37 weeks of pregnancy - this is the beginning of the ninth month or the third trimester
What to Expect at 37 Weeks Pregnant
As the delivery is drawing near, the baby is getting prepared for different life conditions. The lungs start producing surfactant. This substance will help the baby to breathe oxygen. The under skin fat layer and the nervous system are forming. In the baby’s body are created special conditions to protect the nervous system and assure its active development during the following year. Taking into account the rapid fat tissue formation, the weight of the baby at 37 week is about 3 kg (7 pounds).
The body of a woman in the last period before the birth should become more stable. You breathe easier, digest the food better. However, you still go peeing frequently. The moving of the fetus head closer to the pelvis causes it. It is the sign that there are no pathologies and you won’t have a preterm birth.
The woman should be morally ready for the birth and take care of the psychological stability. Therefore, it is necessary to think in advance, who will support you during the delivery. This will make you feel more confident. Nevertheless, you need to take into account the fact that only in a few hospitals your husband will be allowed in the delivery room. You should get ready for the delivery in advance in order to make it comfortable both physiologically and psychologically.
What is Happening With the Baby (Fetus)
What is the general state of the baby in this period? Is his body ready for new conditions of life? The 37th week of pregnancy is considered normal for the onset of labour.
By this time the baby's digestive system is formed. The mucous membrane of the stomach and intestines is covered with villous epithelium, which facilitates the absorption of nutrients. Therefore, the gastrointestinal tract is ready for digestion and absorption of food.
The meconium is also formed. The peristaltic contractions are engaged in the process of digestion (they promote the contents of the intestines, stomach, ureters, etc. to the outlets).
The accumulated fat makes the baby's skin smooth. The baby has become strong enough to suck mother's breast. At this term the baby has already developed the thermal exchange system, so he can keep his body temperature at the necessary level.
The lungs are fully formed, in addition to this, the baby’s body start the secretion of the cortisone hormone. It’s the final touch in the formation of the respiratory system.
At the 37th week of pregnancy, the baby's body is still forming. However, he is practically ready to be born. During this period, the baby will not be subject to stress, as his adrenal glands secrete a special hormone. It helps the child to adapt for the life in a new environment. Therefore, there is no reason to be worried about the baby born at this term.
The baby’s liver starts functioning, too. It accumulates iron required for the formation of blood cells. The baby needs them in the first year of life. The nervous system, neurons responsible for the coordination of movements are under formation. Such processes take place both before birth and during the following year.
The baby at the 37th week of pregnancy has his individual traits. His facial features are forming, nails and hair are growing (however, in some cases the baby can be bald), the ear and nose cartilages are getting harder. The lanugo hair on the body of the child is coming off. The generic lubricant is only left in the skin folds.
As for the head, the skull bones are not yet sufficiently solid. That's OK as passing through the mother’s pelvis it will temporary change its shape. Soft spots on the baby’s head will be open for some time. However, over time, they close, and the bones of the skull harden.
The baby’s belly and head have the same diameter. The baby should be approximately 48-50 cm long (18.9-19.7 inches). However weight and height are individual for each baby.
How Many Months Are You Pregnant?
Sometimes there is some confusion about the month of pregnancy. The woman thinks that the 37th week is the ninth month of pregnancy. While in the hospital, she is told that she is on the tenth month. There is nothing strange in it. There is a calendar month (which usually the pregnant count) and an obstetric month. The obstetric month is 28 days (or 4 weeks).
A normal pregnancy lasts 280 days. If we convert 280 days in obstetric months, we’ll receive 10 (obstetric) months. The 37th week of pregnancy is the first week of the obstetric tenth month. The birth can begin at any time.
A sign of nearing birth is the lowering of the belly. It will be accompanied by soft pain and heaviness in the lower abdomen and perineum (caused by the belly’s pressure). However, there are some positive moments. You will forget about the shortness of breath and have a chestful of air.
Don't worry if your belly won’t lower before the delivery. This is normal. The pain in the abdomen will let you know that the delivery will start soon. At this stage, the fetus is growing and the abdomen is growing with him, stretching the skin on the belly. As the result, the belly button may pop out, and the belly may itch. However, after the birth it will take its usual place.
At the 37th week of pregnancy the baby is quite large, and he has little place in the belly. Therefore, very often, the woman can feel movements or bumps under the ribs. Sometimes it's painful. During this period, be very careful about the training contractions. If they are rhythmic and are growing longer and painful over time, it means that the birth has begun.
