37 Weeks Pregnant: Symptoms and What to Expect
Your Growing Fetus at 37 Weeks
This week, at 19.1” your sweet baby is the size of a diaper bag. Aloha!! If you haven’t seen one of those in a while, that would be longer than your forearm, fingertips to elbow but this kid is far heftier, probably around 6.8 pounds by now. Baby is nearing birth weight!
- Baby’s organs are all complete at this point and ready to go, but his brain and lungs will continue to develop even after birth.
- Baby may have about an inch or so of hair already, and her vocal cords are ready to cry, coo and scream an opera to make her needs known.
If you have a 37-week ultrasound, you’ll get another peek at the little one, and you may notice that baby’s head is the same circumference as his abdomen. This measurement disparity is why babies appear to have over-sized noggins.
- You may have tests to check baby’s movement and breathing, heart rate, and muscle tone.
- Amniotic fluid is also measured again at this point.
- These results can change your due date as some things develop more quickly or slowly than expected.
It can be annoying, but there’s no need to worry. Anxiety is par for the course at this point. Don’t let changing dates rattle you. Practice your breathing, put your feet up and think happy thoughts. Better yet, call a friend who always cheers you up. You owe it to baby to make this an experience you’ll remember for good reasons so give yourself plenty of good times and sweet things to remember.
Pregnancy Superfood for Week Thirty-Seven
Pomegranate’s deep red-colored skin tells you it’s an antioxidant wonder. It’s a comical fruit, filled with juicy seed pods you can turn into a tasty drink. Just 2 oz of pomegranate juice may reduce cholesterol and blood pressure. High in antioxidants, this juice can also clean up your arteries, and there is evidence that it can improve the condition of the placenta!
Pomegranate seeds also go well as an addition to salads, or cold dishes and the juice goes well with other fruits drinks, but it’s also great on its own.
Here’s an easy and delicious low sugar dessert you can make in no time.
Jeleh-ye Anar (Pomegranate Gelee):
- 6 c pomegranate juice
- 3 envelopes unflavored gelatin
- Pomegranate seeds and pistachios (crunched) for garnishing
- Dissolve gelatin into 1 c of pomegranate juice. Set aside.
- Over medium heat, boil 2 c of the pomegranate juice. Reduce heat slightly, whisk in
- gelatin mixture and simmer 1 minute, dissolving completely. Add 3 c pomegranate juice and cool just a little then pour into 8 serving cups and put in the refrigerator at least 4 hours.
- Add garnish before serving (can keep up to 3 days).
Top Tip for Week Thirty-Seven
Even if your due date is a week or more away, you should know the signs that tell you that you are about to into labor.
Any or all of these might apply:
- Diarrhea. Labor hormones can bring this on.
- Be alert but not worried.
- Nausea: Starts with queasiness and gets a little worse. Start adding up your symptoms. It could be labor but maybe not.
- Contractions. By now you’ve probably been having contractions every day. Some you may not even notice. The tightening of your belly that you’ve been getting is nothing to worry about until it happens on a predictable schedule somewhat relentlessly. If it isn’t stopping, you’re in labor. If your contractions are painful or less than five minutes apart are advanced enough to warrant some phone calls to your birth team. Hospital or home, it’s time to begin.
- Mucus plug. When the cervix begins to dilate to prepare for birth, there is a very thick discharge called the mucus plug. It’s like a jellyfish with some blood in it. You’re heading for labor.
- Back pain. Having back discomfort is part of pregnancy, but if it is suddenly much worse or much more painful, it may be “back labor.” Let your doctor or midwife know when you started to notice the increase.
- Water breaking. When the amniotic sac ruptures, it can gush or leak out slowly. Water trickling down your leg may be a signal that labor is about to begin, so watch for the other signs.
At this stage, any complication could require medically induced labor.
Bleeding is a very good reason. Others include placental complications or damage, uterine infections, preeclampsia and gestational diabetes.
Don’t panic, at 37 weeks your body and pregnancy are ready to go so this would not be a problem. Your doctor or midwife know what to do, but they’re counting on you to let them know if you’re having symptoms.
Even so, it is never a good idea to try to hurry the process along at 37 weeks there are no good “at home” methods to induce labor at this point. Besides, full term is always best. Baby can still make good use of continued contact with mom for a while. If you reach week 42, you can talk to a professional about tried and true ways to begin labor.
Inspirational Message of the Week
“Pregnancy is getting company inside one’s skin.”
– Maggie Scarf
Big Efforts from your Co-Creator
If you haven’t yet discussed the possibility of banking your baby’s cord blood, now is the time to do some research on the matter. You can freeze the placenta and blood in the umbilical cord for possible medical use. It’s a good source of stem cells which are becoming more and more useful in medical treatments.
There’s a lot of new information about using stem cells to heal tissues, repair organs and treat diseases which may be very important to your child, even as an adult. You can store the cord blood in a private facility, or you can donate to a public cord blood bank.
It’s important to work this out now since you need to make arrangements with a legitimate facility. If you want to keep it for your family only, you’ll need to research the private cord blood banks and choose the right one for you.
Otherwise, set up a donation that anyone can use through your doctor or hospital. It’s easy and painless to collect, hardly any different than having it all swept up and sent to medical waste.
