Pregnancy is considered “full-term” when gestation reaches the ninth and final month, at 37 weeks. By now, you’ve been carrying the baby for almost a year; you’re probably shattered, and just want to give birth and finally meet your little one! Nevertheless, it’s important not to stress about this – just relax if you can, the birth is not far away! At 37 weeks you do need to be aware of any important signs, as labor could start at any point from this week onwards - a term baby is born any time between 37 and 42 weeks’ gestation. However, if you have cramping at 37 weeks pregnant, the following information will help you understand the next steps to take.

Cramping When 37 Weeks Pregnant—What Does It Mean?

Your designated due date is the first day of the 40th week, but term labor can begin anytime between 37 and 42 weeks of pregnancy. If you have 37 weeks pregnant cramping and go into labor, this is termed pre-term labor, and if the contractions don’t begin until after 42 weeks, this is known as post-term labor.

If you have cramping at 37 weeks pregnant how do you know if you are going into true labor? This depends on whether your contractions are the Braxton Hicks type, sporadic uterine contractions to prepare your body for giving birth, or heavier contractions indicating the start of labor.

Here are the most common signs of Braxton Hicks:

  • A feeling that the baby has moved lower down in your womb – this indicates that your baby has dropped and is known as lightening.
  • An increase in discomfort in the lower back or cramping in the abdominal region.
  • A tightening sensation in your uterus, which can be quite mild or rather painful.
  • Thick or bloody mucus secretions from the vagina. This is known as the ‘bloody show’ or mucus plug.

The following signs suggest true labor:

  • The contractions do not stop with rest.
  • The contractions occur with increasing frequency (at approximately every two minutes).
  • The contractions become stronger with time.

You can time your contractions with a stopwatch; measure the time between the start of one contraction and the start of the next one. If the time periods are getting shorter, you are likely to be in true labor. Now is the time to call your healthcare professional. You will also need to contact your doctor if your waters have broken or if there is an increase in the amount of bloody mucus from your vagina.

If you have contractions at 37 weeks pregnant onwards, this is a sign that your body is preparing for labor. Although the cramps will be much less severe than when you give birth, dealing with the discomfort now will make you better prepared for when labor comes. You may also experience increased pressure on your lower pelvis and back passage, giving you continuous lower back pain. Resting on the couch or going for short walks may help you to deal with these symptoms. To help you feel relaxed during pregnancy, why not try some yoga or light stretches?

Call your doctor immediately if you are showing the signs of labor before 37 weeks gestation, as this could indicate pre-term labor, which can occur from 24 weeks pregnancy onwards. If you are in labor, you may experience pain in your lower back, abdominal and pelvic area, or diarrhea. You could feel contractions or your uterus tightening, although this may not necessarily be painful. However, if your waters haven’t broken, your symptoms could just be a false alarm.

What Others Have Experienced

What others have to share about 37 weeks pregnant cramping, 37 weeks pregnant contractions, or having back pain 37 weeks pregnant? Check this out!

“I’m on my fourth child, but am still surprised by some of my symptoms – pressure, Braxton Hicks, bowel movements and leakage. I had an 8-hour false labor the other day. I was lying down getting regular contractions about 5 minutes apart, but they weren’t that strong and eventually went away all of a sudden. I believe Braxton Hicks feels more like a tightening of your uterus, whereas with real labor, you feel deep dull pain in your back just above your hips that may spread to lower down the pelvic area or even to your hips. If the labor is real, the pain won’t go away or change when you walk around or lie down.”


“I’m 37 weeks and 3 days pregnant and definitely getting these symptoms! For the last 4 days, I’ve felt a lot of pressure and cramping, as though I’m having a period, and constant tightening in my stomach from the Braxton Hicks. The contractions are really uncomfortable, but when I measure them, they’re not constant or getting stronger. I did report them to my doctor, who sent me to the hospital. They monitored me for 3 hours and gave me lots of water and it got better. However, when I got home, the Braxton Hicks and cramping returned.”


“I’m 37 weeks pregnant and my back and lower abdominal area are very painful. I’m taking trips to the bathroom to pee and poop almost every hour. Definitely ready to meet my baby now! One tip I heard to induce labor is to have lots of sex, if you can handle it at this time! Apparently semen can soften the cervix and increase dilation.”