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Around week 37 (start of term or full term), the cervix will dilate (opens for about 10 centimeters) and efface (thins out and softens like that of the cheeks); its station also moves to the front of the vagina – the lower the baby, the closer the delivery day.
The mother in week 37
From week 37 onwards, many expectant mothers do not gain any weight at all during the last month of gestation. Aside from that, a mother – to – be will experience the following symptoms below:
Week 37 symptoms
Cervical dilation and effacement
By week 37, the cervix dilates (provides an opening from the uterus to the birth passage) and effaces (softens and thins out before the mother will push the baby) – a definite indication that labor can start any time of the day now.
For some cases, the aforementioned processes take place gradually, over a period of weeks or even months; while other women’s cervix can dilate and efface overnight.Pregnancy week by week
Pregnant women cannot feel cervical dilation and effacement. Fortunately, these following processes can be detected via an internal exam.
Expect to witness some bloody show around week 37. The term bloody show refers to the cervical mucus plug, a string of pink or brown phlegm – like discharge. This happens when the blood vessels are rupturing as the cervix dilates and effaces.
If an expectant mom experienced the bloody show, she will probably go into labor within the next several days or even just hours.
Visible varicose veins
Varicose veins are swollen blood vessels that can show up almost anywhere in the lower part of the body (particularly in the legs, even in the rectum and vulva)
Varicose veins appear as purplish lumps on the skin’s surface due to the excess production of blood during gestation.
Add to that is the enlarging uterus which puts some pressure on the pelvic blood vessels and the vessel – relaxing effects of progesterone.
Leg cramps are painful spasms which radiates through the calves and up the legs. As of now, the cause of the symptom is still unknown but various theories suggest the following factors:
- Added weight
- Compressed leg blood vessels
- Excess phosphorus in the body
- Lack of calcium
- Lack of magnesium
- Pregnancy hormones
The nipples probably protrude than usual by week 37. This happens so that the newborn will have a better latch when nursing.
3rd trimester insomnia
3rd trimester insomnia (also known as sleep deprivation) is a result of the combination of gestation symptoms which interrupts her from a good night sleep, such as:
- Frequent urination
- Acid refluxes
- Leg cramps
- Pre – birth anxiety
Acid refluxes (also called pregnancy – induced heartburn) happen when the esophageal valve failed to block the gastric acids from seeping back up the throat. This occurs during pregnancy due to muscle – relaxing effects of progesterone.
In addition to that is the enlarging uterus which pushes the stomach upward towards the throat which in turn, causes a burning sensation.
Hip and pelvic pain
About 80% of pregnant women experience hip and pelvic pain around the final trimester. The hips ache since the baby has dropped in the said region, his head, growing arms and limbs pressures the pelvic bones.
Unfortunately, stretch marks might appear every week from here on out. Stretch marks are the aftermath of broken collagen fibers underneath the epidermis (skin’s surface). These are gained when the skin is being pulled to its extreme.
Pregnancy – induced brain fog
Pregnancy – induced brain fog (widely known as forgetfulness) happens because the mother’s brain cell count actually decreases in contribution for the fetus’ intellectual development.
As the delivery day gets closer, an expectant mom will have some nesting instincts. Nesting instinct is the urgent need to clean the house in preparation of the baby’s arrival.
Did you know that about 5% of babies arrive on their due date? So if an expectant mom feels stressed that there are only 3 remaining weeks left, the predicted arrival of the doctor is highly unlikely.
Fetal development in week 37
From 37 weeks onwards, the fetus gains for about ½ ounce per day or ½ pound per week. As a matter of fact, he is considered as an “early term” until the end of week 38. Aside from that, here are the following fetal developments which take place this week:
- The average fetus (who looks very much like a newborn baby) stretches for about 18.9 – 20.9 inches from crown – to – feet measurement and tips the scales roughly at 6.2 – 9.2 pounds. In fact, did you know that baby boys are likely to be heavier at birth than baby girls? This is because mothers who carry boys tend to eat more than those who carry girls. By the same token, added weight increases his survival rate if he is born now.
- Baby boys do not move as much inside the womb as they get easily cramped up due to their size. Baby boys are more on stretching, rolling, and wiggling unlike baby girls who kick as much during this week.
