36 weeks pregnant is a milestone to celebrate and savor. Find out what to expect when you’re 36 weeks pregnant, find out whether you can feel baby yet and what your uterus looks like. What size is a 12-week-pregnant uterus? What are the 8th week symptoms? When does baby start to move?
Your baby at week 36 of pregnancy
Once wiggly, your baby now prefers certain body positions. In general, your baby will enjoy resting with his head down and rump toward your ribs during delivery. As your baby’s wiggle room decreases, his movements will become less frequent. During the next few months, Baby’s weight and size will continue to grow slowly and steadily.
36 weeks pregnant is how many months?
When you are 36 weeks pregnant, you are officially in 9 months of your pregnancy, only a few weeks left to go! Congratulations, your almost there momma!
How big is your baby at 36 weeks pregnant?
At 36 weeks, the average baby weighs around 5 t0 6 pounds and measures about 16 to 19 inches long from crown to rump, making it about the size of a of pineapple or a cabbage or head of a zucchini
36 weeks pregnant baby position
It is most likely that your baby is already head-down. If not, your caregiver may suggest scheduling an external cephalic version, in which pressure is applied to your abdomen to induce a headdown position for your baby.
36 weeks pregnant: baby’s development
34-38 weeks baby developments
A baby’s final month in the womb is spent in intense preparation for delivery. A baby is no longer considered preterm if she is born at or after 37 weeks of gestation (or 36 weeks after conception). During exhalation, the alveoli in her lungs don’t stick together because of the surfactant that lines their interiors. Meaning she won’t need help from the NICU and will thrive just fine on her own.
After 33 weeks of pregnancy, your unborn baby’s brain and nervous system are fully developed.
Bones continue to harden
The bones of their bodies are hardening, with the exception of those in their skulls, which are still soft. The skull bones remain soft and separated until after the birth to ease their passage through the birth canal. During the birth process, the bones can slide over each other gently, allowing the head to be born safely and protected from damage.
Rapidl weight gain
Their weight is rapidly increasing, and you’re probably gaining around one pound a week, half of which is being transferred to them.
Buds are well developed
At 33 weeks, the buds have reached full maturity. One more reason to watch what you eat while carrying your child is that they may develop your taste preferences.
Space is getting tight in womb
Lungs are fully formed
A baby’s lungs are fully formed after 36 weeks and ready for their first breath after birth. Furthermore, their lungs produce a substance called ‘surfactant’ that keeps their air sacs open so they can take in oxygen.
As well as being able to suckle for feeds after 36 weeks, their digestive systems are also ready to deal with breast milk. By now your baby is about 48cm long.
Your body at 36 weeks pregnant
Have strange dreams? That is typical! The same goes for “nesting” behavior, although this usually starts to manifest itself shortly before labor starts. Be careful! You might soon be on your way to the hospital if you feel the sudden, uncontrollable impulse to clean the grease off the back of the stove.
Congratulations, you’ve reached your last month of pregnancy! You likely can’t wait to meet your newborn and put your pregnancy’s discomforts behind you. Heartburn may be a recurring issue. Your uterus’s constant growth will push your stomach upward, which could cause stomach acid to reflux into your esophagus (acid reflux). Since food remains in your stomach for a longer period of time due to pregnancy’s slow digestion, heartburn symptoms are exacerbated.
Am I in Labor?
It would seem obvious that you would know when you were in labor. This is not always the case. There are those women who are so confident that labor has started that they rupture their water. Most women have a hard time recognizing the signs of labor.
The actual causes of labor remain unknown, even to doctors. They understand that oxytocin is released from the brain to trigger uterine contractions, but they don’t know why this happens at specific times. According to licensed nurse midwife and doctor of nursing practice Joanne Motino Bailey, PhD, the uterus and cervix become increasingly receptive to the effects of oxytocin (which the brain releases throughout pregnancy) as labor day approaches. Dr. Bailey commonly uses the term “hormone cascade” to describe this phenomenon.
While you won’t be able to see or feel your brain’s actual hormone production during pregnancy, there are plenty of other signals that your due date is drawing near. A sense of “the baby having dropped” may come over you. Your baby will descend into your pelvis at some time in the final weeks of pregnancy. If this phenomenon, known as “lightning,” occurs, you may or may not be aware of it. This transition may occur weeks or even just hours before the birth of your baby. Dr. Bailey claims that many first-time mothers are more sensitive to and aware of this event, despite the lack of concrete evidence that women feel it.
Your cervix stretches
At each of your final weekly prenatal sessions, your doctor will check for dilation (the stretching of your cervix), even though you won’t be able to feel it. While it’s encouraging to hear that your cervix is beginning to open for birth, please be patient as this process can take weeks. You may not reach full dilation until you are at least three centimeters dilated. (Baby delivery is possible once your cervix has widened to 10 centimeters.)
