Fetal development in pregnancy week 36:
Your baby now weighs about 6 pounds and measures about 20.7 inches long. You’ve almost made it to the end now. Keep this in mind as you continue to grow increasingly uncomfortable. Your health practitioner will probably want to see you weekly now.
Fat is deposited in the baby’s cheeks this week and the muscles that help your baby suck are helping to fill out their little faces. Your baby’s bones are very strong, but the skull is going to stay soft, so that it can pass through the birth canal.
Baby’s immune system is continuing to develop and now they are receiving your antibodies. Liver and kidneys are now fully developed and functional, allowing baby to process some of their own waste. Meconium is accumulating rapidly now. This first bowel movement is normally voided soon after birth, but some baby’s will void while they are still waiting to be born.
Your baby is now a plump, round little person. All the extra weight and fat accumulation over the last few weeks has filled out their little bodies.
If you haven’t already had a GBS, or Group B Strep test, now is the time to ask your doctor or midwife about this test.
As you continue your pregnancy week by week your baby’s main job at 36 weeks pregnant is still gaining weight. This will continue up until the point of delivery. You may not think this is very exciting but don’t forget all of the important changes and developments your baby has undergone in the last several weeks. Your baby has been working diligently to mature and develop organs, reproductive systems and other unique features that will make your baby the unique person he is at delivery.
You should also remember that weight gain is vital to your baby’s health and well being after delivery. The more weight your baby puts on the better prepared your baby will be to face the challenges that will present on the ‘outside’.
Here’s an interesting bit of information you may like to know, around pregnancy week 36. Some researchers think that babies actually release a signal to the mother’s body that triggers labor. There are actual many different theories about what exactly triggers labor. The truth is no one is one hundred percent certain, as different factors can influence different women and babies differently!
Some researchers think that when your baby is ready to delivery their brain sends a signal to the fetal adrenal glands. These glands might respond by producing hormones to help stimulate altered production of estrogen and progesterone, a sign your body may need to go into labor.
Still others believe that your baby’s lungs may secrete signals or hormones indicating to the rest of the body that they are mature and ready for the outside world. This combined with the presence of certain enzymes may result in the release of prostaglandin’s that can trigger labor by ripening and preparing the cervix for delivery. This is a very plausible suggestion as prostaglandins do play a key role in labor and delivery.
Your Body’s Development
By pregnancy week 36 you are at the height of your pregnancy glory. Your uterus has risen to more than 6 inches above your navel. You may think you couldn’t possible grow a centimeter more, but your baby has other plans. Most women will continue their pregnancy until the 39th or 40th week (or more in some cases!).
It is quite remarkable how well our uterus adapts to pregnancy. During pregnancy the uterus grows from the size of a plum to the size of a large melon and then some. At no other time during the course of your life will your body change, transform and adapt more so than during pregnancy. Amazingly, within six weeks after delivery however, your uterus will return to its pre-pregnancy size and shape!
Changes In Your Body
By pregnancy week 36 you are probably very focused on labor and delivery, and may even be anxious for labor to begin. Keep in mind however that you still have a good four weeks or so before you deliver. That time is essential to allow your baby the opportunity to fully develop and grow. Don’t forget a full term pregnancy lasts anywhere from 37 to 41 weeks duration. Your baby can come anytime between then and be quite normal.
You may hope your baby will come early, but most babies have a peculiar habit of coming a bit late. Remember, take some time to relax in the upcoming weeks. Chances are you will delivery around, though not exactly on your due date. In fact, only about five percent of women actually deliver on their due date!
Since her prenatal appointments are every week now, you might want to go with her to check in with her midwife or doctor. If you are planning a home birth you may have a special visit from your home and your birth kit may have arrived already.
When the weather starts to cool down you’ll probably find yourself reaching for a sweater. Maternity sweaters are a must have item, particularly if you plan on spending 5 to 9 months in a cold climate or season. Remember, the warmer you keep your belly, the less likely junior is to kick you for keeping things a bit chilly!
Fortunately, Maternity Sweaters at Destination Maternity come in many different styles and colors. You can usually find something that works in a casual setting or something a bit more sophisticated to wear in the office. When shopping for maternity sweaters during pregnancy, you might want to avoid certain fabrics, such as wool, that might irritate already itchy skin!
Pregnancy Health Tips
If you are planning a vaginal birth after previously delivering by C-section you may be surprised to learn that your hospital may no longer allow the practice. Many hospitals are not able to comply with the guidelines the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecologists developed in 1999. These rules require that a doctor be immediately available throughout active labor in case a woman needs an emergency cesarean section. For a hospital to comply fully, an entire operating crew, OB, and anesthesiologists would need to be available 24/7. With the exception of larger medical facilities, this often puts a strain on resources for smaller hospitals.
The guidelines were established recognizing that many women attempting to deliver vaginally after a c-section are more at risk for complications including uterine rupture. This condition is life threatening for the mom and baby. Many women are aware of the risks associated with VBAC but still want to give it a try. This causes controversy when they realize they may not have a choice at their chosen facility. Most doctors argue their position is based on concern for the safety of the mother and baby.
What is of concern is that these women may attempt home births in order to avoid repeat cesareans. While vaginal births after cesarean are possible, there are also very serious risks involved. It is vital that women take control of their health but also recognize the dangers of not having access to a medical staff that is capable of performing an emergency cesarean surgery, if it is needed.
Civil rights also come into play with this issue. Most activists would agree a woman should have the right to select the type of delivery. Many women feel this right is crushed under laws that limit doctors the ability to grant patients’ wishes. One thing is certain; the controversy is likely to continue. The best step you can take if considering a vaginal birth after a c-section is discuss your situation with your doctor or healthcare provider. Together the two of you can likely come up with a safe and accommodating plan of action.
Most vaginal born twins are born within an hour of each other, though this can vary from one right after the other, to several hours. You and the babies will be monitored to ensure the process does not need to be sped up.