At 37 weeks pregnant, you’re in the final stretch of the third trimester and embarking on the early term of your pregnancy. By medical parameters, this is the point where most babies, even those of experienced parents, are considered full term. It’s a period characterized by anticipation, frequent check-ins with your healthcare provider, and excitement as the due date nears and the imminent arrival of the baby becomes more real.
Fetal Growth and Developments at 37 Weeks Pregnant
At this pregnancy week, your baby, who is about the size of a bundle of Swiss chard, continues to make strides in development. The average fetus measures approximately 48.6 cm in height, with a weight hovering around 2.9 kg. The baby’s head and abdomen are nearly equal in size, with the head circumference measuring about 32.1 cm and the abdomen 33.3 cm.
The baby’s development involves crucial changes, especially to the digestive system, respiratory system, and nervous system. The body’s bones have also hardened, thanks to the accumulation of calcium, and the head is now in a position that allows for a smooth vaginal birth. The baby’s body has gained a substantial amount of subcutaneous fat, crucial for maintaining body temperature in the outside world.
What’s more, your baby, positioned in a head down position, is practicing for their birth. This is evident from the ultrasound, where you might notice the baby mimicking respiratory movements. This is due to a sufficient amount of surfactant, which ensures that the lungs are developed and ready for the first breath of outside world air.
Experiencing Pregnancy Symptoms at 37 Weeks Pregnant
This week of pregnancy is accompanied by a mixed bag of feelings, both physically and emotionally. You may experience trouble sleeping, more vaginal discharge as your body prepares for labor, and Braxton Hicks contractions – which are practice contractions for the real event. Swollen feet and increased pressure in the lower abdomen are common pregnancy symptoms too, which result from the extra pressure of your baby’s head descending into the pelvis. These are common experiences among most women during the late stages of pregnancy.
Remember to monitor your baby’s activity. Note any significant changes, as they could indicate impending labor. If you have concerns about the baby’s movements or are experiencing more vaginal discharge, especially a bloody show or a loss of the mucus plug, contact your healthcare provider immediately.
During your next prenatal appointment, you can discuss these symptoms and learn more about what to expect as labor begins. They may check for changes in your cervix or if the baby has settled into the best position for birth.
Nutritional Guidelines for Mothers at 37 Weeks Pregnant
Nutrition during this pregnancy week is key. The food you consume contributes significantly to your baby’s development. Maintaining a balanced diet rich in vitamins and minerals is critical. Limiting salty, spicy, and smoked foods while favoring smaller meals can help alleviate late pregnancy symptoms such as heartburn and constipation.
Remember to drink lots of water and continue consuming dairy products. Incorporate iron-rich foods like Swiss chard to avoid anemia.
Preparing for Labor and Birth at 37 Weeks Pregnant
As you count down the few weeks left, your to-do list should include packing your hospital bag and organizing all necessary documents for the hospital or birth center. With your due date just around the corner, keep handy the phone numbers of your birth partner, family members, and healthcare provider who can assist you when labor begins.
It’s also the time to finalize any last-minute baby gear and plan your birth announcement.
What Can Be Seen on an Ultrasound?
During an ultrasound at 37 weeks pregnant, the doctor will examine the placenta’s state and the baby’s position. The amount and character of the amniotic fluid are also important to check, as they can signal potential complications. Depending on their assessment, a Cesarean section may be scheduled.
Nearing the Finish Line: Concluding Thoughts on the 37-Week Pregnancy Journey
In conclusion, being 37 weeks pregnant marks an exciting time of eager anticipation and preparation. With your due date fast approaching, it’s essential to continue taking care of yourself and your baby, keeping open communication with your healthcare provider, and preparing for your baby’s arrival. Remember, each pregnancy is unique, and your experience may not mirror others’. Listen to your body, stay informed, and get ready to welcome your baby to the world.
Questions and Answers
Is week 37 safe for delivery?
Yes, generally, the 37th week of pregnancy is deemed safe for delivery. By the time you’ve reached 37 weeks pregnant, your baby is usually well-developed and is classified as ‘early term.’ This implies that the baby has fully matured and prepared for birth and life outside the womb. However, it’s crucial to note that each pregnancy is distinct, and decisions such as labor induction or scheduling a cesarean section should always be made in collaboration with your healthcare provider to ensure optimal outcomes for both mother and baby.
What should I expect at 37 weeks?
What should you expect during the 37th week of pregnancy? By the time you’re 37 weeks pregnant, you can anticipate that your baby has achieved its full term size, ready for birth. Typical symptoms at 37 weeks may include more frequent Braxton Hicks contractions, which are your body’s method of practicing and preparing for real labor. An important sign of nearing labor is a noticeable increase in vaginal discharge, which could be the mucus plug beginning to dislodge. This is all part of your body’s natural process of gearing up for labor and the much-anticipated arrival of your baby.
How does a woman feel at 37 weeks pregnant?
This period is marked by a myriad of emotional and physical experiences. Persisting common pregnancy symptoms such as heartburn, constipation, and overall discomfort are largely due to the baby reaching its full size. As the anticipated due date approaches, a feeling of excitement and anticipation is common. However, alongside these emotions, it’s natural to feel fatigue and restlessness. The physical demands of carrying a full-term baby can increase these feelings, making rest and self-care essential in this late stage of pregnancy.
Do babies born at 37 weeks need NICU?
Generally, babies born at this stage do not necessitate a stay in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU). The development of most babies at 37 weeks pregnant is such that they are adequately prepared to adapt to life outside the womb. Despite this, they may face minor challenges like feeding difficulties or maintaining body temperature, which can typically be monitored and managed by healthcare professionals without NICU admission. It’s essential to emphasize that each baby’s journey is unique, and potential NICU care doesn’t indicate a compromise in the long-term health or developmental outcomes of the baby.
Elizabeth Baker is a mother of three, wife, and the passionate mind behind this pregnancy and baby development resource. She balances her love for understanding every stage of child growth with her duties as a parent. When she’s not sharing her experiences or studying child development, Sarah enjoys family time, reading, and practicing yoga. She believes in the power of shared knowledge to enhance the beautiful journey of parenthood.