming less wrinkled and filling out with more fat, which will help regulate their body temperature once they are born.
Your baby’s lungs continue to mature and prepare for breathing outside the womb.
3. Digestive system
Your baby’s digestive system is almost fully developed, and they are practicing swallowing amniotic fluid to help build up their digestive muscles.
4. Head position
During these final weeks of pregnancy, your baby’s head will typically move down into your pelvis, preparing for birth.
5. Growth spurt and activity
Your baby may also experience a growth spurt and become more active as they prepare for delivery.
It’s important to remember that every baby develops at their own pace; these milestones are only general guidelines.
Your doctor or midwife can provide more specific information about your baby’s development and what to expect in the coming weeks.
Your symptoms at 37 weeks pregnant
Pregnancy symptoms start from the early days of your pregnancy and continue until you give birth. Some come early and stay until the end, while others only appear in the third trimester.
At 37 weeks, you’re probably still experiencing fatigue and swelling, and your body prepares to undergo the miracle of childbirth; at this late stage of your pregnancy, you can expect:
1. Braxton Hicks contractions
These are mild contractions that show up in the third trimester. They’re sometimes called “practice contractions.” They can occur more frequently as you get closer to your due date.
2. Back pain
As your baby grows, it can put pressure on your lower back, leading to discomfort or pain.
You may feel more tired than usual as your body prepares for labor and delivery.
You may experience swelling in your hands, feet, or face due to increased fluid retention.
5. Trouble sleeping
Finding a comfortable sleeping position at this pregnancy stage can be challenging, making it harder to get a good night’s sleep.
6. Increased vaginal discharge
As your body prepares for labor, you may notice an increase in vaginal discharge.
7. Mood changes
Remember that every woman’s pregnancy is unique, and you may not experience all of these symptoms or may experience them to varying degrees.
If you have any concerns about your symptoms or have any questions, don’t hesitate to talk to your healthcare provider.
Self-Care at 37 Weeks pregnant
At 37 weeks pregnant, you are in the final stretch of your pregnancy, and there are a few important things to keep in mind:
- Be aware of the signs of labor: At 37 weeks, your baby can come anytime. Be mindful of the signs of labor, such as contractions that get stronger and closer together, vaginal bleeding, or a sudden gush of fluid.
- Keep your healthcare provider in the loop: Let your healthcare provider know if you experience any unusual symptoms or have any concerns. They can help you determine whether you need to visit for an appointment or go to the hospital.
- Get rest and take care of yourself: As your due date approaches, it’s important to prioritize rest and self-care. Get plenty of sleep, stay hydrated, and eat a healthy diet.
- Prepare for labor and delivery: Consider taking a childbirth education class or creating a birth plan to help you prepare for labor and delivery.
- Pack your hospital bag: It’s a good idea to have a hospital bag packed and ready to go in case you go need to go to the hospital or birth center immediately.
- Stay positive: As your due date approaches, feeling anxious or nervous is normal. Remember to stay positive and trust in your body’s ability to give birth.
These things can help ensure a healthy and positive birth experience for you and your baby.
FAQs at 37 Weeks pregnant
What should I be feeling at 37 weeks pregnant?
There are no right or wrong feelings right now. This is a big journey you’ve been on, and undertaking the journey of parenthood is another big journey.
All of your feelings are human and entirely valid. On an emotional level, most women may experience the following at 37 weeks:
- Excitement: As your due date approaches, you may feel excited about meeting your baby and becoming a parent.
- Anxiety: It’s normal to feel anxious or nervous about labor and delivery, especially if this is your first baby.
- Impatience: You may feel impatient to meet your baby and be done with pregnancy.
- Mood swings: Hormonal changes and stress can lead to mood swings and emotional ups and downs.
- Nesting: Some women experience a strong urge to clean and organize their homes in preparation for the baby’s arrival.
How likely is it to go into labor at 37 weeks?
At 37 weeks pregnant, your baby is considered full-term, meaning they have reached the stage of development where it can survive outside of the womb.