If you decide to donate, the public facility will need your health history in advance, so you need to get started now and set it up with your birthing professionals.
This Art of Allowing
If you have strange sensations like electrical currents flying up your vagina or down your legs, it doesn’t mean your baby is a superhero with lasers at her fingertips! It indicates that this baby is dancing on all kinds of nerve bundles and triggering some crazy sensations.
Let’s consider them sparks of life, filled with the energy you will need to push this baby out into the world. Pick a personal anthem to play and use your imagination to give those jolts a mental picture of colorful fireworks to go with them.
Allow this gift from baby to spark laughter and joy. Allow yourself to be energized by this magical creature who will arrive in this world very soon.
Pregnancy Symptoms of Week Thirty-Seven
This week you are likely to have a pelvic exam. The pelvic exam is to check your cervix for dilation and effacement to see if your pregnancy is progressing into labor. Cervical dilation means how far the cervix has opened. The cervix begins in a completely closed 0 cm state.
As the uterus contracts during the early stages, it will pull the cervix open until it fully dilates at 10cm. This is about the size of a bagel. Effacement refers to the thinning of the tissue at the end of the cervix.
When labor begins, the cervix is 0% effaced. Fully effaced means paper thin at 100%. If the baby is head down and in the pelvic chamber and cervical dilation is at 0% with no effacement, you could still go into labor and deliver your baby within hours.
Or you could be fully effaced and dilated and still be in labor for days. Or more. Predicting things at this stage of pregnancy is impossible.
Braxton Hicks contractions: You are probably experiencing these every day, and if switching positions makes them stop then you still have Braxton Hicks. If, however, you have painful contractions or they’re becoming more predictable and lengthier, then they could be labor pains.
Trouble sleeping: Insomnia is not at all unusual. It might just be a case of anxiety or the physical discomfort. As long as it’s not a list of things to do that you keep going over in your head that’s keeping you awake! Don’t do that to yourself. Let it go, get some sleep!
Increased vaginal discharge: This week, you may lose the mucus plug as the cervix dilates. Losing the mucus plug is normal as your body gets ready for labor.
Itchy belly: If you have a rash, tell your doctor right away, but if there is no discoloration or bumps, then it’s merely the fact that your belly skin has stretched about as far it can, and that makes the nerves endings protest. The itch may respond to deep moisturizing with shea butter or a type of oil you enjoy. Drink lots of water and don’t scratch as that will only irritate the sensitive nerves further. If your hands or feet are itching, talk to your doctor because that could signal a problem.
Swollen feet and ankles: You are probably familiar with this by now. Keep walking, moving and hydrating to reduce swelling. As long as there’s no sudden increase, it’s normal.
Anxiety: If you feel trapped in a balloon suit that you’ll never escape, it’s a good idea to distract yourself with things to see and do. An indoor mall is a great place to amble, watch people, drop in to see a movie or grab a juice. You know where the bathrooms are. You can meet friends for lunch, wander the stores and fantasize about what you’ll be wearing when you start dropping that baby weight! And the shoes….!! Schedule dinner with your partner. An uninterrupted evening that’s all about the two of you will be a cherished memory soon.
Our Recommended Remedy for Week 37
- That itchy belly problem is not easy to beat, but a great moisturizer can help. The trick is to get it to soak in which is sometimes easier when there is moisture present, and the pores are open.
- After a bath is a perfect time to apply shea butter or coconut oil or whichever product has worked best in the past.
- Try rubbing in the moisturizer then relaxing with a damp, warm cotton cloth on your belly.
- Adding a little scent that you find enjoyable can make it even more comforting.
Our Best Advice to Soothe The Uncomfortable
You’re as big as a hippo! That’s okay; they’re adorable. But, we know, it’s uncomfortable. Swollen everything adds to the discomfort so it’s important to keep moving when you can. For now, don’t stand or sit for too long Try to stretch whenever you sit.
Lying on your left side with your feet up is your best resting posture. Do as much walking as you comfortably can and wear pregnancy support stockings to help the veins in your legs do their best job.
These socks will also limit the possibility of varicose veins. Continue to drink lots of water because, though it’s hard to believe, hydration helps fight fluid retention by continuing to flush the toxins out.
Preparation for Motherhood
If you are planning to breastfeed this is a great time to look into information about lactation consultants. Most hospitals provide this service and midwives are often helpful in this area, but it’s vital that you know that this isn’t always easy for every mom. We all come equipped for the job and babies often instinctually know what to do, but it sometimes doesn’t work right away. Before you get to delivery day, it can be a big help to know who to call and what they can do for you if you need help. The exhaustion, the excitement, the expectations don’t always play in your favor so it could also be useful to give your partner the information in case you aren’t thinking straight.
You might not feel like cooking right now, but friends are always asking what they can do to help so, here’s a thought. Ask them to whip up some of the foods you love that you can freeze. That way those first few weeks will be easier to manage, and you won’t starve.
Make sure you have all the child-proofing gizmos on your list and keep them in one place. You won’t need all the latches secured until your tot is crawling but if you make a good start on it now it will be easier to adjust to these things, and you’ll stay ahead of potential disasters.
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