How Many Months Pregnant Are You At 37 Weeks?
At 37 weeks, you are in the ninth month of pregnancy and just a few weeks away from the due date.
How Big Is Your Baby In The 37th Week?
In this week, the baby is as long as a stalk of Swiss chard (1). The baby measures 19.13in (48.6cm) in length and weighs 6.30lb (2.859kg) (2).
Baby Development At 37 Weeks
Here is how the baby’s organs develop this week:
|Skin (3)||Fat is getting deposited under the skin|
|Hands (4)||Strong enough to grasp with fingers|
|Heart (5)||Beats more than 50 million times|
|Muscles and bones (3)||Fully developed|
|Lungs (6)||Usually fully matured|
|Digestive system (7)||Contains meconium, a dark green substance, which is your baby’s first poo|
|Genitals||Fully developed, but might look swollen due to the hormones in the mother’s body|
Fetal position and movements: The baby is in a head-down position inside the womb and curled up with legs bent up towards the chest. There is very less room for the baby to move, but it can change the position.
The movements will not be as rigorous as they were in the last couple of weeks. If you notice any significant decrease in the fetal movements (less than ten movements in two hours), then see your doctor. By this week, the baby develops a sleep pattern too.
What Symptoms Do You Experience In The 37th Week Of Pregnancy?
Here are the pregnancy symptoms that you may experience this week:
- Nausea: A stomach upset could be experienced during this period, making you feel nauseated at times. It could be an indication of the nearing labor.
- Insomnia: The aches, cramps, and anxiety could make sleeping difficult.
- Braxton-Hicks contractions: You will experience irregular and painless contractions, which help you prepare for the labor.
- Heartburn: The growing uterus pushes the gastric acid upward into the esophagus, causing heartburn.
- Hemorrhoids: The extra pressure put by the enlarged uterus on the rectal veins causes swelling of the blood vessels, which is painful and itchy.
- Spotting: The cervix is extra sensitive and can get irritated, leading to spotting.
- Bloody show: A pink discharge may be noticed due to the rupturing of the cervical blood vessels, as it starts dilating in preparation for labor. The mucus plug tinged with blood will be discharged through the vagina.
- Pelvic pain: You may experience pain as the baby moves down into the pelvis.
- Backache: The extra weight of the baby puts pressure on the lower back.
- Varicose veins: The increased blood flow to the lower part of the body causes a swelling of the veins in the legs.
- Leg cramps: You will experience them usually at night.
- Pregnancy brain: Forgetfulness is common during this time due to hormonal fluctuations.
As you near full-term, you will experience physical and psychological changes as well.
Changes In The Body At 37 Weeks
Here are some physical and emotional changes you will experience this week:
- Enlarged and itchy belly
- Stretch marks
- A white, milky discharge called colostrum Enlarged breast with darker areola and nipples
- Skin pigmentation like linea nigra
- Mood swings
- Stress and fear of labor pain and delivery
As you are close to the due date, there are chances you could get into labor anytime now. Read on to learn about the signs of labor you may experience this week.
Signs Of Labor At 37 Weeks
Look out for the following signs of labor during this week (8):
- Lightening, which refers to the baby dropping deep into the pelvis.
- Discharge of thick mucus-plug from the vagina.
- Constant water leak or a gush of fluids due to rupturing of the amniotic sac.
- Cramps, with or without diarrhea.
- Frequent and painful contractions at regular intervals.
- A vaginal discharge tinged bloody or pink in color.
If the labor pain starts on its own by the 38th week, then it means your baby is ready to be born and will be healthy.
In any case of medical conditions like gestational diabetes, preeclampsia, placental problems, or uterine infections, the doctor may suggest labor induction in this week.
What If The Baby Is In Breech Position?
Sometimes, babies may not engage in the pelvis until the labor starts. If the baby is in the breech position, doctors may try external cephalic version to bring the baby to an optimal position. This procedure could be painful and very uncomfortable, but the doctor will give you medications to relax the uterine muscles before the procedure. If this doesn’t work, the doctor will do a c-section.
Do Babies Born In The 37th Week Face Any complications?
Spontaneous labor in the 37th week is considered preterm labor.
- Recent studies have indicated that babies born at 37 weeks are at the risk of transient tachypnea of the newborn, respiratory distress syndrome, hypothermia, pneumonia, and feeding difficulties compared to the infants born after 39 weeks (9).
- An increased risk of cerebral palsy has also been found in infants born in this week of gestation.
- Long-term complications, including behavioral problems, increase hospital admissions up to the age of 5 years.
- Wheezing and asthma have been observed in children born at 37 weeks.
If you experience the typical symptoms of pregnancy and not labor, schedule your regular OB/GYN visit.
Your OB/GYN Visit
This week’s prenatal checkup includes:
- Weight gain and blood pressure check.
- A urine test to check for protein and glucose levels.
- Inquiry about any physical discomforts that you are experiencing and the baby movements.
- Measuring the fundal height to determine the size of the baby.
- Ultrasound to determine the length, weight, heart rate, and amniotic fluid level. It is a part of the biophysical profile.
- Checking the cervix to know the dilation.
- Group B strep test is a screening test of the vaginal swab, done to check for Streptococcus group B infection. If you are diagnosed with GBS, then antibiotics will be given when your labor starts, to reduce the risk of infection to the baby (10).
The doctor may also discuss:
- Pregnancy-induced hypertension
- A possible risk of anemia, gestational diabetes, breech positioning or intrauterine growth restriction (IUGR).
- Labor induction in the case of twin pregnancy.
- When to call the doctor, if you think you are in labor.
It is essential for you to be informed about the signs of labor, as you can expect it anytime from this week onward. Also, continue to take care of yourself at home.
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Tips For Mom-to-be
- Eat healthy, home-cooked food.
- Avoid carbonated drinks, spicy and citrus foods if you have heartburn.
- Do not eat deep fried or uncooked food.
- Stay hydrated, but drink less water at least one hour before going to bed. This reduces the urge of urination in the night.
- Avoid jerky movements – get up slowly from sitting or lying positions.
- Walking will help you feel energetic and sleep soundly.
- Get a massage from a professional masseuse to help ease the back pain and body ache.
- Take a warm bath to ease the discomfort of leg cramps, hemorrhoids, and back pain.
- Wear loose and comfortable clothes.
- Wear comfortable flats and slippers.
- Avoid taking any medication without the doctor’s advice.
- Keep all the baby essentials ready as you can deliver at any time from now.
- Stock up your fridge with meals that you can have after the baby is born.
- Find about cord blood banking and register for it, if interested.
- Know about the childbirth options at your healthcare center.
- Arrange for childcare if you already have a kid.
- Read pregnancy related books.
- Enroll in childbirth classes to learn about labor and the techniques of birthing.
- Spend more time with your family and friends. Do not hesitate to share any concerns or ask them for help.
This is the time your partner needs to be more involved. Find out next how they can help.
Tips For Dad-to-be
- Help you with the daily chores.
- Spend more time with you.
- Accompany you to the prenatal visits.
- Accompany you to walks and pregnancy classes.
- Ensure that the hospital bag is ready with all the necessary stuff.
- Plan a day outing for a change.
- Start looking for a good pediatrician.
- Be prepared to drive you to the hospital.
The waiting game is almost over! You can expect labor at any time now. So, be prepared and watch out for any signs of labor. Try to keep all your fears and stress at bay and relax while your baby prepares to come out.