37 Weeks Pregnant Belly Pictures
Ultrasound at 37 Weeks Pregnancy
Ultrasound scan at the 37th week of pregnancy is made to learn a few important things prior to the delivery. The most important factor is the position of the fetus. The position headfirst is considered normal. It meets all the physiological characteristics of the uterus. The uterus has the shape of the baby turned upside down. Therefore, the baby’s passage should not cause much difficulty, it is especially important in the lack of space. This is the most common fetal position.
However, in some cases the baby sits on the buttocks or lies transversely. In such cases, a caesarian delivery might be used. It’s not compulsory since there are no other complications.
During the ultrasound, the specialist inspects the fetus, its development. He tracks the basic parameters-heartbeat, quantity and condition of amniotic fluid, condition of the uterus, the umbilical cord, etc. In addition to the ultrasound, it’s possible to make a dopplerographic test to check the utero-placental blood flow.
Some moms want to know the sex of their baby. At the 37th week the chances to see the baby’s sex on the ultrasound scan are very small. This is because the baby at this period practically stops moving. Therefore, you are unlikely to know the baby’s sex.
37 Weeks Ultrasound Pictures
More recently, the doctors recommended not having sex before the birth. However, other opinions have persisted recently. Sexual relationship may continue until birth. However, there are several conditions-first, the woman should have a good health (in order not to damage the membrane); second, the sex should not be painful for the woman. Moreover, it was found that sex during this period is useful. The sperm contributes to the elasticity of the cervix, which facilitates its disclosure during the birth.
However, at the 37th week the parents often simply avoid sex. In most cases, it is caused by the inability to find a comfortable position. This can be fixed quickly, if you wish. For example, the position "doggie style" is perfect. Another reason for the sexual abstinence is the feeling of having a threesome sex. This is no more than a prejudice.
Generic process begins with the bursting of the waters (after that the sexual relations are prohibited). It’s small or profuse transparent watery discharge. In case of the fetal hypoxia, it may be greenish.
The mucus plug usually comes out with the waters (or by itself). Throughout the pregnancy, the plug fills the cervical canal, protecting the fetus from harmful microorganisms.
The mucus plug is a small lump of mucus (about two tablespoons). It can be white, creamy, translucent or bloody. It can come out at once, which will be seen on the underwear. It also can come out in parts; in this case, the woman can detect small lumps of thick mucus on her underwear. After the discharge of the mucus plug, the sex is prohibited as there is a risk of bringing in an infection.
If the waters broke or the mucus discharged, you should immediately go to the hospital. This might mean the wrong lying of the placenta. If you have any genital diseases, you must treat them long before the 37th week of pregnancy.
Pain in the lumbus, back, sacrum and feet are common for the last months of pregnancy. During the last days of pregnancy, the load on the locomotor system is increased. At the 37th week, the leg pain becomes more pronounced while walking.
The dragging pain in the lower abdomen warns you about the discharge of the mucus plug and the beginning of the labour. The baby presses the perineum, and the pelvis bones begin to open. It causes the lower abdomen pain.
Weight is a common indicator of pregnancy. The growing baby, heavy breasts, placenta, amniotic fluid, etc. -all this increases your weight by the 37th week of pregnancy. Weight gain varies on the pregnant woman. The amount of extra weight depends on several factors: body build, related diseases, heredity. However, a big shift from normal weight at the 37th week is undesirable.
Sometimes, closer to the birth, the pregnant’s weight is likely to decrease. It is worth noticing, that in former times women used to eat lean food during a few weeks prior to the birth. This contributed to a decrease in weight.
37 Weeks Pregnant: Your Baby is Now Ready for New Life
As written above, on the 37th week of pregnancy, the belly gradually goes down and the woman can breathe normally again. The frequency of constipation and heartburn occurrences will also decrease. The lowered belly presses the uterus, which in its turn presses the bladder. The woman has to go to the toilet more often at both day and nighttime. - It is unpleasant at nighttime as your troubled sleep is frequently disturbed by the need of going to the toilet. In this way, the nature tries to prepare the woman for future sleepless nights after the baby’s birth. The good night's sleep refreshes you, so it is necessary to have enough sleep.
For normal sleep, it is necessary to keep to these rules: move, do easy work, reduce daytime sleeping, walk in the fresh air, walk before the bedtime, don't overeat before the bedtime, don’t drink plenty of fluids in the evening. Sleep in an aerated room. If weather is good, you can leave a window open overnight.
