The size of a baby at 37 weeks is similar to a stalk of Swiss chard. They are approximately 48cm from the top of their head to their heel (crown-heel length). Curled up, they are 33.8cm from the top of their head to their buttocks (crown-rump length). They weigh roughly 2.9kg.
You’re getting very close to meeting the newest addition to your family. They just have a bit more growing to do first.
Your baby at 37 weeks
At 37 weeks, your baby is practising the skills that will serve them once they arrive. They’re also starting to get in position for labour.
Here is a closer look at the key developments from this week.:
Getting ready for the real world
This week, your little one is preparing to make its grand entrance. A baby at 37 weeks in the womb has increased dexterity. They’re continuing to grasp small objects, like their nose and toes. They’re also continuing to blink and take practice breaths by inhaling amniotic fluid.
Preparing for their first feed
To prepare for breastfeeding after birth, your little one has been practising sucking their thumb and swallowing amniotic fluid. They should have this coordination down pat between week 36 and week 38.
Babies born at 37 weeks
Previously, a baby born at 37 weeks was considered full term. However, research has shown in the last decade that important developments are still taking place up until the very end of pregnancy. For this reason, 39 weeks is generally considered a full-term pregnancy.
With that being said, if you do go into labour at 37 weeks, your baby might spend a bit of time in the newborn intensive care unit (NICU), but should be just fine.
Your body at 37 weeks pregnant
Your body is gearing up for labour, which can cause some uncomfortable pregnancy symptoms. Luckily, you only have a few more weeks to go! Here are some things you may be experiencing this week:
- Losing your mucus plug. The mucus plug is a thick glob of mucus that can be clear, pink, yellow or even brownish in colour. It “plugs” the cervix, which helps protect the fetus from infection. It can come out anytime from 37 weeks pregnant onward. Although, it doesn’t happen the same way for all women. Some don’t lose it until days, or even hours before labour. It may come out all at once, or it may be a more gradual process.
- Nesting. The pre-birth ritual of nesting is a common symptom of late pregnancy. It’s often described as a “burst of energy” and entails organising and cleaning in preparation for the baby’s arrival. This can include things like polishing up the nursery, making freezer meals, or tidying up your home.
- Lightening. Near the end of pregnancy, your baby will drop and settle lower into your pelvis. This is referred to as lightening. It usually occurs 2 to 4 weeks before labour begins, but it can also happen days or even hours before delivery. It may cause an increase in vaginal discharge as well as more pelvic pressure. You might also need to make more frequent trips to the bathroom as the baby’s head rests more heavily on your bladder. On the plus side, there will be less pressure on your diaphragm once the baby drops which gives way to easier breathing.
Taking care of yourself when pregnant at 37 weeks
During your final trimester, self-care and last-minute preparation for the baby have probably never felt so important.
To make your life a little easier, here are some helpful tips and things to concentrate on this week:
- Prepare freezer meals. Stocking up on freezer meals will be a lifesaver once the baby arrives. Simply cook up large batches of your favourite dishes and store them away until a later date. This allows you to fuel up on nutritious food and means you won’t be reaching for unhealthy snacks as often.When hunger hits, you’ll have a ready-made meal in the time it takes to heat up in the microwave.
- Keep drinking water. Staying hydrated is necessary for all stages of pregnancy, but leading up to labour it’s especially important. The uterus is a muscular organ, and just like any other muscle in the body, it works best when fully hydrated.
- Get an exercise ball. Also called a birthing ball, an exercise ball is a great tool for gentle late-pregnancy workouts and stretching. When sitting on the ball, you can perform simple movements, like hip circles, pelvic tilts, and other side to side motions. Once labour starts, you can also sit on the ball to help open up your hips and pelvis.
When purchasing, make sure to get the right size ball according to your height.
- Install your car seat. It won’t be long now until your little one arrives. A car seat is an absolute must-have for transferring your baby home safely from the hospital. Each model will be slightly different and usually requires several steps to secure in place. For this reason, it’s best to get a jump on putting it in now.
- Enjoy a date night. The nights spent between you and your partner are going to look a little different in a few weeks time. Take the opportunity to enjoy a carefree date night while you still can. And remember, sex during pregnancy is completely safe and a great way to connect with your significant other..