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36 Weeks Pregnant

By 36 weeks pregnancy, your baby is taking up so much room, you may have trouble eating a normal-size meal. Smaller, more frequent meals are often easier to handle at this point. On the other hand, you may have less heartburn and have an easier time breathing when your baby starts to “drop” down into your pelvis. This process — called lightening — often happens a few weeks before labor if this is your first baby. (If you’ve given birth before, it probably won’t happen before labor starts.) If your baby drops, you may also feel increased pressure in your lower abdomen, which may make walking increasingly uncomfortable, and you’ll probably find that you have to pee even more frequently. If your baby is very low, you may feel lots of vaginal pressure and discomfort as well. Some women say it feels as though they’re carrying a bowling ball between their legs!

During 36 weeks pregnant, you might also notice that your Braxton Hicks contractions are more frequent. Be sure to review the signs of labor with your practitioner and find out when she wants to hear from you. As a general rule, if you’re full-term, your pregnancy is uncomplicated, and your water hasn’t broken, she’ll probably have you wait to come in until you’ve been having contractions that last for about a minute each, coming every five minutes for an hour. Of course, you’ll want to call right away if you notice a decrease in your baby’s activity or think you’re leaking amniotic fluid, or if you have any vaginal bleeding, fever, a severe or persistent headache, constant abdominal pain, or vision changes.

Even if you’re enjoying an uncomplicated pregnancy, it’s best to avoid flying (or any travel far from home) during your final month because you can go into labor at any time. In fact, some airlines won’t let women on board who are due to deliver within 30 days of the flight.

By 36 weeks pregnancy, your baby is now 5.9 pounds and about 18.6 inches or longer! Your little one will soon enter the ranks of heavyweight champs as you continue your pregnancy week by week and you approach delivery!

Your baby is still working on putting on weight during 36 weeks pregnant. While that may not seem very exciting, keep in mind that this is his primary job from now until delivery. This is probably the one time in your baby’s life where he they can put on pounds with wild abandon.

Did you know that some researchers believe your baby actually releases a signal to trigger labor? There are several theories. Some believe that when your baby’s brain is completely mature, it sends a signal to the fetal adrenal glands. These glands then start to secrete the hormone cortisol, which may alter the metabolism of estrogen and progesterone, resulting in labor.

Other researchers have postulated that the fetal lungs secrete signals indicating they are mature, as well as enzymes that result in the release of prostaglandins, which help the cervix ripen and help the uterus to contract. This is highly likely as the body does release prostaglandins around the time of birth.

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