36 Weeks Pregnant: Symptoms & Baby Development - Babylist
36 Weeks Pregnant
November 10, 2022

36 Weeks Pregnant

Babylist editors love baby gear and independently curate their favorite products to share with you. If you buy something through links on our site, Babylist may earn a commission.
Pinterest logo.
36 Weeks Pregnant.
36 Weeks Pregnant

If you’re waddling, having trouble sleeping and feeling like you’re all belly, that’s because you’ve made it to week 36 of pregnancy. Congratulations! You’re truly in the home stretch now, and baby is getting ready for the real world, moving into position and possibly “dropping” soon. Read on to find out what else is happening at 36 weeks pregnant.

How Many Months Is 36 Weeks Pregnant?

36 weeks pregnant in months is nine months pregnant, which is part of the third trimester of pregnancy

Your Baby at 36 Weeks

Around 36 weeks, baby is preparing to make their grand entrance. They may be starting to move into or be fully in the “head-down” position, and you may experience them dropping, which basically means they move down into your pelvic region to get ready for birth. Here’s what else is going on with your baby at 36 weeks.

  • Blood flow: Your baby is getting so ready for the world! By now their blood circulation is fully up and running.
  • Digestion: One system in baby’s development needs more help though: digestion. Since your baby hasn’t had any milk yet and won’t drink it until after they’re born, it will take a little while for their stomach to get completely up to speed. Cue the spit up.
  • Shedding: The downy hair on the baby’s body is coming off, and so is the vernix caseosa (remember the cheesy varnish that was protecting the skin?).
  • Head down: By this point your baby should be in the cephalic or head-down position. If they aren’t, there’s still time; talk to your healthcare provider about ways you can try to flip your baby in the next few weeks. Some parents have good luck with acupuncture.

How Big Is Baby at 36 Weeks?

Your baby is 18.7 inches long and weighs 5.8 pounds this week. That’s about the size of a bag of Bugles.

💛 Congratulations 💛

You only have four weeks left!

36 Weeks Pregnant Ultrasound

Pregnancy-Ultrasound-week-36

Your Body at 36 Weeks Pregnant

How’s that baby bump treating you? At this point, you may feel like you’re a walking belly. Your total weight gain probably is close to what you were aiming for (25 to 35 pounds is the average), and you may be tired from hauling that extra weight around on the daily. You’ll probably only gain about a half-pound each week from here on out.

36 Weeks Pregnant Symptoms

As your baby drops and gets ready to make their debut, your body is preparing too. The latter part of the third trimester brings with it a whole new world of symptoms, which are as follows.

Pelvic aches and pains

If your baby has dropped, you may start feeling pain in your pelvis—the technical term for this is “pelvic girdle pain.” As ligaments loosen and your baby puts more pressure on the pelvis, many pregnant people get really uncomfortable. “I typically recommend my patients experiencing pelvic girdle pain see a pelvic floor physical therapist who can do a detailed exam and help identify which muscles and joints need strengthening or extra support,” says Talia Borgo, a certified nurse midwife and the clinical director and co-founder of Millie. If you’re experiencing pain and have access to a pool, try swimming or lounging in it to relieve some of the pressure. You can also try a pregnancy support belt or specific stretches to help feel more comfortable.

Change in stride

Baby’s descent can also create the telltale pregnancy waddle. A wider pelvis means a wider stance, so your gait may change dramatically. At 36 weeks pregnant, it’s time to embrace your inner penguin.

Vaginal discharge

Regular ol’ discharge can increase at 36 weeks but keep an eye out for anything that looks different from usual. Blood or a watery discharge warrant a call to the doc—the water could actually be amniotic fluid. If it’s mucus (which is sometimes blood-tinged), it could be the mucus plug, which most commonly is lost after 37 weeks. Losing the mucus plug is not a big deal, but it is a sign you’ll go into labor soon. “Soon” is also as close as we can get to estimating—it could be hours or weeks!

Trouble sleeping

A good night’s sleep in late pregnancy can be hard to come by. Your belly is big, and you’re uncomfortable. You may be dealing with heartburn, leg cramps or nasal congestion. And you keep getting up to pee. Some parents-to-be say they’re just awake at night. The story goes that these sleepless nights are nature’s way of getting ready to have a newborn—we all know baby sleep happens in short cycles. Not that that helps when you’re up at two a.m. “Something simple that I always recommend to help people sleep towards the end of pregnancy is an Epsom salt bath,” says Carrie Murphy, a full spectrum doula based in Austin, Texas. “It’s relaxing to take a bath, of course, but the magnesium in the Epsom salts is also beneficial for your muscles and your nervous system.”

