36 Weeks Pregnant: Symptoms & What To Expect

36 Weeks Pregnant: Symptoms & What To Expect

You’re in the home stretch! For most expecting mothers, 36 weeks marks the beginning of the last month of pregnancy. This bittersweet milestone can come with a mix of emotions - which can change at the drop of a hat these days. As your pregnancy comes toward its end, you may have questions about what’s normal this week, and what may warrant a call to your obGYN. Put your feet up (especially if they’re swollen) and keep reading as we break down what to expect at 36 weeks pregnant. 

What common symptoms should I expect at 36 weeks pregnant?

Before we talk about what symptoms to expect at 36 weeks, we’ll start by saying: there is no “normal” in pregnancy. Every woman is so different and each pregnancy can vary just as much. If this is a subsequent pregnancy for you, you may have realized that this pregnancy hasn’t been exactly the same as your first. However, some symptoms are commonly shared by many expecting mamas at 36 weeks pregnant: 


Headaches. For some women who regularly struggle with headaches or migraines, pregnancy could actually alleviate headache symptoms. Most women, though, aren’t so lucky. Headaches are very common throughout pregnancy, especially towards the end. This can be due to a number of factors including fatigue, dehydration, and trouble sleeping (also super common!) Prioritize caring for yourself in an effort to avoid pregnancy headaches. Remember to stick to acetaminophen and avoid ibuprofen for headaches during pregnancy. If you are ever concerned about your headaches, reach out to your provider. 


Cramping. This symptom can be very normal, and even expected. It can also be a sign of impending labor at this point in your pregnancy. If your baby was born at 36 weeks, they would be considered premature - let your provider know as soon as possible if cramping feels like contractions. 


Bloody show. This goopy, blood tinged glob of vaginal discharge is actually what has helped seal your cervix for the past months. Its dislodging could be a sign that labor is near. 


Dizziness. One of the least pleasant common pregnancy symptoms is feeling lightheaded or dizzy. This may be due to cardiovascular changes during pregnancy as your blood volume and heart rate increase. Avoid laying flat on your back this week as the weight from your mid section may restrict blood flow in main veins and contribute to dizziness. (1)

Is it normal to feel an increased pressure in the pelvis at 36 weeks pregnant?


It is very normal to feel increased pressure in your pelvis at 36 weeks pregnant. Why? Your baby is dropping lower into your pelvis in preparation for birth - how exciting! As the one who feels the increased pressure in your pelvis, you may not share the same excitement. On the other hand, you may be relieved to be able to breathe easier this week as your baby scoots away from your rib cage. Many women also experience something called “lighting crotch” this week (you can probably guess why it’s called that). This can also be attributed to your baby descending lower into your pelvis. (1)

What are the signs of labor to watch for at 36 weeks pregnant?

As mentioned earlier, a 36 week baby would still be considered premature. Their lungs are still developing this week, so a birth this early could result in NICU time. Call your provider or take a trip to the maternity unit in your hospital if you experience any of the following early signs of labor at 36 weeks pregnant: 


  • Intense cramping accompanied by lower back pain
  • Six or more contractions within an hour 
  • Contractions, whether they are painful or not, coming in regularly spaced intervals
  • Vaginal bleeding (1)

How much should my baby be moving at 36 weeks of pregnancy?

Your baby has developed a lot of fat in the past few weeks. This means that things may be feeling more cramped inside your belly. (We’re sure you’ve noticed.) As a result, you may notice a decrease in forceful activity around this time. Even still, you should be able to feel at least 10 little movements every two hours. Babies tend to sleep more when we are moving around, so it may be best to lie down when monitoring fetal movements. (2)

How does the baby's position at 36 weeks affect delivery?

Most babies will assume a head-down position by 36 weeks pregnant. This is the optimal position for a safe and smooth delivery. If your baby is not in the head down position by 36 weeks, your provider may discuss your options this week. C-sections are common for breech babies as a feet first vaginal birth could have complications. While this sounds stressful, breech babies only account for around 3% of births. Babies are typically  pretty good at getting cozy in an upside down position before their big debut. (3)

What are the risks of premature labor at 36 weeks?

As your pregnancy comes closer to an end, it is important to keep an eye out for premature labor symptoms. Call your provider if you’re ever unsure if what you’re experiencing is “normal” - or not. Birthing a baby at 36 weeks gestation could come with some significant risks including underdeveloped lungs, trouble staying warm, difficulty feeding, and developmental delays later in life. Fortunately, many premature labors can be stopped and in cases when that is not possible, there are advances in medical technology that give your baby a good chance of thriving  if they were to be born at 36 weeks pregnant. (4)

Conclusion

There is a light at the end of the tunnel! We know those last weeks can feel like the longest. Once your sweet little one is here, you’ll forget all about the awful pregnancy symptoms you are enduring. Until then, now is the perfect time to start thinking about those baby essentials - like a Dreamland Baby Sleepsack, Swaddle, or Transitional Swaddle. As your baby gets used to life outside the womb, you can count on Dreamland Baby for sleep solutions that mimic the coziness they experienced in utero. Gentle weight from shoulders to toes decreases stress and increases relaxation - so that your baby can fall asleep faster and stay asleep longer. 

Sources:

 

  1. https://www.babycenter.com/pregnancy/week-by-week/36-weeks-pregnant
  2. https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/36-weeks-pregnant#what-to-expect 
  3. https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/diseases/21848-breech-baby 
  4. https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/diseases/21479-premature-birth 

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