Now that you've reached week 36, you've only got a few more weeks left in this exciting journey until baby finally makes his or her debut!
Your changing life
At this point in your pregnancy, you're visiting the doctor weekly and may even start dilating. This is common right now as your body prepares for delivery. There's a lot that's starting to change for your body during these last few weeks.
Right before labor begins, you'll have the sudden urge to "nest." This means that you'll want to put things away, make sure the house is clean and ensure that everything is ready to go before baby arrives. They often say that when you can't resist the never-ending urge to get up and clean then you're probably bound for the hospital soon!
If your doctor hasn't already warned you, you'll want to be on the lookout for Braxton Hicks contractions. You may have already felt them but didn't quite know what they were. These contractions can go unnoticed or be strong enough to convince you that you're going into labor. Braxton Hicks are contractions that become rhythmic and unlike true labor, they don't get longer, stronger or closer together. Try to change your activity or position and they'll likely go away. Walking, resting, drinking water or taking a warm bath can help them subside.
Pelvic pain is probably a pretty common ailment for you at this point. The baby weighs much more than he or she used to. Your belly is also starting to drop, so there's a lot more pressure on your body's pelvic region. As your ligaments in your hips start to stretch and become more flexible in order to make room for squeezing a baby through a tiny space, they're probably hurting and adding more stress to your lower body. As a result of all this stretching, you've likely developed the penguin waddle while walking, something that every soon-to-be mother does during these last few weeks.
Have you heard the term "lightening" yet? And no, we aren't talking about the lightning that comes out of the sky during a thunderstorm! If you haven't, lightening is when your baby drops into your pelvic cavity. When this happens, the pressure that's been on your diaphragm for the last several months is finally gone and you can start breathing a little easier again. Your heartburn may also start to dissipate since there isn't as much pressure on your stomach. If acid reflux is still a problem try propping yourself up when you sleep to keep stomach acid from making it's way back up your esophagus.
Your growing baby
Baby is the size of a honeydew! He or she is between 17 and 18 inches long and weighs between 4 and 8 pounds. Since you're in the later stage of pregnancy, your little one won't be growing too much bigger before delivery. He or she is still small enough to be able to fit through the birth canal come the big day.
Your baby's skull has not fully developed yet, so he or she can squeeze through the birth canal easily. No worries – your baby's skull will gradually harden during the first few years of life.
Your doctor has been checking to make sure that baby has rotated so he or she is positioned with his or her head down. If the baby is breeched then your OB will likely suggest an external cephalic version (ECV), which means they'll put pressure on your abdomen in an attempt to rotate your little one.
Your baby showers are over and you thought you had plenty of time to get everything put away. Well, that time has passed and with only a few weeks left, you may be scrambling to get the nursery finished.
There's no need to worry, because as nesting begins to set in you'll start feeling the urge to fold the baby's clothes or hang up pictures in the halls that will soon hear bouts of cries and giggles.
You should be sure that you think about the size of the space when picking out furniture. If your baby is going to have a smaller room then you don't want to choose a glider, crib, dresser and changing table because there likely won't be enough room. Depending on the size of the nursery, you may want to consider eliminating things that you don't really need.
If you've really put off decorating the nursery until the last minute, then you should first pick a theme and some paint colors for the walls. Newborns can only see in black and white, but as they age you'll want to ensure that there are hues on the wall that can spark their interest. Avoid bright colors and choose softer tones that are more pleasing to an infant's developing eyesight.
Don't forget to use a style that not only flows with the rest of the house, but will also foster a calm environment. Babies can sense tension and if there's too much going on in the room – such as an abundance of pictures or an obnoxious wallpaper – it could stress them out and leave them feeling uncomfortable.
Even if everything isn't perfect for baby's arrival yet, you've still got a few weeks and you'll be surprised at just how quickly you can get it all ready.