Pregnancy Calendar Week 37 – Your Cervical Mucus Plug May Come Out

Pregnancy Calendar Week 37 – Your Cervical Mucus Plug May Come Out

The clock is counting and you are steadily reaching the day of delivery. You are still facing some discomforts while the baby is experiencing the finishing touches at this time with major organs up and working. Find out what you need to know more this week.

Week 37

About 54 percent pregnant women go into labor between 37 and 39 weeks. By the time you enter 37th week, your body is already preparing for the birth in so many ways. You are experiencing Braxton Hicks contraction which is a uterus’ way of practicing labor. Besides, the rising estrogen levels are triggering the dilation of the cervix. The baby is also dropping lower in the pelvis which means he or she is preparing for the big exit.

Your body this week

Pregnant belly and bodyweight

Your changed belly at week 37th week might raise a lot of eyebrows. Your uterus which was inching up and up just 4-5 weeks back has now stopped this process because the baby is now descending lower into the pelvis. This is known as ‘dropping’ as the head of the baby descends into the birth canal in a bid to prepare for labor. This process in other terms also known as lightening which means labor is imminent or just a few weeks ahead.

The descending of the baby also raises the chances of mucus plug to be expelled out. This is a thick yellow discharge that you could experience in the last weeks of pregnancy. If the discharge is tinged in blood, then it is called as ‘bloody show’. You may not even feel it coming out. This is a sign that your labor will begin soon, may be in hours, days or weeks depending on person to person.

In terms of weight gain, you are now bearing an additional weight of about 16 kgs and from this point of time, it would be steady as the levels of amniotic fluid will begin to decline.

Typical symptoms

Dropping of the baby into the pelvis comes with mix bag of good and bad news. On the positive side, when your tummy drops, your chest is restoring the room for you to start breathing normally. But on the flipside, when the baby descends into the pelvis, his or her head presses hard against your bladder. This will trigger urge to urinate frequently as well as lower back pain.

Other symptoms that might be troubling pregnant ladies from earlier weeks are:

  • Heartburn
  • Abdominal pressure
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Swelling in ankles and feet
  • Spotting or light bleeding

Complications at 37th week of pregnancy

Are you pregnant with twins? Then most likely your doctor will be delivering your babies via c-section this week. According to Marchofdimes, pregnant ladies with twins are 6 times more likely to deliver earlier as compared to singleton mom. Either labor induction will be performed or c-section delivery, in majority of cases c-section remains the only option.

There are pretty good reasons why the doctor will be conducting cesarean delivery to avoid complications including stillbirth and placental problems such as placenta previa and placenta abruption.

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Your baby this week

Earlier, week 37 was considered to be the period of time when the baby was finished maturing and well-prepared to be born. However, some organizations including American College of Obstetricians now dubs 37 weeks to be as early term as several major organs including brain, liver and lungs still continue to mature during this period.

Sucking, grasping and exhaling

The baby is practicing thumb sucking and finger-grasping a lot these days. The thumb sucking will help him breastfeed easily. He or she is now able to grasp smaller objects such as nose or toes. The baby is also practicing other skills including inhaling and exhaling amniotic fluid and blinking eyes.

Growth of toenails

By the time you enter 37th week, the toenails of the baby have fully covered the toes. And these toenails will continue to grow and you might find your baby with overgrown nails after he or she steps into this world.

Transfer of antibodies

Your baby is getting armed with antibodies this week. The umbilical cord is doing the transferring the germ and bacteria fighting agents into the baby so that he or she is well prepared to encounter them outside the womb.

Size, weight and appearance

By the end of this week your little one would be around 19 inches long. The rapid weight gain of the baby continues and with more and more fat adding up every day, the weight of the baby at week 37 would be around 2.9 kgs or the size of an ash gourd.

Healthy eating

At week 37, your focus should be more on eating labor inducing foods and those associated with development of your child. These include:

  1. Small amount of spicy foods
  2. Castor oil
  3. Raspberry leaf
  4. Protein-rich foods including eggs and milk

Expecting dads

While your wife has her own set of fears and anxieties, you as a to-be-dad should not hesitate to share your own anxieties. You must talk and seek advice with experienced parents or chat with people going with the same situation. It’s common to feel apprehensions about witnessing childbirth or getting to the hospital.

But remember, whatever you are feeling is normal, especially if this is the first time you are becoming dad.

Screening

If you have history of cervical cerclage in your earlier pregnancy, then this is the week when your doctor will remove them. Cervical cerclage refers to stitching done around the cervix in order to prevent preterm birth of the child.

Pregnant women diagnosed with mild preeclampsia will likely to go through labor induction this week. The doctor may trigger labor artificially:

  • By using pitocin, a synthetic form of oxytocin hormone
  • By inserting a foley catheter, a balloon-like device is placed through the cervix and expanded
  • By puncturing the amniotic sac using a hook-like instrument
  • By stripping the membranes using fingers in order to separate cervix from amniotic sac

Tips of the week

The end of pregnancy is certainly a nail-biting situation. You will be excited and anxious at the same time but patience is the best thing you can have in these moments. Meanwhile, get prepared to welcome your baby’s arrival:

  1. Buy baby essentials such as nappies, unisex clothes and a blanket
  2. Pack a comfortable pillow and your own set of toiletry
  3. Books can be very good companion to make you comfortable in these nerve-racking moments
  4. Keep watching signs of labor including contractions, water breaking and mucus discharge

Things to consider in coming week

There would be several delivery day questions hovering around your mind. So, this is the right time to fire all your questions in front of the doctor no matter how silly or outrageous it might seem. This will help you wade off fear and anxiety from within you. Note down these points in your to-do list and share with the doctor in coming week:

  1. Complications that lead to cesarean delivery
  2. Vaginal tearing, epidural anesthesia and recovery
  3. Issues related to umbilical cord
  4. Handling pain

FAQs at 37th week of pregnancy

I have stopped gaining weight, is it ok?

Many pregnant women don’t gain weight in the last month and this is completely normal. So, don’t worry if you have stopped plumping in the last few weeks of pregnancy.

I am feeling bloated, what can I do to relieve this?

It is normal to feel bloated at this time. Don’t stop drinking water, make sure you drink at least 8 glass of water which will help you in fluid retention. Also eat small and frequent meals throughout the day.

Sources

1. American Pregnancy Association. Pregnancy Week 37. read more
2. The Nemours Foundation. Kidshealth.org. Pregnancy Calendar, Week 37 read more
3. National Women's Health Resource Center. Healthywomen.org. Pregnancy & Parenting Second Trimester of Pregnancy: 37 Weeks 
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