What's happening in week 37 of your pregnancy
Week 37 and your baby is full term and ready for the off!
At a glance
- Your baby is now considered full term and could be born any day
- Their tummy is full of meconium which will come out in their first nappy
- If they are born this week, they may be covered in tiny lanugo hair
How big is my baby at 37 weeks?
Your baby now weighs close to 6.5lbs (but will be gaining about half a pound a week) and will be around 50cm long from head to toe. They’re now considered full term and ready to meet you! Whether they do or not in the coming days is another matter entirely, and lots of first babies do stay put for a bit longer!
Your baby’s lungs are more than likely capable of adjusting to life outside the womb, and your baby now has a tummy full of meconium, which will form the contents of their very first nappy (green and sticky!).
At birth, your baby’s head is the same size as their hips, abdomen and shoulders and will change shape through the first few weeks after the birth.
They will now also be in the ‘engaged’ position, head down, and over the last weeks move further into your pelvis. If they are born this week, they might still have a little lanugo hair on their bodies, or patches of vernix, the waxy white substance that has protected them in the womb.
Your baby’s immune system is continuing to develop this week and after birth your breast milk will continue to supply them with the necessary antibodies to stay healthy.
Facts to know about your baby in week 37
- Baby is roughly the size of a honeydew melon.
- Baby is gaining about half an ounce each day in weight
Read more on preparing for your new arrival:
You at 37 weeks pregnant
Most women will go into labour between 38 and 42 weeks of pregnancy, although you will be closely monitored and induction will be offered once you go beyond 40 weeks.
You are probably feeling quite anxious to meet your baby now, and might be feeling a bit worn out and tired of lugging your baby bump around! You may also notice an increase in back and pelvic pain as your baby’s head engages further in preparation for labour.
Remember to sleep on your side and if you notice any change in your baby's normal pattern of movement always inform your midwife - there are staff on the hospital maternity unit 24 hours a day 7 days a week.
There really is not long left to go, so try and relax and chill out as much as possible and wait for those first early labour signs to appear.
You might think it would be obvious, but plenty of mums-to-be go to hospital thinking that they’re in labour, only to find out they need to go back home!
In the week or so before labouring you may notice:
- An increase in vaginal discharge
- Braxton Hicks contractions becoming more intense and tightenings feel like period pains
- A ‘show’ where the mucus like plug that’s been sealing the cervix comes away
- A mild dose of diarrhoea - nature’s way of clearing your bowel before labour begins
When you go into labour you may notice:
- A ‘show’ if it hasn’t already appeared – although not everyone notices losing their mucus plug
- Lower back pain as your baby settles well down
- Regular contractions that feel like period pains or tightenings across your bump
- Your waters breaking – either a gush or a gradual trickle
Facts to know about you in week 37
- It's said that 1 in 4 women who have a membrane sweep go into labour in 48 hours.
- Orgasms can induce contractions because sperm contains prostaglandin and can stimulate the uterus.
- You know you are pregnant when: Dropping something on the floor means it's dead to you.
- Induction usually involves a pessary being inserted in the vagina to help soften the cervix or a drip of artificial oxytocin to help your womb contract.
- Packed your hospital bag yet?
What to think about in week 37
Cutting the cord immediately after the birth was routine practice for 50-60 years but recent research shows that it is not good for the baby. So now cord clamping is delayed for at least 1-5 minutes (unless baby’s heart rate is less than 60bpm and not getting faster). Delayed Cord Clamping (DCC) allows the blood from the placenta to continue being transferred to the baby even after they are born and baby can receive up to 30% more cord blood.
Within the first 24 hours, a health professional will offer to give your baby an injection of vitamin K. This is an injection to help baby’s blood to clot to prevent a rare but serious blood disorder.
Your baby will also have the blood spot (heel prick) test offered on day 5 and a newborn hearing screening test in their first few weeks.
Once your baby has arrived, obviously everyone is going to want to come for a peek and a cuddle – but as many of your friends with babies will no doubt tell you, this can become quite overwhelming in the days immediately after giving birth!
Although you won't know just now exactly how you are going to feel once your baby is here, it could be a good idea to have a chat with your partner sooner rather than later about how you are going to handle the constant influx of well-wishers eager to see your new baby. Some new parents can find themselves desperate for a bit of time on their own with their newborn in those first few days, so making sure you are both agreed on a visitor strategy could save a lot of stress!
Your baby will be here really soon and as your maternity leave starts, preparing every tiny aspect of being ready for your new arrival is probably all consuming now.
Whilst you can’t prepare for breastfeeding, the more clued up you are before you start, the more ready you are to find out how rewarding it is for you both.
Your midwife is there for you to ask all your breastfeeding questions and some initial tips you may want to remember are that all babies are different and your baby may have some days when they feed more than other days, don’t expect any immediate patterns. When it comes to how much milk your baby needs, there is no set guide but usually your baby should be asking to be fed at least 8 times in any 24 hours. Babies should feed for as long as they want on each breast called ‘responsive’ or demand’ feeding. Babies are good at letting you know they are hungry because they will give you signs like rooting (moving his head from side to side), sticking their tongue out and trying to suck their hand.
Still in need of baby name inspiration? Baby names trends certainly do the rounds, for a few years there all the rage, then they gradually die out and start to sound more unusual again. Old fashioned names are back in favour, but a little gem in our retro baby name list may have something you’ve not come across yet.
Found this helpful? Read more on..
Signs and symptoms at 37 weeks pregnant
If you notice that you have raised, red and itchy stretch marks you have a condition called Polymorphic Eruption of Pregnancy (PEP). It’s a hives-like rash that strikes about 1 in every 150 women during pregnancy. In most cases it gets better towards the end of pregnancy or at least in the first few weeks after giving birth. Your GP may prescribe emollients or a topical steroid to relieve itching and soreness.
Bleeding and spotting
A cause of bleeding later in pregnancy can be caused by placental abruption (which occurs in around 1 in 200 pregnancies). This is where the placenta partially or fully separates from the wall of the uterus. The condition is dangerous and can deprive baby of oxygen and it can also increase the risk of your baby being born prematurely. It’s important to let your midwife or doctor know if you experience any bleeding or spotting during pregnancy to be on the safe side.
Watch our videos below:
Video 1: Giving birth in hospital (NHS content)
Video 2: Pain relief options
Video 3: How to keep a sleeping baby safe
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