This week your child is about the size of a honeydew melon! Your little one continues to pack on the weight in preparation for the big delivery date. Baby will continue to gain about one ounce per day, putting your child at approximately 6 pounds this week. Growth will slow a bit from here on out, which your body will appreciate come delivery time.
With only four weeks left, your little one is nearly ready for the big day. Your child’s liver and kidneys are ready to go and fully capable of processing waste. Also in full form would be the circulation and immune systems. The pulmonary and digestive systems are still putting in work though. In fact, the digestive system won’t be fully developed for another year or two. That’s because your child has relied on the umbilical cord to deliver vital nutrients, rendering the digestive system nonoperational.
Should baby choose to arrive early (and it’s very possible at this point) your sweet baby would likely be able to function all on their own, but they may need a little extra help upon arrival.
Speaking of arrival, your baby’s bones are ready in preparation for the journey through the birth canal. The skull is made of several soft bone plates so that the head can more easily squeeze through the vaginal opening. In common form, the other cartilage and bones, especially the shoulders, are also softer to allow for an easier delivery. Over the next few years, the bones will harden and the skull will fuse.
As you enter the last month of pregnancy, you can proudly say you’re in the home stretch! Since baby really could make their debut any day now, it’s a good idea to get your affairs all in line. At work, discuss any projects you’re currently working on so that your coworkers will be well informed and able to perform in your absence. Discuss your plans with your partner and consider the what-ifs should anything deviate from your initial plan (and there’s a chance it will). It wouldn’t hurt to run a few practice drills, like practicing your breathing or finding ideal routes to the hospital from various locations.
At 36 weeks, this is also a great time to spend a little one-on-one time with your partner before your family grows. You can spend your date night enjoying a nice dinner, but dancing is probably off the table. At this point, your ankles and feet are likely pretty swollen and they’d appreciate a more relaxing event. You’ll likely want to steer clear of the spicy foods too since heartburn could still be a factor.
On the plus side, you may be able to breath a bit more easily these days. Your child might make the descent into your pelvis, freeing up some space for your lungs to have a little extra room. You’ll even have some extra space for your tummy so feel free to enjoy a full healthy meal. This process of dropping is also called “lightening,” though the terminology is a misnomer because you certainly won’t feel any lighter. You’ll just feel the pressure and pain lower and in your pelvis. A belly sling can help distribute the weight a little better and you’ll likely want to relax with your hips elevated a bit. Warm baths and warm compresses may also provide a little relief.
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