image001You have finally 36 weeks pregnant, a stage where you are considered as late preterm; full term is 37 weeks. This stage is exactly 9 months from the time you conceived. You may go into labor anytime now, as most of the babies are born between 37 to 40 weeks. You may feel excited and anxious at the same time. By this time, you must be going for weekly check up to your physician to make sure that everything is fine.

What Are the Pregnancy Symptoms at 36 Weeks?

At this stage, you may feel the phenomenon of lightening or engagement which is characterized by a feeling of increased pressure in your lower belly and a feeling of your baby dropping gradually.

As your baby goes down, your lungs and tummy will get some space making your breathing and eating a bit easier. However, at the same time, walking may become difficult now due to the increased downside pressure. Some females feel as their baby may fall out; do not worry as this does not happen.

You may get urge to urinate frequently as the pressure on your bladder increases. You should practice your pelvic floor exercises for help.

How Does Your Baby Grow When You're 36 Weeks Pregnant?

Your baby is still increasing her weight at the rate of around one ounce per day. Her weight is by now around 6 pounds and length is 18-1/2 inches or more, about the size of romaine lettuce head. The downy covering of hair or lanugo is being shed now as the vernix caseosa, which is a waxy covering on the skin of your baby that protected her skin during the nine months in amniotic fluid. Both of these substances are swallowed by your baby in association with other secretions; all of this results in the formation of meconium, a black gooey substance that will form the contents of her first bowel movement.

Your baby is early term at the end of 36 weeks. Full term is considered between 39 and 40 weeks. Preterm babies are babies who are born before 37 weeks; babies of 41 weeks are considered late term and those who are born after 42 weeks are considered post-term. The position of your baby is most likely head down by now. However, if it is not, your physician will recommend you to schedule an external cephalic version or ECV. This involves applying pressure on your abdomen so as to manipulate your baby to go into the head down position.

You can watch this video and get more information about how your baby grows when you are 36 weeks pregnant:

How Does Your Life Change When You're 36 Weeks Pregnant?

You may find trouble eating even a normal sized meal; hence eating small frequent meals is suggested at this time. As your baby is lying low by this time, you will feel a lot of vaginal pressure and discomfort. The Braxton Hicks contractions occur more frequently now. Ensure that you have discussed the signs of labor with your physician and enquire as to when they want to see you. Generally, for full-term and uncomplicated pregnancy, in case the water is not broken, your practitioner will ask you to wait till you have regular contractions lasting for a minute that come after every 5 minutes for at least an hour. You should seek immediate care in case you feel decreased activity of your baby, or there is a leakage of amniotic fluid or there is any vaginal bleeding or you have any of these symptoms: Fever, vision changes, and constant pain in abdomen or severe and persistent headache.

Even if your pregnancy is uncomplicated, it is advised to avoid any type of travel far from home or flying, as you may get into labor anytime during the final month.

What About Diet at 36 Weeks Pregnancy?

1. A Balanced Diet

By this time, your diet should contain food from each of the food groups including carbohydrates, proteins, fats, meat, dairy, fruits and vegetables. This will ensure that you are eating a balanced diet that will provide all the required nutrients to both yourself and your unborn baby. It is recommended that at this stage 55% of your caloric requirements should come from carbohydrates, 35% should come from fats and 10% should come from proteins.

2. Major Nutrients You Need



Folic acid

Folic acid is an important vitamin that is required even before you get pregnant. It is responsible for the development of nervous system of your baby. It also helps to prevent birth defects and congenital malformations in the baby.


Another important nutrient required during pregnancy is iron. Make sure to take iron along with a source of vitamin C so as to facilitate the absorption of iron.

Calcium and zinc

Calcium and zinc should also be taken in sufficient amounts to help in the development of the embryo.

Vitamin A

Vitamin A can damage the embryo; hence, its intake should be avoided during pregnancy.


More Tips for You When You're 36 Weeks Pregnant

1. Pack a Hospital Bag

It can be cumbersome to pack for the hospital. Now that you have entered the 36th week of pregnancy, it is better to start packing your hospital bag. Some basic things that you should pack are:

  • Essentials for Mom: Health insurance card; breast pads, which will be needed to absorb milk and avoid leakage of milk; outfit for going home--you should take the clothes that you wore when you were 6 months pregnant; sanitary pads that are suitable for a heavy flow.
  • Essentials for Baby: Infant head support and car seat since you will not be allowed to leave without them; outfit for going home and diapers for the newborn.

2. Make Arrangements for Childcare

This is the perfect time to make arrangements for someone who will take care of your child along with you. Having someone such as parent, friend, relative or your partner around can help ease your anxiety.

3. Walk Everyday

You should go for a walk everyday as even though it may be difficult for you to walk, it will help ease out your aches and pains.

4. Sleep in a Nursing Bra

Start sleeping in a nursing bra if you find that your breasts feel uncomfortable at the night. These bras provide support and are comfortable. You can also wear them during the day for more comfort.

5. Talk with Your Doctor

Talk with your doctor about any worries or concerns you are having while you are waiting for your water to break or labor pains to start.

6. Tips for Your Partner

Your partner can also pack a bag in preparation for the delivery of your baby. He can pack the following items in his bag:

  • Extra change of clothes
  • Pajamas to wear at night
  • Bathing suit, an important thing to pack if you are planning for a water birth or using birthing pool at the time of delivery
  • A watch with seconds hand
  • Camera with extra films, tapes, batteries, chargers etc.