You should track your baby’s movements from his first days of life. The 37th week is not an exception. The baby should make not less than 10 movements a day. The pregnant experiences discomfort when the baby is moving. The reason is the limited space- the amount of the amniotic fluid has decreased, the size and weight of the baby is constantly increasing, so the womb has become too small for the baby.
In the last days before the birth, the baby becomes less active. However, the discomfort will not last long, and soon it will become pleasant memories. To memorize this time you can take few photos at the 37th week of pregnancy. In the last days of pregnancy, the woman experiences inner heat, stuffiness. She starts sweating more. It’s all caused by the increased blood volume. The scheduled doctor’s examination will show if the cervix is ready to open. After the doctor's visit the first signs of the beginning labour might appear.
Delivery at 37 Weeks Pregnancy
It’s normal. If there is no pathology, the baby’s ready to be born. The phrase from medical books about the changes in the fetal nervous system should not frighten the mother, as the baby’s neurons are covered with a protective shell. This process doesn’t affect the delivery, as it last the whole first year of the baby’s life. Not only the nervous but also the respiratory system experience changes, the baby’s lungs produce surfactant which enables the baby to breathe on his own. The baby’s development is suitable for the birth. At the 37th week of pregnancy, the delivery may start any time. In most cases at this term give birth the women pregnant with a second child or with twins.
In order to avoid any overlap or delay you need prepare in advance everything you will need at the maternity hospital. Pack all the necessary things, your ambulance card and other documents which may be of use (it is better to take all the necessary documents than to miss something). Wherever the pregnant woman goes, her loved ones should know where exactly, and know where she has put the «alarming suitcase» with her things and documents.
You need to track the harbingers of birth. It is not worth going to the maternity hospital as you experience the slightest movement or contraction. However, if the contractions start to repeat with small intervals (less than 5 minutes), and you feel severe pain, it's time to go to the hospital. Meanwhile the pregnant may have something to eat. She should have a light meal. You can ease the pain. For this purpose, make respiratory exercises, you’d better be going back and forth, don’t stand at one place.
The 37th week is considered normal to give birth, as both the baby and the mother are prepared for it. At this period, the placenta is aging and cannot perform its basic functions (providing the fetus with vital substances), which triggers the birth. The pregnant’s body starts secreting a hormone that stimulates contractions and generic activity.
Initially, the woman should tell herself that the birth is a hard work that she can perform very well. You must always remember that during the birth, two people, the mom and the baby, will do their best. If the mom is an adult strong person, her baby is just trying to make his first step into the new life. These thoughts will encourage you, and you will not question the success of the birth anymore.
The baby can feel you mood during the delivery, so don’t panic. The mother should radiate optimism, cheerfulness and show her strong character. It is necessary to follow all the requirements of the medical staff. After a few hours or minutes, a tired but happy mother will hug her baby, whom she has beared under her heart for so long.
- The 37th week of pregnancy is considered to be normal for the onset of labour. Therefore, the baby will be considered termed.
- The first signs of the onset of labour are: frequent training contractions, discharge from vagina, and discharge of the mucus plug.
Recommendations for Women
- All changes must be reported to your doctor.
- By the 37th week of pregnancy it is necessary to choose the maternity hospital.
- In order not to make the baby run the risk of getting an infection, it is necessary to make a streptococcus test.
Twin Pregnancy at 37 Weeks
The 37th week is quite difficult even for those bearing one baby, for the mom of twins it is two times harder. Huge belly, increased load on the legs, increased pressure on the bladder, heartburn, back pain, shortness of breath, an inability to breathe full breast-all this accompanies the woman throughout the pregnancy, but becomes more pronounced after the 37th week.
However, you might not have these problems, as it’s all very individual even for the twin pregnancy. Many factors affect the well-being of the expectant mother. Healthy lifestyle, physical activity, and a positive attitude help to reduce the adverse effects.
The 37th week is the time to the final countdown. We must remember that the 40 week is only a guideline, but not the norm, especially for the pregnant with twins. It’s normal to give birth between the 38 and 42 weeks.
During this period, it’s necessary to listen carefully to your body. It is very important not to miss the beginning of labour. Pay attention to the character of the pain in the pelvic area. Track discharge. Be sure to contact your doctor in case of bleeding or breakage of the waters. Try to visit your doctor more frequently during this period. The doctor is able to determine the beginning of labour. If your doctor recommends you to go to the hospital, follow his advice. If you follow all the recommendations of the doctor, the birth will be natural and the babies will be born in time.