Week 37 of Your Pregnancy
The 37th week of pregnancy marks of the 9th month of pregnancy: you are entering the home stretch to becoming a mommy! The fact that this is accompanied by some uncertainty and nervousness is only understandable, given that it could theoretically start any day now.
Read here why you should trust your child when it comes to the time of birth, why the umbilical cord can be a blessing and a curse in the 37th week of pregnancy, and why you need to plan a little more time for everything you do.
Table of content
Here you can find all of our 3rd trimester articles:
The baby at 37 weeks gestation
In the 37th week of pregnancy, the baby measures about 19 ¼ inches in crown-barrel length. Its weight is now around 6 ¼ pounds, but in some children, it can already exceed the 6.6 lbs limit.
The baby’s weight gain is about 0.6 lbs per day, and his fat reserves have now increased to about 15 percent of his total body weight. These are mainly the so-called brown adipose tissue, whose cells contain a great many mitochondria. This structure is important for the baby’s heat regulation – the mitochondria, as the power plants of the cells, convert the energy of the fat molecules directly into heat.
The baby’s brain and skull will continue to grow until birth.
From the 37th week, the lanugo hairs start to fall out. Also, most of the cheesy goo that is used to protect the baby’s skin from the amniotic fluid now disappears. Along with the amniotic fluid, the baby also absorbs the remains of lanugo hair and cheese goo.
Together with other secretions and substances stored in the intestines, they will be the baby’s first solid excretions after birth in the form of so-called infant saliva (meconium), before actual digestion begins along with the intake of breast milk or formula. Many children grow a thick mop of hair in the last weeks before birth, with strands up to 1″ long, the color of which can be very different from the hair color of the parents. Over the next few years, the shade of their hair will almost always change considerably.
The head of most babies is now firmly set in the mother’s small pelvis. Its range of movement has already decreased considerably in the past weeks. In the 37th week of gestation and the remaining time until birth, babies sleep a lot. Due to the increasing tightness in the uterus, they are gently massaged by descending and exercising contractions. However, especially at night, the mother will still feel the stretching exercises and occasional kicks from her baby.
You are probably feeling a bit anxious and excited about the upcoming birth. Especially if you are going to give birth for the first time, you cannot yet assess your body’s symptoms well and do not know which ones are already signs of birth.
The pregnancy calendar is gradually coming to an end, and you still have little time to make the final preparations for the arrival of your baby. Now you should be sure where you will deliver your baby and who will be with you during the delivery. The hospital bag should now be readily packed in a place that your partner also knows about. Surely you have developed a plan together at what time you want to be driven to the hospital/birth center, or at what time the covering midwife should be called in to assist.
Pressure on the organs increases
Descending contractions, which move the baby deeper into the small pelvis, putting him or her in the right birthing position, have already occurred or will occur this week. This increases the pressure on the small pelvis and the pelvic floor. The pressure on the lungs, on the other hand, decreases noticeably. This is perceptible as downward pressure. To prevent the pelvic floor muscles from cramping, you should perform light circular movements. This will relax you and relieve the pressure. In addition, such movements will help the baby to move more easily into its birth position.
First signs of birth become noticeable
At any time now the birth could begin, which is usually announced by flatulence with diarrhea, possibly vomiting, possible headaches, severe back, and abdominal pain. The so-called drawing, which means that you notice a discharge with blood admixture, usually initiates a birth. With this symptom, the plugin front of the cervix finally dissolves. With the onset of labor relevant to delivery, the amniotic sac breaks in most of all births, which is noticeable as a gush or dribble of amniotic fluid from the vagina. At this point, at the latest, you should leave for the hospital, because the rupture of the membranes will drive labor, and therefore birth, forward. Please go to the hospital immediately, even if your waters burst without contractions.
What you can do about back pain
It is not unusual for you to suffer from back pain during the 37th week of pregnancy. The hormonal changes during pregnancy loosen the connective tissue, among other things, and with it the ligamentous connections of the bones.
