WEEKS 33 – 37
are the last few weeks of your pregnancy before
the foetus achieves what is called "maturity"
i.e.: by the end of 37 weeks, the foetus is fully-grown
and all the systems are capable of functioning
normally. the foetus by the end of this period
is ready for delivery to the outside world. Now
is the time when you start your dress rehearsals
for the delivery time.
Apart from the complaints
mentioned in the earlier weeks,
One thing, which is most significant,
is "LIGHTENING" OR "DROPPING DOWN" of the baby.
- In first times, this usually happens by the 36th
week. In others it may happen as late as in labour
- Lightening means that the head of the baby which was in the
abdomen has now drooped in to the pelvis in preparation for labour.
- Due to this the height of the uterus reduces easing some
pressure of the chest ( diaphragm and lungs) making breathing easier and providing welcome
relief to the mother.
- The baby’s head is now fixed and its movement may seem
reduced. Instead of active movement of the whole body, you may just experience the
movements of the legs and perhaps the arms.
- The head which is fixed in the pelvis, may press on the
urinary bladder and this may lead to difficulty in urination or increase frequency of
- You may have noticed an increase in the discharge through
your vagina. This is OK as long as it is colourless and sticky. Watery / blood stained or
discharge of blood has to be reported to your doctor immediately.
/ Your Baby Inside
There is an acceleration
of the "maturity" process of all the organ-systems
in your baby, especially the lungs. At the end
of 37 weeks your baby is completely formed and
mature.At this stage it may be around 45 – 50
cms (18 – 20") in length and anywhere more than
2.5kg in weight.
You will have put
on around 10 – 11 kgs over you pre-pregnant state.
If you have put an little less weight, you need
not worry as long as the foetus / baby has grown
well (according to your doctor). The foetus is
like a parasite and will take all the nutrition
it needs at the expense of the mother.If your
weight gain is more than 2 pounds/week or 3 kg/month
then you need to be careful regarding PIH .
36 weeks, the uterus has reached up to your breastbone
and you may experience difficulty in breathing.
This will reduce after "lightening".The varicosities
in your legs may have increased.Your abdomen is
stretched including your navel and stretch marks
may be more prominent.Your Blood Pressure may
be slightly higher than in the earlier weeks.
Visit to your Doctor
/ Useful Instructions:
- You have been following all the instructions given to you
and now it is only a matter of few more weeks.
- During this period you can make a "BIRTHING PLAN"
and get to know about various aspects of labour and delivery and discuss it with your
doctor like for instance:
- Whom do you want
as your labour partner? In west usually the
spouse is the partner, but in India, the spouse
may not be allowed to be with you till the end.
- Diet and position
- When to report
to your doctor in labour.
- About ambulation
/ walking around in labour.
- Transport facility
for you once you are in labour.
- Wearing contact
lenses during labour. It is better to substitute
it with your old spectacles.
- Whether you will
be allowed to record the event with a still/video
- Various medical
procedures during labour like:
- sharing pubic
- being on IV drip,
- use of pain relief
medication and their effects on you and baby,
- delivery positions,
- episiotomy/ Forceps/
vacuum and Caesarean section.
- foetal investigations
and monitoring in labour
- Whether your partner
can cut the cord ?
- Details regarding
holding and feeding the baby after delivery.
All these things and other doubts that you have should be
discussed and clarified with your doctor beforehand. In the present day norm of
"Nuclear Family" you may not get / afford a 2nd chance.
Your doctor’s judgement and hospital policies may to a
certain extent influence the above decisions.
- Sex during this month is preferably avoided though not
contra-indicated especially in women with
- previous preterm delivery,
- previous cesarean delivery,
- leaking per vaginum,
- bleeding per vaginum
As such sex might be a bit troublesome because of the
- Carry your medical
records with you as much as possible, just in
case there is an emergency.
- Monitor your baby’s
status by keeping a tab on its movement.
Either count total number of movements from
10:00am – 10:00pm and make a daily record. Or
count foetal movements in 1 hour period 3 times
a day (after breakfast lunch and dinner). If
you detect any abnormality report to your doctor.
- Report to your
doctor in case of earlier mentioned alerts (warning