Your cervix thins
When you’re pregnant, your cervix thins and dilates to make room for your kid. Effacement, or thinning of the cervix, can cause bleeding and an increase in vaginal discharge. When the cervix begins to weaken, the resulting blood loss may cause some to worry that they are experiencing a “bloody show.” There are exceptions to this rule. Dr. Bailey notes that a thinning cervix increases the risk of bleeding because of the weakened capillaries. Therefore, a female observer may detect blood. Cervical bleeding or mucus plug rupture? Sometimes it’s hard to tell. If you have any worries, it’s important to talk to your doctor. You can ask her for guidance in figuring out what’s going on and how to fix it.
You lose your mucus plug
Mucus plugs sit at the opening of the uterus. A thick chunk of goo comes out of your baby before birth. It may come out all at once or gradually. When you lose your mucus plug, you may not even notice. The mucus plug can be loosen by sexual intercourse and your prenatal examination. According to Dr. Bailey, losing your mucus plug doesn’t mean you’re in labor; it can take hours or days before labor begins.
You have a sudden burst of energy
Along with what’s happening inside your body, you can also notice some odd indications that your baby is about to be born. The nesting instinct, which many women experience in the days before giving birth, causes them to experience sudden spurts of energy. Women say they are deep cleaning, baking, or doing anything else to get their houses ready for the baby.
36 weeks pregnant tips and advice
Drink plenty of water
Staying hydrated is important. Your body uses more water during your pregnancy to fuel your increased blood supply (necessary to get your baby-to-be plenty of nutrients) and other body functions. Taken to extremes, dehydration can lead to preterm labor pains. So bring a water bottle to work with you—and drink it.
Use the bathroom—often
Drinking more water means more trips to the bathroom. Add to that, your kidneys are working overtime to filter impurities from your increased blood supply. To avoid stares from coworkers, plan discrete potty breaks. Go when you first get to the office and take a break on the way from meetings or other times when you’re already up so your trips will be less noticeable. Putting off a trip to the bathroom is a bad idea—it makes you uncomfortable and puts stress on your bladder, which can lead to bladder infections.
Bring light snacks
Food may not be appealing, especially if you’re experiencing nausea. Skip a full-blown lunch and opt for lighter fare throughout the day. Keep in mind that some pregnancy comfort foods are dead giveaways, such as crackers. If you’re trying to keep your pregnancy a secret, try less notorious foods that still comfort nausea but that don’t shout, “I’m pregnant!” Opt for foods high in protein, such as string cheese, almonds, or milk.
Wear comfortable clothes
You’ve probably packed away your tight-fitting pants already. If you haven’t, now’s probably the time to say goodbye to your hip-hugging ensembles until after your baby’s arrival. Avoiding tight clothes isn’t just about hiding your baby bump. Your body may be retaining water to fuel your increased blood supply, and constricting clothes are not only tight on your skin, but the blood that’s trying to flow underneath.
Watch your posture
Take time to get off your feet and walk around. Staying in the same position for too long allows the blood to pool in the lower part of your body, potentially making you light-headed. Put your feet up whenever possible to keep your blood flowing properly.
Having Trouble Sleeping at 36 weeks Pregnant
Having difficulties sleeping is a common pregnant symptom, and it’s especially common in the second and third trimesters, when other pregnancy symptoms peak and a growing belly makes it difficult to find a comfortable sleeping position.
When you’re 36 weeks pregnant, it could hurt to sleep on your stomach, but studies indicates that lying on your back puts more strain on the vena cava, the main blood vessel that returns blood to the heart.
Your blood circulation will increase if you sleep on your left side, which will also be good for your uterus, kidneys, and fetus. If you’re having trouble falling asleep, try placing a pillow between your knees and another under your stomach. If the problem persists, consult your doctor.
36 weeks Pregnant: Wellness and Nutrition
What should you avoid during pregnancy? Doctors agree that you should avoid the following:
- Activities that may cause you to fall, or that place pressure or force on your belly
- Intense, overly vigorous exercise – if you’re too out of breath to talk, you’re probably exercising too hard.
- Drinking alcohol, smoking, and caffeine (ask your doctor how much caffeine you should consume each day)
- Sweeteners such as saccharine and herbal sweeteners (ask your doctor if artificial sweeteners are appropriate)
- Prescription and over-the-counter medications (check with your doctor about what’s safe during pregnancy)
- Paint, cleaning products, and solvents can expose you to chemicals and fumes. Acrylic and latex paints are generally considered safe. However, you should consult your doctor before helping around the house or in the nursery.
