Your Weekly Pregnancy Development: Week 36

Although your baby's bones are hardening, his skull remains soft and flexible for birth

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Week 36

Still growing and still preparing

Week 36: Your baby is approaching full term

At the end of 36 weeks of pregnancy, your baby will be considered full term. Although he has more growing to do after that time, it might give you comfort to know that the arrival is approaching quickly.

Here's what else is happening:

  • Your baby has grown almost completely into his skin, which was once oversized and loose.
  • He now has a fully rounded face, in part because his powerful sucking muscles are now developed and ready to get to work.
  • Although your baby's bones are hardening, his skull remains soft and flexible for his birth.
  • At 36 weeks of pregnancy, your baby probably weighs about 6 pounds or slightly more.

Week 36

Your Week 36 nutrition and health

Keep up your healthy habits

It's natural for your body to begin to slow a little as you get closer to your due date. You're now carrying a full-grown baby inside, and are continuing to adjust to loosening ligaments, swelling, and other challenges.

  • Continuing consistent, gentle exercise can give you long-term energy. Walking is a great example of exercise you usually can continue through labor.
  • Your balanced nutrition now is not only nourishing you and your baby, but it also is establishing a strong foundation for breastfeeding and your body's recovery after delivery.

What are Braxton-Hicks contractions?

Braxton-Hicks contractions is the clinical term for false contractions. They were named after the British doctor John Braxton Hicks. These types of contractions might become more frequent as you edge closer to your due date. Remember, these contractions play an important role in helping your body rehearse for childbirth.

The differences between Braxton-Hicks and true labor contractions

Braxton-Hicks (False Labor) Contractions True Labor Contractions
  • Irregular and remain irregular
  • Don't get closer together as time passes
  • Often are weak and stay that way (might have stronger contractions followed by weaker ones)
  • Stop when you rest, walk, or change positions
  • Vary in length and intensity
  • Don't affect your cervix
  • Pain usually felt only in the front
  • Regular intervals or regular pattern
  • Grow closer together over time
  • Increase in strength/intensity over time
  • Keep coming no matter what you do
  • Usually last 30 to 90 seconds (shorter when they begin and get progressively longer and stronger)
  • Cause cervix to dilate (open)
  • Pain begins in back and moves to front.
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