Welcome to your last month of pregnancy! Weighing in at about 2.7 kg, your baby is now about the size of a head of romaine lettuce, a bit bigger from being pineapple-sized at Week 35.
What’s happening to your body right now:
Do you feel like you’ve been waddling around? It’ not just in your head; the pregnancy waddle is real. It a symptom of the hormone-triggered loosening and softening of your connective tissue. This process increases the flexibility of your pelvic bones to prepare your body to squeeze that big baby out.
However, this flexibility also comes with pelvic pain. The pain comes from the pressure caused by your baby’s head burrowing deeper into your pelvis and from your heavier uterus weighing you down.
On the bright side, as your baby drops (as this downward movement is known as), it relieves the pressure of the uterus on your diaphragm. This is also known as ‘lightening’. When your baby drops, you can take bigger and deeper breaths and eating full meals is more comfortable, as your stomach is not so compressed anymore. Do note that not all babies drop before labour begins.
Among the many contradictions of pregnancy, there is also the occasional burst of extra energy known as the nesting instinct. You might feel the need to get organised and ready for the baby’s arrival, while feeling exhausted from being so heavily pregnant. If you do feel energised, do remember to take breaks to rest and eat.
How your foetus is developing during pregnancy week by week:
Now, the growth of your baby is slowing down. This allows your baby to store up the necessary energy for delivery and also to fit through the narrow space of the birth canal.
At this point, most of your baby’s bones and cartilage are still soft, including his skull bones. This allows the head to maneuver more easily through the birth canal during delivery. Your baby’s bones will harden over the first few years of life.
For the most part, your baby’s systems are mature and ready for life on the outside. For example, blood circulation is great and the immune system can already protect your baby from infections outside the womb. One of the systems that still needs time is the digestive system. Although it is developed in the womb, it has not been operational as your baby has been receiving nutrition via the umbilical cord. It will take a year or two for your baby’s digestive system to catch up with the other systems.
What you can do right now:
To alleviate the pelvic pain, relax with your hips elevated and do some pelvic tilts. You can also consider a belly sling. Warm baths, warm compresses, and a massage, or some complementary and alternative therapies, may also help to soothe your pains.
Don’t worry if you feel less movement in your baby bump; the little one just has less space for that much action right now. Enjoy less jabbing and kicking, more squirming. If you’re worried, you can always sip a sugary beverage to see if that gets the baby moving.
Visits to your doctor are probably more frequent now. You can get started on that book you’ve been meaning to read and maximise the time spent in waiting rooms.
This is also a good time to get started on those birth announcements, if you are intending to send them out. Addressing those envelopes will provide a good distraction from your body aches (and more) and it will be one less thing to worry about when your little one arrives.
How much more does the baby develop in Week 37?