From pregnancy week 37 onwards, you will visit your OB every week. The mucus plug which protected your cervix may now get released in preparation for labor. Cervix begins to dilate and it will continue to in the next few weeks. From now you must keep a check on whether you are getting Braxton contractions or going into labor though you are less likely to go into labor now.
Last Updated: 22 October 2020
What’s happening to your baby?
Your baby at 37 weeks is as big as a honeydew melon. Though on an ultrasound he might look as good as a newborn, some of his systems are still continuing to grow and mature. His hand dexterity at grabbing using fingers is building up. Be ready to witness those cute little fingers clinging on to your top very soon.
Your baby is taking loads of practice at sucking his thumb. This is going to help him to latch on your breasts for his first feed soon. Swallowing is another activity he is gaining mastery over. Whoa! So when he is out, he is already an expert at these two functions!
The antibodies he would require to battle any germs he might acquire during birth are now passed from your blood through the placenta. His immune system is developing as well, though it can take a few years after his birth to build a strong immune system. Soon after birth, your breast milk will take the role of supplying antibodies.
What’s happening to your body? Do your nipples look different?
Like how your belly button turned inside out at one point during pregnancy, this week, your nipples might appear popped out. Chill, it is a sign that your breasts are getting prepared for lactation.
Did you have a bloody show?
Around this time, the mucous plug which has been keeping the cervix closed all these while might be released. When it happens, you will be able to spot mild blood discharge from your vagina or on your panties. It is one of the early signs of labor, though it might happen anytime from a few weeks to a few hours before the onset of labor.
Are Braxton Hicks getting stronger?
The clock is ticking and you are getting closer to true labor – though not there yet! For now, Braxton Hicks continue to get stronger and frequent. Braxton Hicks, apart from increasing your anxiety, helps in the thinning of your cervix (a process called effacement) in preparation of labor.
Tips and advice for Pregnancy Week 37 Is your baby at 37 weeks considered full-term?
The quick answer is ‘No’.
For years, 37 weeks of gestation was considered full-term. However, in 2013, The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists gave new gestational age designations, as pointed below:
· Early term: 37 weeks through 38 weeks, 6 days
· Full term: 39 weeks through 40 weeks, 6 days
· Late term: 41 weeks through 41 weeks, 6 days
· Post-term: 42 weeks and beyond
What are the signs of labor?
You’ve attended prenatal classes. You’ve heard enough of what to expect during the onset of labor. Yet, you might reach the hospital in panic when you are actually only experiencing Braxton Hicks; and you are politely asked to get back home. Here’s a quick brush-up of the signs of labor to look for:
ü Mucus plug releases
The mucus plug that has been protecting your cervix may begin to come out all at once or little by little; you’ll see a glob of thick mucus if it’s the first case or tinges of vaginal discharge in your underwear, for latter, over a period of weeks, days or hours. While this is a sure sign of labor, you cannot predict how far you are to labor.
Diarrhea could be a lesser-known sign of labor. Though it is not one of the sure signs, several pregnant moms-to-be report to have had diarrhea a few hours or days before labor began. Perhaps, it is nature’s way to clean up the bowels before labor.
ü Frequent, stronger contractions
Intense contractions which occur every thirty minutes call for a close watch for true labor. With stronger contractions, you are getting dilated and when they get apart by only five minutes or closer, you are into active labor. And a sure signal to call your OB immediately!
ü Water breaks
Water leaking either as a sudden gush or a slow release in trickles, breaking of the amniotic sac needs to be immediately followed by labor. If your water breaks before going into labor, you may have to reach the hospital immediately in order to prevent infection. Your OB will do an examination to check the dilation and effacement of your cervix, depending on which, you may be asked to wait for labor to set, induction or call for an emergency.