Join   Sign In  

36 Weeks Pregnant: Week by Week Pregnancy

Symptoms, Tips and Fetal Development


Mama, you’ve done it: You’ve reached the last month of your pregnancy. Here’s what to expect when you’re 36 weeks along.

Baby at 36 weeks pregnant

Peek inside your very swollen midsection at 36 weeks pregnant and you’ll see a baby who weighs between five and seven pounds and is around 18-19 inches long. His or her little baby face is round and full and equipped with powerful, well-developed sucking muscles that are ready to work.

With most systems completely developed, your baby is very close to being fully baked. His or her lungs contain a lubricant called surfactant. This lubricant helps the lungs take their first breath once the baby is born. The digestive system hasn’t yet been tested, because the umbilical cord provides for all food and waste needs while in-utero. But it will be go-time just as soon as your baby takes that first pull on a nipple (hello, dirty diapers!).

Your baby has probably started to “drop” and move lower into your pelvis, which can create a lot of pressure and an uncomfortable feeling as you walk. If your baby is breech, your healthcare provider may try to do a maneuver called external cephalic version. This involves trying to move your baby by carefully and strategically pushing on your belly.  

Your body at 36 weeks pregnant

Pregnancy at 36 weeks is no joke, mama! You are all belly, and probably more than a little uncomfortable. Your diaphragm has been pushed upward under your lungs so it feels hard to breathe. Your baby could be crowding under your rib cage. When and if your baby drops into your pelvis, you might get some relief.

pregnancy week 36 embryo
Weekly development of a human fetus at 36 weeks pregnant.

Your doctor or midwife visits become weekly now that you're 36 weeks pregnant. Take these opportunities to ask any questions you may have about your baby's impending birth, such as what labor signs you should look for.

You may be experiencing Braxton-Hicks contractions with more frequency when you're 36 weeks pregnant. They can happen several times a day, but they'll typically last for less than a minute. Cramps are also totally normal as your body prepares for labor.

Sometime in the next few weeks, you might experience some mucus-like discharge indicating that you’ve lost your mucus plug, which seals the cervix. You might also notice some mucus mixed with blood, which is known as bloody show and can occur as the cervix begins to efface and dilate (and bleed a bit as it does). Both bloody show and loss of the mucus plug can be signs that labor is on its way (although not necessarily imminent) .

36 weeks pregnant ultrasound

Your doctor may want to get a final look at your baby before s/he arrives. If you are 35 or older, your doctor might recommend that you begin in-office fetal movement monitoring on a weekly basis. The risk of stillbirth after 36 weeks increases in older moms, so continue to pay attention to your baby’s movements and contact your doctor if your baby seems to be showing decreased activity.

36 weeks is how many months pregnant? 

At this stage in your pregnancy, you're nine months 0 weeks (9m0w) pregnant. 

How big is my baby at 36 weeks pregnant?

a bunch of kale, which is roughly the size of a week 36 human embryo

At 36 weeks pregnant, your baby is as big as a bunch of kale, measuring 18.5 inches long and weighing 6 pounds on average.

Common symptoms at 36 weeks pregnant

Here are some of the symptoms you might be experiencing at 36 weeks pregnant.

  • Breast changes: They’re continuing to grow, if you can believe it! The tiny oil-producing glands that moisturize the nipples and areolas are more apparent and prominent as they prepare to go to work. 
  • Baby dropping: The vast majority of babies at 36 weeks are snuggled head-down, with arms and legs pulled up against their chests. You might notice your baby drop into your pelvis in preparation for delivery. 
  • Increased need to pee: The weight on your bladder is considerable, and that pressure only increases when your baby drops. It’s totally normal if you find yourself up using the bathroom several times a night.
  • Heartburn and constipation: These symptoms could go either way. If and when your baby drops, you might experience some relief from heartburn and constipation. Or the digestion issues might continue to rage on until you deliver (sorry about that!).
  • Loose bones and joints: As your body prepares for labor, it’s relaxing joints and ligaments in anticipation of delivering your baby. Guess where you might notice this most of all? That’s right, in your pelvic area! Exercise extra carefully and gently from here on out in your pregnancy to avoid a joint or muscle injury.
  • Hip and back pain: All that extra weight continues its stress on your back and hips. You might also notice sciatic pain tingling or numbness in the buttocks, hips, and thighs that’s caused by the pressure of the uterus on the sciatic nerve. Sciatic pain may ease as the baby drops.  
  • Cervix dilation: Your provider might report your cervix is beginning to soften and dilate in preparation for labor. 
  • Contractions: Your body is prepping for the big event with practice contractions. The irregularity and unpredictableness of these contractions denote their status as false labor. If they begin coming faster and more consistently, start paying attention! 

Pregnancy checklist at 36 weeks pregnant

Here are some things to tackle at 36 weeks pregnant. 

  • Do some nesting: You might be feeling a strong urge – and possibly even a surge of energy  – to tackle things around your home. This nesting instinct can come on full force in the weeks before your baby arrives. Whether it’s cleaning, meal prep, organizing baby items, or some other domestic-goddess work, take advantage of your motivation to get it done before your baby arrives and makes all such tasks seem 110% more difficult and far less interesting!
  • Request postnatal help: If you’ll be delivering by C-section, you should arrange for some help at home once the baby arrives. Many doctors recommend that women who have C-sections abstain from heavy lifting, housework, and driving for the first few weeks of recovery.
  • Map your route: Add your hospital or birthing center as a favorite in the Maps app on your phone so you’ll be able to easily pull it up when you need it. Stash your hospital bag in the car and install the car seat so that you're ready to go at a moment's notice.

What to Expect at 37 Weeks Pregnant

3 35 Weeks Pregnant: Week by Week Pregnancy
37 Weeks Pregnant: Week by Week Pregnancy 4

You Might Like