By Raising Children Network
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In our pregnancy week by week guide, you can find out what to expect when you’re 36 weeks pregnant.

You at 36 weeks pregnant

You could be excited, really tired, and even a bit impatient for baby to arrive.

If your baby’s head has ‘engaged’ (entered the pelvic cavity), you might be feeling more pressure lower down in your pelvis. You might even feel baby’s head putting pressure on your cervix, which can be quite uncomfortable. You’ll probably need to go to the toilet even more often.

The good news is that as your baby moves downwards, it does tend to get a bit easier for you to breathe.

pregnancy illustration, week 36

Work arrangements
This can be a good time to stop working if you can. Having some time for yourself before your baby is born can help you feel more rested and prepared. If you can, make the time to rest and do special things you really enjoy.

If you can’t stop work just yet, consider cutting down your hours if possible, or doing lighter duties. Talk with your employer about what’s possible, and discuss any concerns with your midwife or doctor.

Group B streptococcal test (GBS)
Group B streptococci (GBS) are bacteria that often live in the vagina and anus. They don’t usually hurt you. But if the bacteria pass to your baby during birth, it could cause an infection that might make your baby very sick.

At about 36-38 weeks, your doctor or midwife might ask you to take a swab from your bottom and vagina to see whether you have GBS. If you do, you’ll be offered intravenous antibiotics during labour to lower the risk of infection to your baby. If you don’t have the swab but you have certain risk factors for GBS, you’ll also be offered antibiotics during labour.

Premature labour
If you’re worried that you might be in labour but you’re not yet due to have your baby, call your midwife, doctor or hospital as soon as possible.

You’ll probably have weekly visits with your midwife or doctor from now on. Even if you’re planning a vaginal birth, it’s worth finding out about caesareans. This way, you’ll know what to expect if you end up needing to have one in an emergency. You can read more about vaginal birth and caesarean birth.

Thinking about being a parent
‘What does being a parent mean to me?’ ‘How can I be a good parent?’ Thinking about these questions can help set you up for a rewarding and realistic experience.

Becoming a parent can give you a huge sense of meaning and purpose. You might already be looking forward to things that you’ll do with your child, or thinking about special routines, activities or times with your parents that you want to keep going with your own child.

Your baby

This is what your baby is doing:

  • Your baby is about 34 cm from head to bottom, and weighs about 2.5 kg.
  • Your baby’s head is more in proportion to its body.
  • Most babies’ heads ‘engage’ at this stage. Some don’t for a few more weeks, and some don’t until labour starts.
 
 
 
  • Last updated or reviewed 14-12-2017