- Saunas and hot tubs
- Chemical treatments for your hair, such as dye and perms
36 weeks pregnancy symptoms
Your body undergoes many changes to give your baby-to-be enough room to grow. Some of these changes are comforting—your rounded belly and your full breasts, for example—while other signs can be troubling. Keep in mind that many of these physical changes will last only until your baby arrives.
Upper abdominal pain
The uterus is growing rapidly, putting pressure on organs like the bladder, intestines, and stomach. This can cause mild pain in the upper abdomen that may extend to the lower abdomen or sides of your stomach. The pressure on your abdomen can also cause pain when you cough or sneeze.
Lower abdominal pain
The uterus is growing rapidly and putting pressure on your bladder, intestines, and stomach. This can cause lower abdominal pain that may feel like mild cramping or a dull ache in the pelvic region. Back pain. The growing weight of your uterus on your spine can cause back pain that typically becomes worse as pregnancy progresses.
The weight of your uterus can put pressure on your veins and cause leg cramps or swelling. You may also experience varicose veins in your legs due to increased blood flow. Neck pain. As the baby grows, it puts more pressure on the spinal cord, which runs down through your neck and back. This can cause mild pain in the neck area that may extend into your shoulders and arms.
Your growing uterus can put pressure on your spine and cause back pain. The weight of the baby can also cause sciatica, which is when pain shoots down the back of one leg due to compression in the spinal cord. Backache. Your growing uterus may cause you to experience mild to moderate lower back pain or stiffness in your lower abdomen around this time.
It can be alarming, especially if you aren’t expecting it! But rest assured, this is not usually a cause for concern. Breast milk production begins when the hormone prolactin rises in response to pregnancy. Prolactin stimulates the cells of the mammary glands that produce milk and causes them to grow and multiply.
You may find it harder to get comfortable when you’re pregnant. Your growing abdomen can make it more difficult for you to find a position that feels good, and your joints may be sore from carrying extra weight. You might also experience restless leg syndrome, which is when you feel like your legs are moving even though they aren’t. This happens because the joints in the body release chemicals that cause itching or tingling sensations when they are irritated by things like pregnancy hormones.
You may be experiencing swollen ankles, which is common during pregnancy. This happens because the increased levels of hormones in your body cause fluid to accumulate in your tissues, including those that line the walls of your veins and arteries. It’s usually not a cause for concern unless you have swelling in both legs or it lasts longer than two weeks.
Fatigue (constant tiredness or weakness)
One of the most typical symptoms of early pregnancy is fatigue, which frequently starts at this point. Although there are many causes of exhaustion during pregnancy (including changes in hormone levels), some research indicates that inadequate sleep brought on by nighttime awakenings from unpleasant sleeping positions may also be a role.
Heartburn or gas
There may be a rise in heartburn and flatulence during the 36th week of pregnancy. This is because progesterone produces a decrease in the tone of the lower esophageal sphincter (LES) muscle, which typically prevents stomach acid from entering the esophagus. This can cause heartburn and discomfort by allowing stomach acid to flow back up into the esophagus. Try spreading your meals out more, staying away from items that are known to cause heartburn (such spicy foods), and drinking lots of water.
Mood swings and crying spells
The 36th week of pregnancy is a vulnerable time for women, when they are more likely to experience mood swings and crying spells. Until your hormone levels settle, this will have an impact on your mental and emotional well-being. This is a common occurrence for pregnant women; one study indicated that 75% of women felt emotional shifts like irritability or depression in the first trimester.
Indigestion, or constipation
During the 36th week of pregnancy, you may suffer gastrointestinal issues like indigestion or constipation. Pregnancy hormones like progesterone and estrogen might increase the likelihood of gastrointestinal issues including indigestion. These hormones slow down digestion by relaxing the digestive tract, preventing food from being swallowed whole. You can reduce the frequency and severity of indigestion during pregnancy by cutting out on high-fat and sugary foods and eating more often, smaller meals (like sweets or fried foods).
Your body retains water to provide the necessary fluids for your growing baby-to-be. You can prevent much of this swelling from drinking plenty of fluids and keeping your legs up. You may also want to purchase socks designed to improve the circulation in your feet.
The skin’s pigmentation may deepen around certain parts of your body during pregnancy, such as your nipples and freckles. You may also notice spots of color on your face, called the mask of pregnancy or chloasma. These pigmentation changes will fade after your baby’s born.
Shortness of breath
Shortness of breath, also known as dyspnea, is a very common and often overlooked symptom of pregnancy. It happens when there isn’t enough oxygen in your body or when your blood flow is constricted. This can make it difficult to do even the smallest things like walk across the room or climb stairs.
