37 Week Fetus and Pregnancy

Congratulations! Oh mother, your baby is now considered a full term baby, even though your due date is three weeks away.  Only five percent of babies are born on their due date. Most babies won’t be coming for three to five more weeks for first time mothers but if your baby decides to come out now, his lungs will most likely be ready to breathe on his own outside the womb. The baby has already passed the 6th month of gestation wherein the lungs become mature enough to produce surfactant—the fluid that prevents tension in the lungs. The baby is now very much welcome to the world. Hush, because the baby may be ready to come out anytime soon. A little patience will do the trick.

How does your baby look like now?

“I’m coming out! I want the world to know, I’m gonna let it show!” Your lovely baby is probably at over 6 pounds now and measures between 19 to 20 inches from head to rump. He is definitely looking like a newborn now, ready enough to face the world. Your baby has probably moved into the head-down, back-facing position that is ideal for labor. The ideal position for birth is head down against the birth canal, with its legs tucked up to its chest, and its kneed against its nose. The bones of the baby’s haed are soft and flexible to ease the process of delivery though the vagina. This softness is due to the open fontanels to facilitate birth, which will close a few months right after delivery. If the baby has not yet moved to this position, your baby might be in a breech position (head fown, facing front), or lying crosswise in your womb, which could make your labor a bit complicated. Your doctor may either manually turn him into the ideal position for labor or may conduct a scheduled C-section (Cesarean section) for a safer delivery.

Your baby’s hair may have already changed from the lanugo that covers the whole body into the finer hairs that is called, vellus hairs, or typically referred to as, peach fuzz. How cute and lovely! The vernix caseosa has mostly disappeared. His skin is becoming less rumpled.

All the body organs are now fully developed. As for the ears, you will notice that the baby actively responds to noises or sounds. You can observe that loud sounds can make the baby startle because loud sounds can easily penetrate into the womb. It just shows that the baby’s sense of hearing is fully developed.  A little bit of Mozart can help you entertain the baby while waiting for birth.

If the baby is a boy, his testicles should have descended at this time.

From the 37th week of pregnancy until the baby comes out, the fetus is busy placing on weight. This means that the longer that the baby stays in the womb, the heavier the baby will weigh on birth. This could produce some anxiety for the pregnant mother as she may fear of having a C-section, rather than a normal delivery. C-section is always more expensive and poses more risk to the mother and the baby. The baby may gain weight at the rate of about an ounce per day during the last month before birth.

You will feel more changes in the fetal activity. The baby is now more active. He squirms and rolls more often and kicks less. There could be a lot of new discomforts since the baby is getting bigger and more ready to come out to the world.

Tips for Moms

After the 36th week of pregnancy, your doctor will increase your appointments to weekly. Your doctor should be able to discuss with you signs and symptoms of true and false labor. Also, discuss with your doctor any unsual things happening in your pregnancy experience. Voicing out your experiences will help you relieve anxieties as your doctor will most likely rule out famous misconceptions about pregnancy and delivery. Remember that delivery is quite soon. Anytime from this week, your baby may come out and the doctor will not stop this process since he is now in full term. Discuss with your doctor about the several discomforts and anxieties you feel. You may have some discomfort and achiness in your buttocks and pelvic areas, increased backaches and heaviness, and more difficulty in sleeping. In addition, more frequent and more intense Braxton Hicks Contractions (which now may be more painful) can be a big cause of your anxiety. The doctor should have discussed fully that the Braxton Hicks Contractions are not signs of true labor. You should be already practicing breathing techniques that may help you in your delivery soon and may also help you to prevent fatigability. Your baby is now bigger and presses more on your uterus that contributes to your more frequent travels to the comfort room. You may also have more constipation episodes but at this point of time, you should have already mastered what remedies and physical exercises that need to be done to resolve it. You may have finished already your labor or lamaze classes but try to be more productive and busy as to prevent yourself from being impatient about the labor and delivery. Go out with your partner, see a movie, take a few walks for exercise, read books, etc. This will help you in the whole process of the waiting.

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