- The fetus has dropped in the pelvic cavity (also called as lightening or engagement), surrounded and protected by the pelvic bones. If the baby is in a vertex position (also called headfirst, the proper position for birth), all he can do is to twist or squirm due to feeling cramped up in – utero. This is because this type of position gives him less space for his growing legs and buttocks.
- By week 37, the umbilical cord begins passing anti – bodies (which includes those that are developed for vaccines) to the fetus. By accumulating anti – bodies, the unborn baby will be protected from the germs and viruses that he will encounter after birth.
- The baby – in – waiting’s lungs is probably mature and continues to grow. In line with this, he exercises his breathing simulation by inhaling and exhaling amniotic fluid.
- Most of the vernix caseosa – the waxy and cheesy substance coating his delicate skin) begins to disappear. However in some cases (preferably premature babies) some vernix is left during birth.
- Aside from the vernix, the lanugo – downy covering of hair which covers his skin begins to shed. Though traces of lanugo may still be visible if he is born now. In a like manner, many babies have grown a full hair on their scalp with strands up to 3.5cm long.
- The unborn baby swallows anything he sheds –vernix caseosa, lanugo, dead skin cells, amniotic fluid along with other secretions. These by – products go to the baby’s intestines and builds up the greenish – black waste called meconium (precursor to bowel movement during or after birth).
- Fat causes some little dimples in the elbows and knees; creases and folds in the neck and wrists.
- Baby has developed sleep intervals.
- His fingers have become more coordinated. In fact, he has developed dexterity in it. By the same token, he can now grasp onto smaller objects such as his toe, nose, and even his face.
- The unborn baby is sucks on his thumb most of the time this week in preparation for his breastfeeding sessions.
- Auditory senses (sense of hearing) are getting sharper. He can now recognize his parents’ voices and identify noises.
- Sense of sight is improving each day.
Pregnancy tips and to do’s
Week 37 marks as the 9th week of the 3rd (and final) trimester of gestation, 3 remaining weeks to go of doing the following tips and to do’s below to ensure that the baby will be born healthy and safety:
Things to do during the 37th week of pregnancy
While waiting for the baby’s big debut, gently massage the perineum – the area of skin between the vagina and anus.
Perineal massage gently stretches the perineum which in turn, increases the chances of having an easier and loose child labor. This also lowers the risk of perineotomy (surgical incision of the perineum and the posterior vaginal wall during the 2nd stage of labor) and tearing.
Below are the following steps on how to perform the perineal massage:
- Ensure that the hands are clean and the nails are trimmed
- Lubricate the thumb with a water – soluble personal lubricant
- Insert thumb gently in the vaginal opening
- Press down towards the anus
- Slide thumb across the bottom and sides of the perineum
- With thumbs hooked inside, gently pull upward and forward on the lower part of the vagina
Sleep and/or lie on the left side of the body
Make it a habit to sleep and/or lie on the left side of the body is the best position for optimum circulation.
Munch on some almonds
Did you know that almonds are rich in calcium and serves as a stomach – settler? To prevent leg cramps and acid refluxes, munch on some almonds.
Wear a crisscross support sling
Wear a crisscross support sling to support. This maternity must – have supports the weight of pregnancy and takes the pressure off the back and pelvis.
Slather on some lotion
To soften the appearance of stretch marks, slather on some lotion on the affected areas (preferably on the belly, butt, and even breasts). Opt for purchasing the following lotions:
- Cocoa butter cream
- Pink calamine lotion
- Lotion with Vitamin E
What to avoid in week 37
Vices are harmful activities which may cause birth defects to the unborn baby. Here are the following vices that an expectant mom must consider avoiding for her baby’s well – being:
- Smoking cigarettes or e – cigarettes
- Chewing tobacco
- Drinking beverages with alcohol
- Engaging in recreational drugs
- Taking sleeping pills
- Taking herbal pills
Substances with caffeine content
Did you know that caffeine is a form of drug? Diuretic causes a more frequent urination and interrupt the sleeping cycle of both parties. Aside from coffee, below are the following substances with caffeine content:
- Soft drinks
- Energy drinks
- Some teas
- Caffeinated snacks and candies
Heartburn – trigger foods
To lower the chances of heartburns, here are the following foods she must steer clear away from her plate:
- Highly – seasoned food
- Spicy food
- Greasy or fatty foods
- Citrus – y fruits
- Peppermint (for some women)