Pregnancy

36 Weeks Pregnant: What to Expect During Pregnancy

Team Peanut7 months ago4 min read

Wait, how many months is 36 weeks pregnant?! Are you 9 months pregnant at 36 weeks? Yep, you are.

Woman at 36 weeks pregnant

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.

What to expect at 36 weeks pregnant

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.

36 week old fetus

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.

36 weeks pregnant symptoms

If you’re hoping every twinge of round ligament pain or Braxton hicks contraction 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.

Insomnia

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.

That’s the scoop on 36 weeks! Not long to go, mama.

🤰 Read next:
37 Weeks Pregnant: What to Expect
Your Pregnancy Week By Week Guide