In addition, the steadily growing baby bump pulls the weight forward and a very typical bad posture can occur: The pelvis tilts forward and a hollow back develops. This in turn could lead to tension in the neck and lower back.
If you also suffer from low back or back pain, the following tips may help you:
- Keep your posture: Check your posture sometimes when you sit to avoid a hunched back. If you sit for a long period of time, choose a chair with a good backrest. Furthermore, the angle between your lower and upper legs should be about 90 degrees and your feet should be firmly on the floor.
- Ideal sleeping position: Especially if you wake up often during the night due to strong baby movements, it is important that you can continue to sleep calmly and comfortably afterward. The side position is particularly gentle on the back. You can also relieve the strain on your back by placing pillows under your stomach and between your legs. Also, make sure that your mattress is not so soft that you sink into it.
- Carrying properly: In the 37th week of pregnancy, you should no longer carry heavy loads. If you do have to lift something, first bend your knees and then straighten your back. Distribute the weight evenly on both sides or use a backpack, for example, when bringing groceries home. However, it would be best if you did not carry anything heavy at all.
- Good footing: Shoes with high heels can quickly become a tripping hazard and should be stored in the shoe closet until further notice. With shoes that have a flat, soft sole, you are not only safe on the road but also relieve your back at the same time.
- Warmth: Many pregnant women who suffer from back pain find warmth pleasant. Make yourself comfortable on the sofa with a hot water bottle or a cherry stone pillow, or treat yourself to a warm bath.
- Massages: Since you are primarily concerned about your baby at the moment, you can ask your partner to take care of you. A back massage is soothing and loosens tense muscles.
- Exercise during pregnancy: Strengthen your muscles by staying active during the 37th week of pregnancy. Regular exercise can prevent back pain. Walking, swimming, or light yoga are optimal sports during pregnancy.
Supporting girdle or pelvic belt: If the back pain limits your everyday life too much, a stabilizing pregnancy supporting girdle or a pelvic belt could help. These support the abdomen, stabilize the back and relieve the pelvic floor at the same time. Find out more at your next gynecologist visit and, if necessary, get an appropriate prescription for it.
Painkillers to combat back pain are usually not necessary. If the pain does not subside, you should definitely seek medical advice.
The glands of your uterus form a layer of mucus that closes the cervix as a tough plug on most days of the female cycle. Sperm can normally hardly penetrate this mucus plug. It also protects your body from rising infections. During fertile days, this mucus becomes more fluid and transparent and thus permeable to sperm.
During pregnancy, on the other hand, the cervix is permanently sealed with this mucus plug and usually prevents sperm or germs that may be in the vagina from ascending to the uterus.
In the 37th week of pregnancy, your pregnancy is slowly coming to an end. Your belly may have already lowered and your baby’s head is already resting in the entrance to the pelvis. Now your cervix can also prepare itself for birth. During the so-called cervical ripening, it first becomes softer, then shortens, and begins to open a little just before birth.
At the end of this phase, the mucus plug finally dissolves. The departure of the mucus plug is a sure indication that the birth will begin very soon. Therefore, this process is also called “drawing”. It can take hours or even a few days before the first contractions start. If you have already given birth to a child, it is possible that the mucus plug will detach a little earlier, and you will find this typical discharge in your underpants as early as the 37th week.
The consistency of the plug is reminiscent of chicken egg white or even mucus. The appearance varies from woman to woman: transparent, milky or even brown and somewhat bloody discharge is completely normal. If this type of viscous fluid comes out of your vagina during the 37th week of pregnancy, you can consult your midwife or the hospital where you plan to deliver your baby to discuss further steps.
FAQ - 37th week of Pregnancy
Try to eat meals that include plenty of colorful fruits and vegetables–they have phytochemicals, important nutrients that might not be in your prenatal vitamins. You’ll also want to include, or continue, taking an omega-3 supplement and choline during this period.
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.
Your due date is getting close now, but doctors don’t consider your baby “full term” until 39 weeks. Spending the next two weeks in the womb allows your baby’s brain and lungs to fully mature.