Week 37 of Your Pregnancy

A look at your body, your baby, and more

Welcome to week 37 of your pregnancy. As the clock counts down to your delivery day, be prepared: About 54 percent of women go into labor between now and week 39.

week 37 pregnancy highlights
​Illustration by Verywell

Your Trimester: Third trimester

Weeks to Go: 3

You This Week

At 37 weeks, your body is preparing for birth in a number of ways. For instance, you may be experiencing an increase in Braxton Hicks contractions and your estrogen levels are beginning to rise to soften (efface) and open (dilate) your cervix. These cervical changes then thin-out your mucus plug, which has been shielding your cervix from bacteria.

As a result, you may notice some streaky red or pink spotting, a.k.a. “bloody show,” or the plug may come out in its entirety; know, though, that some women pass their mucus plug without even realizing it. While that’s one sign your body is gearing up for labor, it doesn’t necessarily indicate that the big moment is around the corner; it could be hours, days, or still weeks away. That said, if you do lose your plug now, tell your healthcare provider at your next prenatal appointment. Rest assured, your baby is not at increased risk for infection as a result of this.

Your uterus, which has been inching up higher and higher in your abdomen throughout your pregnancy, has (mostly) stopped migrating by week 37. At the same time, your weight is likely holding steady, while your amniotic fluid levels are beginning to decline. By week’s end, your total weight gain will likely hover between 25 and 35 pounds.

Your Baby This Week

Week 37 used to be considered “term,” meaning your baby was at the point where he or she was finished developing and ready to be born. However, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists and the Society for Maternal-Fetal Medicine now dub 37 to 38 weeks “early term,” because baby’s brain, lungs, and liver continue to develop during this time.

In addition, your baby is still brushing up on coordination, practicing finger-grasping, and thumb-sucking. In fact, in-utero thumb-sucking is actually helping baby prepare to breastfeed. By week’s end, your baby will measure 18 inches long and weigh 6 to 7 pounds.

At Your Doctor’s Office

Whether you are planning to have a Cesarean section or not, take this opportunity to talk with your healthcare provider about the what-ifs of this procedure. After all, 32 percent of all deliveries in the United States wind up being via C-section, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention—some planned, some not.

“While some Cesareans are scheduled ahead of time because of concerns like placenta previa; breech or transverse presentation; or multiples, more often than not, determining whether a baby comes out vaginally or by C-section doesn’t happen until you are actually in labor,” says Allison Hill, M.D., a private practice OB-GYN in Los Angeles.

Whether a C-section is part of your plan or not, ask your physician or midwife:

  • What are the most common reasons you may recommend a C-section during labor?
  • Will I be able to watch my baby being born?
  • Can my partner be in the room?
  • Will both of my arms need to be strapped down during the procedure?
  • When can I hold my baby after a C-section?
  • How soon can I breastfeed after surgery?
  • What post-surgery pain medicine is given? Is it safe for my baby if I nurse?
  • How long does recovery usually take?
  • What will the C-section scar be like?

If you have scheduled a C-section, are certain that you do not want to get pregnant again, and are considering tubal ligation (having your “tubes tied”), you may also want to speak to your practitioner about this; some women opt to get both procedures done at the same time, but advanced planning is necessary.

Special Considerations

If you received a cervical cerclage early in your pregnancy, where a surgeon stitched around your cervix to help prevent preterm birth, this is the week when your healthcare provider removes the stitches.

Meanwhile, if you’ve been diagnosed with mild preeclampsia, your healthcare provider will likely recommend you schedule an induction. Labor may be artificially brought on by:

  • Medication, such as Pitocin, a synthetic form of the hormone oxytocin
  • Puncturing the amniotic sac with a hook-like device, allowing fluid to release (This procedure is painless.)
  • Stripping the membranes: Your healthcare provider uses his or her finger to separate the cervix from the amniotic sac without breaking it.
  • Inserting a Foley catheter, where a balloon-like device is placed through the cervix and then expanded

Upcoming Doctor's Visits

Do you have lingering delivery-day worries or questions? Now’s the time to share them with your healthcare provider (and your partner), no matter how silly or outrageous they might seem. He or she can help quell your fears and offer reality checks.

Some concerns that commonly top the list of a mom-to-be:

Taking Care

While many working moms-to-be save the entirety of their family and medical leave for when the baby arrives, others are able to take some time before birth as well. “While it’s certainly not possible for everyone, I do like to encourage patients to try and take some time off from work—even if it’s just a couple of half days, even if you’re feeling fine—at the end of pregnancy,” says Dr. Hill. “This is really your last chance to grab some time for yourself before your baby changes your life.”

For Partners

While your partner is discussing her fears with you and her healthcare provider, you shouldn’t hesitate to acknowledge your own birth day anxieties as well.

Ask your own questions of your partner’s midwife or physician, seek the advice of experienced parents, and talk with your partner. It’s not uncommon for those in your position to worry about many of the same things as moms-to-be, like getting to the hospital or birthing center on time, or feeling nervous about witnessing the birth. Other common concerns include:

  • Being in the way
  • Not providing proper support
  • Not being a good advocate for your partner
  • Seeing your loved one in pain

Remember that whatever you are feeling is OK and natural, especially if this is your first child.

Verywell Checklist

  • Continue taking prenatal vitamins.
  • Continue drinking about eight to 12 glasses of water a day.
  • Continue doing your Kegel exercises daily.
  • Continue doing your daily perineal massages.
  • Make a list of last-minute labor and delivery questions.

Last Week: Week 36

Coming Up: Week 38

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