You are officially 9 months pregnant! What a journey you’ve been on growing your little miracle, good job mom!
Baby Growth at 37 Weeks Pregnant
At 37 weeks pregnant, your baby is about the size of a canary melon. It’s approximately 19 inches tall and somewhere around the average of 6.5 pounds and gaining about half an ounce every day.
Your due date is definitely approaching but medical professionals don't consider babies to be full term until 39 weeks. Deliveries at 37 weeks are still considered "early" because their little brain and liver are still in the process of developing. Therefore, if you're planning to have a C-section, your doctor will schedule it no earlier than 39 weeks, unless there's a specific reason for medical intervention that outweighs the risks.
If you were to peek inside your belly, you’d see that your little one looks like a newborn at this stage and usually has fully mature lungs, a chunky little body, and as you may have noticed – may even be experiencing hiccups!
Here's an interesting fact about how large the head has grown by week 37: At birth, your baby's head, which is still growing, will be about the same circumference as it’s chest. The head will compress slightly, thanks to soft spots in the skull called fontanels that will help their head make their way through the birth canal.
Fat deposits that have been developing under the skin have now formed little dimples in those beautiful elbows, knees, and shoulders, as well as creases in its neck and wrists.
Your baby has developed more flexibility and dexterity in their fingers and they can now grab smaller objects, like their toe or nose. What keeps your little one busy while they wait for their birthday to officially arrive? Practice, practice, practice.
Since the baby has grown significantly over the third trimester, the kicks may be less painful and feel a bit more like stretching, rolling, and squirming at this stage.
Right now, your little superstar is rehearsing for their big debut, simulating breathing by inhaling and exhaling amniotic fluid, sucking their thumb, blinking, and rolling from side to side.
You and Your Body at Pregnancy 37 Weeks
Around the 37th week of pregnancy, many moms-to-be find themselves tidying up closets and scrubbing floors and walls. This is the phenomenon that people affectionately call "nesting". It's instinctive: your body feels that the baby is coming very soon and you feel an innate urge to get ready.
After all, you are 37 weeks pregnant now, which is considered "early term," meaning the baby is almost ready. Nesting may also be the brain's way of trying to make sure everything is ready for the baby's arrival and gives you a head start on your parenthood journey.
Sleep disturbances will continue to be the norm until delivery day has arrived. Try to sleep on your side at this stage to keep your baby safe and ensure they’re receiving adequate blood flow; stay off of your back. If you wake up on your back at night, don’t panic – simply roll over to your side again.
You may notice an increase in vaginal discharge. You may notice something called a "bloody show", which is mucus stained with a small amount of blood. When you see it in the toilet or on your underwear, labor will likely begin in the next few days or less. If you have an increased volume in spotting or bleeding, be sure to call your medical team for guidance.
Occasionally you or your partner may have days or moments when you feel irritable – which is totally normal. But if you notice that sadness or depression is lingering longer than a couple of weeks, be sure to seek professional help. Prenatal depression in women or in men is common and you’re not alone. If you are experiencing feelings of worry and angst regarding the arrival of your newborn, talk to someone you trust and can confide in to help relieve and calm your mind.
Typical symptoms at 37 Weeks Pregnant
You only have a few more weeks left of these pregnancy symptoms before things will begin returning to normal. If you are 37 weeks pregnant, some symptoms can also be mistaken for signs of labor.
As the baby continues to put pressure on your digestive system while your due date approaches, you may experience more heartburn. Avoid spicy foods and be sure to sit upright for at least 60 minutes after eating to avoid it as much as possible.
Some spotting is normal at this stage of pregnancy. Remember that your cervix can bleed very easily at this time, so sex or a cervical exam by your OB can irritate it and cause light bleeding. Call your doctor if you notice more than a few drops of blood.
Excessive vaginal bleeding can be the sign of an issue with the placenta (such as placental abruption) and it is important to seek treatment immediately. Also, don't confuse spotting or bleeding with "bloody show," a blood-tinged discharge is a completely harmless sign that your cervix is changing to prepare for labor.
If the baby has descended into your pelvis in preparation for labor, it is putting more pressure on your abdomen, which could cause you to experience new aches and pains and an increased need for frequent trips to the bathroom.
It is normal to get up in the middle of the night in late pregnancy. Some strategies to get more sleep are to get plenty of light exercise during the day, stay hydrated and avoid blue light, from phone and tv screens 2 hours before bedtime.
At 37 weeks, cramps or contractions are expected to begin. After all, you are going to have a baby soon, so your body is practicing for the big day! You may notice that contractions go away when changing position. That means they are Braxton Hicks – not actual labor contractions. Braxton Hicks contractions may become more frequent, last longer, and get a bit more uncomfortable as the days progress.
An upset stomach is quite typical at nearly any stage of pregnancy. But now that you are approaching your due date, it could be a sign that delivery is on the horizon. If your nausea is severe or vomiting begins, tell your OB so they can rule out an illness or a pregnancy complication.
Continue to monitor your baby's movements and let your health care provider know right away if you notice any decrease in movement. Even though your baby is running out of room, they should still be very active.
Pregnancy Week 37 Tips and Advice
To make your pregnancy easier, here are some tips for you:
Eat more frequent, smaller meals. Bloat getting you down? You can blame the pregnancy hormone progesterone for slowing down your digestion, leading to bloating, constipation, and cramping. One way to beat bloating is eating more slowly and chewing thoroughly. When consuming food quickly, you swallow air in addition to what you’re eating which then settles in your stomach as gas bubbles.
Quench your thirst. Be sure to drink plenty of water, as dehydration can cause the uterus to contract and cause pain. And remember, it also helps with other symptoms like heartburn.
Get an exercise ball. Looking for good exercise at the end of pregnancy? Get on a ball! An exercise ball is a safe and effective tool for strengthening your abdominal muscles during pregnancy. Looking not too far in the future, it can also bring relaxation and physical relief during pregnancy and childbirth. Sitting and bouncing on the ball can relieve strain on your lower back and help your baby engage lower into your pelvis as your delivery date approaches.
Put your partner to work. If you're still in nesting mode, don’t do it alone. Create a to-do list with your partner and divide up the tasks. You'll be ready for your little one in no time!
Some reminders for week 37:
- Schedule your 38-week prenatal visit
- Learn the signs of postpartum depression
Joy and happiness are already in the air and your baby will be here before you know it. It’s a great time to document that beautiful bump that you’ve created, snap a few pictures of your belly before the baby comes to remember your pregnancy journey.