What to expect at 37 weeks pregnant. Everything you need to know about your baby and your body as your baby gets closer to full term.
At 37 weeks pregnant, you’re now so close to the finishing line and have almost reached the full term point. Your pregnancy journey is almost over and, believe it or not, you may soon find yourself harking back to the days when baby was kicking around in your tummy.
While the end is in sight, and many women give birth to happy, healthy babies at 37 weeks, there’s still a few weeks left before you and your baby hit full term.
Read on to find out everything you need to know about your baby and body at 37 weeks pregnant.
Your Baby at 37 Weeks Pregnant
Although the rate at which your baby is growing starts to slow down in the run-up to birth, by week 37 your baby is at their biggest so far. Weighing roughly 3.5kg and measuring 19 to 20 inches (Around 51/52 cm), your little one is now about the size of a romaine lettuce.
By this stage your baby is fast-approaching their due date, they’re still not considered to be full term until weeks 39 to 40. While all vital organs are now formed and your baby looks like a tiny human, they will still be considered ‘early term’ if you go into labour now.
There’s still time for your baby to gain weight (about half a pound until birth) and for their vital organs to reach full maturity in your womb.
As your little one prepares for life on the outside, they’ll be moving around, practicing kicking, turning, blinking and sucking their thumb.
However, while your baby is practicing a number of movements and reflexes for life outside the womb, as many babies will have ‘dropped’ by this stage you’ll notice a lot less twisting, turning and wriggling.
Your Body at 37 Weeks Pregnant
As you near then end of your third trimester, you’re body’s probably got the hang of this whole pregnancy thing.
Although you may not think it, by 37 weeks pregnant most women stop gaining weight – a welcome change from the pound a week you’ve been gaining in your third trimester up until now.
It’s likely you’re still rocking that pregnancy waddle, first picked up around 35 weeks. As well as giving you a strange new walk, the increased joint flexibility can also cause some pelvic pain. This, combined with you baby ‘dropping’ deeper into your pelvis can be particularly uncomfortable. To ease the pressure, try pelvic exercises, relaxing in a warm bath or a pregnancy massage.
On the plus side, as your baby ‘drops’ into the pelvic cavity before labour, the pressure from your uterus on your diaphragm lessens. This is known as ‘lightening’, and will make it easier for you to take deeper breaths and feel more comfortable after eating or moving around. However, not all babies ‘drop’ before labour starts.
37 Weeks Pregnant Symptoms
You may also notice a few new pregnancy symptoms within the last weeks of your pregnancy journey.
Itchy baby bump
As your belly hits it’s peak size in the third trimester, it may feel as though your stretched skin is reaching breaking point. This can cause soreness and itchiness, try a moisture rich cream or body butter to soothe.
This is a classic symptom of pregnancy and is something to see beauty and loveliness in. You will be more prone to stretch marks if you’re fair haired or fair skinned. Keep your weight gain gentle and gradual to minimise these marks as much as you can.
Constipation and Haemorrhoids
An uncomfortable reality of being 37 weeks pregnant is constipation. Unfortunately, it’s not uncommon for constipation to be accompanied by haemorrhoids. Try doing Kegels to improve circulation to the area. Gentle walks and herbal teas should also ease the constipation.
If you’re low on sleep, this combined with a surge in hormones is enough to make your vision blurry. This is a common symptom from around 35 weeks pregnant. However, if it is worrying you due to being accompanied by headaches, rapid weight gain and swelling, consult with your GP. In some cases this could be a sign of preeclampsia.
A rise in oestrogen has caused rapid blood flow to your uterus and has stimulated the mucous membranes. At this late stage – with the risk of miscarriage being extremely low – it can be normal to see some blood (or pink/red/brown discharge) after sex or a vaginal examination. This is because your cervix may be starting to dilate, causing increase sensitivity and higher chance of bruising.
Colostrum is a pre-natal milk that will be a yellowish-cream in colour. You may notice a few drops leaking here and there. It’s not glamorous but it’s just your body preparing to breastfeed.
Pregnancy Brain and Clumsiness
Been a little absent-minded in recent weeks? This can be down to sleeplessness and the fact that pregnancy does actually reduce or bran cell volume. The clumsiness may also be down to your growing bump and difficulty with balance as it becomes harder to walk.
In the latter weeks of your pregnancy visible or varicose veins may also ache and itch on your legs.
Swollen Feet and Ankles (Edema) at 37 Weeks Pregnant
In your final weeks, your pregnancy swelling – known as Edema – will likely become more noticeable. Your feet and ankles are the main areas affected as your body retains more fluid, but you may also notice swelling in your face and hands. Keep your liquids up and drink lots of water to lower your sodium levels and flush out waste products.
For more information on development and milestones at every stage of your pregnancy, visit our pregnancy week by week page.