What to Expect at 37 Weeks Pregnant – Third Trimester Information
You are 37 weeks pregnant and your pregnancy is quickly coming to an end, but your little one still has a bit more growing to do. This week, your baby is probably gaining about a half an ounce each day, adding fat and plumping up before birth. Keep in mind that, although you are super close to your due date, your baby is still considered to be in the “early term” stage at this point. Your baby won’t be considered “full term” until week 39.
What are symptoms like at 37 weeks pregnant?
Pelvic pain or pressure. Is your baby sitting lower in your pelvis these days? This dropping — also called lightening or engagement — can occur a few weeks before your baby is born, and you might notice it if you feel a little extra pressure on your lower abdomen. This pelvic pain can even make it hard for you to walk. If pelvic pressure is causing you discomfort, a warm bath may provide some relief. Contact your healthcare provider for more advice on what to do to relieve pelvic or lower back pain.
Shortness of breath. Your baby might not have dropped yet and is pressing up against your lungs, making breathing a little more difficult. Try to rest more, move slowly and sit or stand up straight to help give your lungs more room to expand with each breath. Once your baby “drops” lower into your pelvis, this may take some pressure off your lungs and diaphragm, making it easier for you to breathe.
Nausea. Some moms-to-be experience nausea around 37 weeks pregnant, and it could be a sign that labor is about to start. Try to eat four or five smaller meals instead of three larger meals. Bland foods like rice, toast or bananas can also help get you through these bouts of nausea.
Snoring. This one might not trouble you as much as your partner. Most moms-to-be go through some breathing changes during pregnancy thanks to hormonal changes, and toward the end, some snoring is not uncommon as the mucus membranes in your nasal passages tend to dry out. Make sure you stay hydrated and use a humidifier in your bedroom.
Unstable on your feet. By now, your pregnancy weight gain means your center of gravity has shifted, making it easier for you to lose your balance. This extra weight from your baby, the placenta, amniotic fluid, and more can make it challenging to move around. Once your baby drops lower into your pelvis, the distribution of your weight may even change again, so be extra careful whenever you’re on your feet! To keep yourself steady, stand with your feet pointed in the same direction with your weight balanced evenly on both feet. Try not to tilt your pelvis forward or backward, and avoid lifting or carrying heavy or bulky items.
Contractions. 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. But, if you feel contractions that occur regularly, get progressively stronger, and don’t subside if you move or change positions, you’ll want to call your healthcare provider for advice.
Practical plans for the birth
Still haven’t packed your hospital bag? Get to it! Your baby could arrive any day now.
This is also a good time to consider your support after the birth too. Who could you ask to help out every now and then?
Research your options for feeding your baby. The choice of breastfeeding or formula feeding is yours to make, but you may want to find out more about each. You can talk to your healthcare provider or a lactation consultant to get more information.
If you haven’t already purchased one, you’ll need a rear-facing car seat properly installed in time for your baby’s trip home from the hospital. Make sure the car seat you buy meets all safety standards.
You may want to ask for help from trusted friends, neighbors, or family members with things like grocery shopping, laundry, or looking after your older children or family pets in the first few weeks with your newborn. Make a list of what you might need help with so that your helpers know exactly what they can do to lighten the load.
Have additional questions about the third trimester? Planning a pregnancy? Would you like to meet with Providers and Other Parents?
Join us at Delaware Valley OB-GYN’s next Birth Babies and More Event on Tuesday, Dec. 5 at 6 p.m.
We’ll discuss the third trimester, labor, delivery and the exciting newborn period.