Pregnancy week 36

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How's the foetus during week 36?

Picking up fat

  • Your baby is about 47.4cm in length and weighs 2,6kg- as long as a head of Swiss chard.
  • Your baby has expanded to a thousand times her original size.
  • Fat is dimpling on the elbows and knees and creases have formed in her neck and wrists.
  • Her kidneys are fully developed and her liver can process some waste products.

What's with my body: Time to slow down a little

You will probably have to run to the loo more often because of increased pressure on your bladder. 

You may notice a strange feeling in your vagina when the baby's head moves against the pelvic floor. 
It is time to slow down. Very few babies arrive on their due date, anything from 38-42 weeks is considered normal, with about 80% arriving within ten days of their due date.

Go back to the complete list of Pregnancy week-by-week updates.

Around this time you can expect your baby to descend into position for birth where his head will 'engage'. You may find that you can breathe easier and have fewer kicks in your ribs, however there will be more pressure on your bladder and pelvic area which may make things uncomfortable.

Your baby

At this point, your little one can swallow, urinate and make breathing movements. In preparation for breathing, his lungs secrete a surfactant, which will help them to remain expanded after birth and allow oxygen to enter from the air.

Sleep cycles vary from baby to baby, but at this stage, most usually sleep and wake in 30-50 minute cycles.

Your body

You may feel a lightening sensation as your baby starts to descend. Breathing and eating will probably become easier, but you could also find yourself heading to the toilet more often than ever before. Try sitting on an exercise ball to relieve some of the pressure.

By the way, contrary to popular belief, only one in 10 mothers experience their water breaking before labour begins. If yours does, don't panic - it doesn't necessarily mean that you'll go into labour immediately. Contact your gynae straight away.

Tip of the week

By this stage, you hopefully know that sex is safe and in fact encouraged during pregnancy - not only will it help maintain the intimacy between you and your partner, but your baby will benefit too from the feel-good hormones that'll be rushing around your turned-on body. But that said, by now in your pregnancy you might be concerned that sex will trigger labour - and yes, it very well might. This is due to:

  • The uterine contractions that accompany orgasm
  • Nipple stimulation, which releases oxytocin, a hormone that can trigger contractions
  • Prostaglandin in semen, another hormone that can trigger contractions.

So if you don't want to risk it at this stage (though if labour is delayed, sex can be an excellent way of getting things going), be sure to reassure your partner that the drought will end...

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