However, it’s important to note that every pregnancy is different, and there is no way to predict with certainty when labor will begin.
That being said, some women do go into labor at 37 weeks. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), approximately 10 percent of all pregnancies result in preterm birth, defined as birth before 37 weeks of gestation.
Several factors can increase the likelihood of preterm labor, including:
- Previous preterm labor or birth
- Multiple pregnancies (e.g., twins, triplets)
- Short cervical length
- Chronic health conditions, such as high blood pressure or diabetes
It’s important to know the signs of preterm labor, such as contractions that get stronger and closer together, vaginal bleeding, or a sudden gush of fluid.
If you experience these symptoms, you must contact your healthcare provider immediately.
However, even if you don’t experience any signs of preterm labor, it’s still possible to go into labor at any point after 37 weeks.
Be sure to talk to your healthcare provider about what to expect in the coming weeks and how to prepare for labor and delivery.
How can you tell if the baby will come early?
There is no surefire way to predict when a baby will come; every pregnancy is different.
However, some signs may suggest that a baby will come early, including:
- Preterm labor: If you experience contractions that become stronger and closer together before 37 weeks of pregnancy, this may be a sign of preterm labor. Other signs of preterm labor may include vaginal bleeding, pelvic pressure, or a sudden increase in vaginal discharge.
- Cervical changes: Your healthcare provider may check your cervix during prenatal visits to see if it’s beginning to thin or dilate, which can be a sign that labor is approaching.
- Previous preterm birth: If you’ve had a previous preterm birth, you may be at higher risk of delivering early again.
- Multiple pregnancies: If you carry twins or multiples, you may be more likely to deliver early.
- Short cervix: If your cervix is shorter than normal, you may be at higher risk of preterm labor.
It’s important to remember that even if you have one or more of these risk factors, it does not necessarily mean you will deliver early. Many women with these risk factors go on to have full-term pregnancies.
If you have concerns about the possibility of delivering early, discuss them with your healthcare provider. They can help you understand your risk factors and what you can do to help prevent preterm labor.
Do babies get more active before labor?
Some babies can become more active in the days or weeks leading up to labor, but it’s not a reliable predictor of when labor will begin.
Fetal activity can vary throughout pregnancy and can be affected by many factors, such as your baby’s sleep cycle, your level of activity, and your stress level.
Some babies may be more active in the morning, while others may be more active at night. Some babies may be more active when you’re active, while others may be more active when you’re resting.
That being said, some women do report noticing a change in their baby’s activity level as labor approaches. This can be due to changes in the hormones and signals that trigger labor, or it can simply be a coincidence.
If you notice a sudden increase or decrease in your baby’s activity level, it’s always a good idea to let your healthcare provider know, just to be safe. They may want to monitor your baby’s heart rate or do an ultrasound to check on your baby’s well-being.
As you near the end of your pregnancy journey, it’s natural to feel a mix of excitement and apprehension. You’re only a few weeks away from meeting your little one, and every day brings you closer to the big moment.
As you prepare for the day your baby arrives, take some time to reflect on the journey so far and celebrate this milestone.
You’ve experienced various physical and emotional changes over the last few weeks and months. You may feel uncomfortable, tired, and anxious, but you’re also likely filled with wonder and anticipation.
Your body has been working hard to support the growth and development of your baby, and you’ve been on an incredible journey of self-discovery and transformation.
As you and your birth partner prepare to welcome your baby, focusing on self-care and surrounding yourself with positive energy and support is important.
Rest, relax, and nourish your body with healthy food and plenty of water. Reach out to your partner, family, and friends for support and encouragement, and don’t hesitate to ask for help if you need it.
Your experience may differ from that of other moms, which is okay. Trust your instincts and body, and know you have the strength and resilience to face challenges.
Above all, take a moment to savor this special time in your life. Soon, you’ll hold your precious little one in your arms, and all the discomfort and uncertainty will disappear.
Congratulations on reaching 37 weeks, and best wishes for a safe and happy delivery!