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Fetal Development: 36 Weeks

36 Weeks - Pregnancy


Congratulations! Although he may have a few more weeks to go, your baby is considered full term at the end of the 36th week. The only organ that still needs some time to mature is the lungs. While you may be ready to be NOT pregnant, remember that every day your baby spends in the womb increases his chance of the prevention of breathing difficulties.

This week, your baby may drop further into the birth canal in preparation for delivery. This makes breathing a lot easier for you, but walking becomes more difficult. You may be startled when your baby stretches into your ribs and bangs her head against your cervix. She is surely beginning to run out of room in those cramped quarters.

If she is not head down yet, your doctor may schedule an “external cephalic version”, which is a manual manipulation of the baby, turning her head down. There is a lot of pressure involved, but it can be a successful way to avoid a breach birth.

The average size of babies in the 36th week is 19 inches long and 5 ¾ pounds in weight. Your baby is gaining more fat every day, and may be even forming those cute dimples around her elbows and knees. Her gums are very rigid, and she will be ready to nurse or bottle-feed when she is born.


Last month! You’ve finally made it. Are you starting to get uncomfortable? Many women nine months pregnant are dealing with swelling, varicose veins, hemorrhoids, back and sciatic pain, along with constant poking in your ribs. Your little one is finally running out of room.

Other physical symptoms include constipation, heart burn, bloating, indigestion, headaches, easier breathing after baby drops, more frequent urination as baby drops, increased difficulty sleeping, dizziness, nasal congestion, bleeding gums, increase or loss in appetite, leg cramps, itchy stomach, protruding naval, hot flashes, skin changes, fuller and leaky breasts, more frequent Braxton Hicks contractions, fatigue or extra energy (nesting), excitement, anxiety, relief that you’re almost there, irritability, over sensitivity, impatience, restlessness, carpal tunnel, tingly hands and feet, fetal hiccups, skin eruptions, and clumsiness. If you are experiencing sciatic pain or back pain, invest in a good pregnancy pillow.

Are you prepared for your delivery? If you haven’t done so already, now may be a good time to pack your hospital bags. Take one for labor and one for postpartum. Check out our article on What to Bring to the Hospital for suggestions.

This month you will have doctor appointments every week. Chances are, your doctor will give you one or two internal exams to check your cervix for thinning, softening, effacement, and/or dilation. FYI, sometimes dilation can be misleading. You can be two or three centimeters dilated, but not have the baby for weeks. On the other hand, you can be ½ inch dilated and go into labor the next day. Lesson being, don’t put too much stock into the internal exams.

Now that you’re ready for labor and delivery, be sure that you have all of your baby gear and supplies ready. Check out our section on SmartMomma Baby Gear to be sure you have it all.

Do you want to be caught up on all the latest happenings with your pregnancy and your baby? Join SmartMomma Advantage for free! You'll receive your choice of e-mail newsletters, from weekly fetal development updates to sales alerts and the latest pregnancy, baby, and toddler news. Stay up to date with the SmartMomma advantage! Join today!


Fetal Development: By Month
Fetal Development: 9 Months


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This should be used as a general guideline and is for general information and educational purposes only. Please remember that all pregnancies develop at different rates. If you have questions about your baby's development, please contact your doctor or midwife.




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