36 Weeks Pregnant: Baby is as big as a papaya!

36 Weeks Pregnant: Baby is as big as a papaya!

Week 36 at a glance

Wait, how many months is 36 weeks pregnant?!

Are you 9 months pregnant at 36 weeks?

Yep, you are.

But you thought pregnancy was only 9 months long ‒ how are there still 4 weeks till your due date?

It’s a cruel trick ‒ pregnancies are actually much closer to 10 months in length.

Who knew!

While you get your head around that, if you’re wondering, is it safe to deliver at 36 weeks?, the happy answer is, generally, yes.

Your baby might be on the small side and have some struggles initially, but they’ll be OK.

So, what are the signs of labor at 36 weeks?

Regular painful contractions, passing your mucus plug, or your water breaking are all signs you might be meeting your baby soon (although how soon is anyone’s guess)!

At this stage, there’s no wrong time to call the doctor, so don’t be afraid to double-check.

Aside from impending parenthood, what’s going on this week?

Here’s the lowdown on you and your baby at 36 weeks pregnant.

In this article: 📝

  • Week 36 at a glance
  • Baby development at 36 weeks
  • Pregnancy symptoms at 36 weeks
  • Pregnancy tips at 36 weeks

Baby development at 36 weeks

What is the normal size of a baby at 36 weeks?

Your baby at 36 weeks pregnant is about the size of a papaya.

They’re an impressive 18-19 inches long, and tipping the scales at around 6 pounds.

The fact they haven’t got much more growing to do in utero really brings home just how close you are to meeting your little one.

Your fetus at 36 weeks is pretty cramped, with not much room for big kicks and punches, but they’ll still be happily squirming away.

If you could see your baby at this point, they’d have pink-tinged skin.

Their thick coating of waxy vernix and downy hair, lanugo, will begin shedding around now, since they won’t need it to keep warm in the outside world.

They’ll drink in some of this vernix and lanugo through their amniotic fluid (not quite our beverage of choice, but to each their own…), which will form their first meconium poops.

36 weeks fetal development is a pretty special thing, with their circulatory system and immune system completely ready to go, along with their kidney and liver function.

Their brain and lungs are still maturing, though, so the last 4 weeks still have a lot going on.

Pregnancy symptoms at 36 weeks

If you’re hoping every twinge of round ligament pain or Braxton Hicks contractions is the real thing, we understand!

You might be in prodromal labor, and being 36 weeks pregnant can be pretty hard going.

Your 36 weeks pregnant belly might be looking and feeling a bit different now though, as your baby might be dropping.

Also known as “lightening,” this is when your baby drops down into your pelvis in a head-first position, ready for their grand entrance.

Say “yay” to being able to fill your lungs more deeply (and possibly being able to handle slightly bigger portions for dinner).

Unfortunately, some other 36 weeks pregnant symptoms are not so welcome.

Pelvic pain

1 in 5 women experiences pelvic pain (especially in the third trimester).

Studies have found that acupuncture, appropriate exercise, and wearing belly support bands can help relieve you.


Pregnancy waddle

Yup, you’re walking like you’ve got a bowling ball between your legs.

It’s all good, mama.

Not long to go.

Just rest when you can.


You’re uncomfortable, your nose is stuffy, you’re hot, and having weird dreams.

Catching a good night’s sleep might be rare these days, so nap when you can and try a wind-down routine before bed, like reading a book, meditating, or doing some gentle stretching.

Pregnancy tips at 36 weeks

Here are some things you might want to consider at 36 weeks:

  • Double-check your birth plan ‒ it’s totally fine to change it if you want to ‒ including who will be with you, what you’ll need, and how to get to the hospital (or wherever you’re delivering).
  • Check in with your doctor regularly ‒ they might want to see you every week at this point.
  • Wash any baby clothes you’ve already bought, so they’re ready for baby’s soft, sensitive skin.
  • Keep reading about newborn care – although you’re probably a baby expert by now!
  • Pack your hospital bag with everything you need for you and your babe’s stay.
  • Practice your breathing techniques and other relaxation methods to help you manage labor.
  • Install your car seat and make sure you know how to use it properly.
  • Stock up on postpartum care supplies – you’ll need ’em!
  • Start putting together a meal plan for the first few weeks post-birth, so you don’t have to worry about cooking when you’re exhausted. Preparing frozen meals is a great idea!
  • Keep track of baby’s movements and let your doctor know if you notice anything out of the ordinary.
  • Get lots of rest and take care of yourself – you’re growing a human, after all!
  • And most importantly, trust your instincts and remember that you’re doing an amazing job!

You’re in the final stretch, mama!

Keep preparing for your little one’s arrival by staying on top of your appointments, finalizing your birth plan, and prepping for postpartum recovery.

You’ve got this!


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