You may feel like you need to take deeper breaths than usual or that it takes longer than normal for your breathing rate to return to normal after an activity such as climbing stairs.
Symptoms to be aware of
Please share any concerns you may have with your doctor or midwife. Don’t worry about whether or not you’re repeating yourself or wasting anyone’s time by bringing up an old topic. This pregnancy is yours, so listen to your body if you suspect something is wrong.
Signs of premature labour
If you have any of the following symptoms, call the hospital or midwife straight away, because you could be in premature labour:
- regular contractions or tightenings
- period-type pains or pressure in your vaginal area
- a “show” – which is when the plug of mucus that has sealed the cervix during pregnancy comes away and out of the vagina
- a gush or trickle of fluid from your vagina – this could be your waters breaking
- backache that’s unusual for you.
36 weeks pregnant belly
Your pregnant tummy at 36 weeks may look a little (or a lot) lower than it did at earlier stages of your pregnancy. This could be due to the baby’s position lower in your pelvis. Having greater room in your lungs could make breathing easier. Ahh! (We can’t promise anything, because some newborns don’t do this until the day they’re born.) Of course, the downside to this decline is that it puts even greater strain on your bladder, so you should get used to making frequent trips to the ladies’ room during the next several weeks.
36 weeks pregnant belly size
By week 36, your belly will have expanded and protruded considerably. You might have trouble seeing where you’re walking. There is a 26-35 cm range for fundal height (10.2-13.8 in). Around 9 cm (3.5 inches) above your belly button is where you’ll notice a significant increase in amniotic fluid.
Some women may measure smaller and some larger than this, but this is a good general guide for how big your belly will be at this point in pregnancy. Of course, being 36 weeks pregnant with twins makes you feel heavier than other pregnant women your age.
Measuring pregnant belly at 36 weeks
If you’re measuring your belly at home, use a tape measure and measure around the widest part of your abdomen. Measurement is usually taken above the navel or below it, depending on what’s more comfortable for you. Be sure to stand up straight and relax as much as possible while taking your measurement—it should be taken at the same time every day so that you can monitor how quickly or slowly your belly is growing.
If you are measuring your belly at the top of your pubic bone, expect to see an increase of about two inches per month. If you’re measuring this lower, around your navel and below, it can be as much as three inches per month. The average weight gain during pregnancy is between 25 and 35 pounds and usually occurs in the last trimester (after week 28).
Braxton Hicks at 36 weeks Pregnant
At 36 weeks pregnant, you may find that your Braxton Hicks contractions are becoming more frequent and intense. You may feel them in your back or lower abdomen, and they may last anywhere from 30 seconds to two minutes. If you’re having regular contractions, it’s important to talk with your doctor about any pain or discomfort you experience during them.
Braxton Hicks are common during the third trimester. You may not even notice them because they feel like mild discomfort or a dull ache in your lower abdomen. They’re also called practice contractions because they prepare your body for real labor by getting it ready to push out a baby when the time comes.
36 weeks pregnant ultrasound
According to a study published in the journal PLOS Medicine, a routine ultrasound at 36 weeks might assist identify babies who are in the breech position, which can cause problems during labor. The breech position is when a baby is in the womb with its feet or bottom facing down.
The importance of prenatal vitamins during pregnancy
During pregnancy, you need a greater amount of folic acid and iron. Why? Here are some reasons:
Folic acid prevents neural tube defects
These defects affect the fetal brain and spinal cord in a significant way. Preferably, you should begin taking extra folic acid three months before you become pregnant.
The placenta and baby require iron to develop
The body uses iron to make blood to supply oxygen to the baby. Additionally, iron helps prevent anemia, a condition in which the blood lacks healthy red blood cells
It’s important to consult your doctor or healthcare provider to find out which are the best prenatal vitamins to take before pregnancy, and how to calculate your expected delivery date.
36 weeks pregnant hCG levels
At 36 weeks pregnant, your hCG levels can range from about 4,060 – 165,400+ mIU/m.
Explore more in your pregnancy week-by-week
Follow your pregnancy week-by-week to find out how your baby is growing and what is happening to your body.
First Trimester Weeks:
Second Trimester Weeks
Third Trimester Weeks
Pregnant Women Also Asked:
Got questions about week 6? Other ladies have wondered this…
- How pregnancy happens. (n.d.)
- Human chorionic gonadotropin hormone (HCG). (2018.)
- Knowing if you are pregnant. (2019).
- Navigating your pregnancy. (n.d.).
- Pregnancy. (2017).
- Pregnancy: Sensitivity and specificity. (n. d.).
- Pregnancy tests. (n.d.)
- Pregnancy week by week. Weeks 1–2. (n.d.).
- Stages of pregnancy. (n.d.).