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After 36 weeks, you’ve officially reached 9 months of pregnancy and are finally in the home stretch.
From growing fingernails to developing strong, healthy bones, your baby is growing rapidly during your last month of pregnancy and starting to get ready for birth.
You can take several steps to ensure you’re fully prepared as well, from packing a birth bag to picking a pediatrician.
In this article, we’ll cover everything you need to know once you’ve reached 36 weeks of pregnancy, including how your baby is developing, what symptoms you should expect, and how you can prepare for a safe and healthy delivery.
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One symptom during week 36 to look out for is contractions. This could mean your baby is coming early or might just be Braxton-Hicks contractions.
Overall, you’ll probably continue experiencing many of the same symptoms you’ve encountered throughout your third trimester, such as:
- frequent urination
- leaky breasts
Many pregnant people experience breast leakage in their third trimester.
This thin, yellowish fluid, known as colostrum, will provide your baby with nutrients in the first days of life. Even if you aren’t planning to breastfeed or chestfeed, your body will still produce colostrum.
If you’re finding the leakage uncomfortable, try wearing nursing pads. You could stock up on these anyway, as you’ll likely need them post-delivery (whether or not you breastfeed), and there’s no reason you can’t use them now.
Nursing pads are relatively inexpensive and available at most major retailers that sell baby products. They can also be purchased in bulk and will come in handy after the baby is born and nursing.
Sometimes babies decide to come early, so you should be on the lookout for contractions.
These feel like a tightening or cramping in your uterus, similar to menstrual cramps. Some women feel them in their back as well. Your stomach will feel hard to the touch during a contraction.
Each contraction will grow in intensity, peak, and then slowly subside. Think of it as a wave, rolling into the shore, then gently making its way back out to sea. As your contractions become closer together, the peaks will occur sooner and last longer.
Some women confuse contractions with Braxton-Hicks contractions, which are sometimes referred to as “false labor.” Braxton-Hicks contractions are intermittent, don’t have a pattern to them, and don’t grow in intensity.
If you’re experiencing contractions, it’s important to time them. There are many mobile apps available that make it easy to time and record your contractions. Alternatively, you can track them the old-fashioned way, using a watch or timer (or counting the seconds out loud) and a pen and paper.
To track your contractionsTrusted Source, record the time they start and when they end. The length of time between when one starts and when the next one starts is referred to as the frequency of contractions. Bring this record with you when you go to the hospital.
If your water breaks, make note of the time and head to the hospital.
or If you’re uncertain about what pains should warrant a call to your doctor or a trip to the hospital, ask your doctor now so you’ll be prepared when the time comes.
If you start to experience contractions that last for about 1 minute and come every 5 minutes for at least an hour, you’re likely on your way to your baby’s birth.
36 Weeks Pregnant: Your Checklist
Find out what room options are available to you at your hospital or birthing center.
Wash any new baby clothes and linens.
Download our third trimester guide (if you haven’t already) for more information on what’s to come in the final few weeks of your pregnancy.
Learn about your options for feeding your baby by discussing both breastfeeding and formula feeding with your healthcare provider or lactation consultant.
Stock up on diapers and wipes. Plus, make sure you have everything you need for all those diaper changes you’ll be doing, including things like diaper rash cream, a diaper pail, and a changing mat to top your changing table with.
If you haven’t already, start considering the things you’ll need to baby proof your home. We asked thousands of Pampers Parents to vote on all the best baby products and among them all you can find product reviews on the best baby gates and the best child proof locks to help you with your babyproofing efforts.