Thursday, August 21, 2008
We are approaching the end here with only three weeks left...I am sure it will fly by. We are pretty much ready...only a few things left to do..put the car seat in, etc. At our appt today, we discussed the upcoming C-Section...that felt weird talking about the big day but it is still all so surreal. I guess after this week, I will post a picture each week.
How Big is the Baby at 36 Weeks Pregnant?
By 36 weeks pregnant your baby is now right about 6 pounds and is about 20.6 inches or more long! Your little one will soon enter the ranks of heavyweight champs as you continue pregnancy week by week and he approaches delivery!
Your Baby's Growth and Development
Your baby is still working on putting on weight during pregnancy week 36. While that may not seem very exciting, keep in mind this is his primary job from now until delivery. Round babies are healthy babies. This is probably the one time in your baby's life they can put on pounds with wild abandon. If you were to peak inside your womb, you'd probably see your baby giddy with glee.
Did you know that some researchers believe your baby actually releases a signal to trigger labor? There are actually several different theories. Some believe that when your baby's brain is completely mature it sends a signal to the fetal adrenal glands. These glands then start to secrete the hormone cortisol, which may alter the metabolism of estrogen and progesterone, resulting in labor.
Other researchers have postulated that the fetal lungs secrete signals indicating they are mature, as well as enzymes that result in the release of prostaglandins, which help the cervix ripen and help the uterus to contract. This is highly likely as the body does release prostaglandins around the time of birth.
Your Growth and Development
You are round and beautiful during pregnancy 36 weeks. Your uterus during pregnancy at 36 weeks is now more than 5 and a half inches from your navel. You may think you simply can't get any bigger by pregnancy at 36 weeks, but don't forget you still have four weeks of growing left! Some women may even have a little bit more!
The capacity of the uterus and abdomen to stretch during pregnancy is truly a remarkable phenomena. At no other time will the body transform at such a rapid rate than during pregnancy. Amazingly, while it takes nine months for the uterus to stretch to several times its normal size during pregnancy, by your six week checkup it will be back to its normal pre-pregnancy size already.
Changes in You
You are probably getting more and more anxious for delivery by 36 weeks pregnant. You probably still have a good 4 to 5 weeks to go however even at 36 weeks pregnant, particularly if this is your first pregnancy. Full term is defined as gestation between 37 and 41 weeks. That means your baby could come any time between then and that would be perfectly normal.
While some women hope and pray that their baby will come early by pregnancy week 36, the vast majority actually come a little later than we expect. Relatively few women actually deliver on their exact due date, though many do in the days just before or just after.
The level of amniotic fluid in your belly is relatively constant. Your baby will actually swallow a certain volume of amniotic fluid each day during pregnancy. Typically your baby will go on to excrete this fluid as urine. There is a balance between your baby swallowing the amniotic fluid and the baby excreting the fluid as urine that is maintained each and every day.
If this balance is not maintained the amount of fluid in your womb will increase or decrease significantly, causing a condition called polyhydramnios or oligohydramnios respectfully. These conditions are relatively rare though it may affect up to 8 percent of pregnancies. Abnormal amniotic fluid volume is more common in the third trimester than in the second though it can occur at any time. Your healthcare provider will be able to measure your baby's amniotic levels via ultrasound during your pregnancy if he suspects abnormal amniotic fluid volume. If you are feeling a bit clumsy lately, you aren't alone. When was the last time you saw your toes? One of the best things you can do for yourself in the last few weeks of pregnancy is go for a light swim. Swimming is wonderful during the last half of pregnancy, if for no other reason that it renders you practically weightless, which can relieve a lot of the pain and stiffness you might experience in the last half of pregnancy.
Remember however to stay away from the hot tub until after delivery. You can however enjoy a warm bath as well during the last half of pregnancy. Many women actually climb into the tub during the early phase of labor to help relieve some of their discomfort.
Whether this is your first pregnancy or last, take a few moments to savor the feeling of your baby moving about your belly. There simply is nothing quite like it, and in the grand scheme of things pregnancy is just nine short months of the long journey of life. Your newborn baby will eventually grow into a teenager and then an adult. Before you know it you will look back on these days of bloating, weight gain and fatigue with awe and longing!