36 Weeks Pregnant Baby Bumps from Real Moms

36 weeks pregnant first baby nicolecangiano321

36 weeks pregnant belly baby boy @naybrizotti

36 weeks pregnant belly @memywifeandmycat

36 weeks pregnant pictures @nickellabian

36 weeks pregnant bump picture @la in ny

36 weeks 6 days pregnant @cheyennearlenee

36 weeks 5 days pregnant @withkrissyrae

36 weeks 3 days pregnant  @emktsab

36 weeks pregnant pictures jackelynlynamphoto 36weekspregnant2

Home Stretch! Have Everything You Need?

With Babylist, you can easily add any item from any store onto ONE registry. You’ll also get a Hello Baby Box full of free (amazing!) goodies and a 15% registry completion discount on almost everything in the Babylist store.

Pregnancy Symptoms Coming up in Week 37

While week 37 of pregnancy used to be considered full-term, it’s now thought of as early term since baby still has so much potential growing to do. During week 37 you can expect to see your doctor again (remember, you’re on a weekly visit schedule now) and might be feeling more tired than the week before and experiencing a serious urge to nest.

Commonly Asked Questions About 36 Weeks Pregnant

What happens when your baby ‘drops’?

Around now, the baby drops from around your rib cage to closer to your pelvis, as prep for making their entrance into the world. This exciting change is called dropping, engaging or “lightening.” This can happen anywhere from around 36 weeks to 38 weeks—or even later.

While lightening one of the signs that labor is approaching, it doesn’t necessarily mean it’s imminent. “Dropping may occur a few weeks before labor, or just a few hours prior,” says Dr. Rodney Wise, a fellow of the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) and Market Chief Medical Officer at AmeriHealth Caritas. If it’s not your first baby, you’re more likely to notice your baby drop right before you go into active labor rather than weeks or even days before. Sometimes, it will be obvious that your baby has dropped, even so dramatic a difference that people may comment. But in some pregnancies, you may barely notice. A few ways you can tell:

  • You may breathe easier. Since baby is now sitting lower in your uterus, there will probably be less pressure on your diaphragm.
  • You may have to pee more often. Less pressure on your diaphragm means more pressure on your bladder.
  • Less heartburn. If you’ve experienced this pregnancy symptom, you’ll be happy to know that once your baby drops, heartburn should ease up, since your uterus won’t be pressing on your stomach quite as much.
  • You may waddle. Since your baby is now hanging out in your pelvic area, you may notice you walk a little differently (hi, penguin walk!), as your hips spread a bit to accommodate baby. You may experience twinges of pelvic pain and more pressure in the region.

How will pregnancy hormones change after giving birth?

For the past eight months, almost every ache, pain and symptom you’ve had could be chalked up to pregnancy hormones. So now that you’re heading into the home stretch, what’s next?

After you give birth, some pregnancy symptoms could go away almost immediately—things like swelling and pregnancy-induced carpal tunnel. But the reality is that your hormones will change yet again when your baby arrives, and they’ll be pretty haywire for six to eight weeks after delivery—even longer if you breastfeed.

Progesterone will drop immediately, and estrogen will spike, causing lots of fun new symptoms like fatigue, hair loss, anxiety, the baby blues and, in some people, postpartum depression. Prolactin, the hormone responsible for breast milk production, can slow metabolism and cause moodiness and fatigue too.

We’re not trying to scare you! All of this is important to know so that A) You don’t freak out when clumps of hair come off in the shower. It will grow back. B) You understand that it’s okay and even necessary to ask for help. And C) Because anyone could be affected by postpartum depression—it’s a lot more common than a lot of people realize. “Baby blues—intense emotions that start usually a few days after baby is born—are very normal with approximately 60% of new parents reporting that they experienced them.” says Skylar Ibarra, LCSW, PMH-C, a therapist specializing in perinatal mental health. “If these feelings last for more than two weeks (yes just two), you notice you’re beginning to feel differently towards yourself (more critical, a sudden drop in self esteem), or you feel like a motor can’t shut off, contact your doctor or reach out to a licensed mental health professional with perinatal expertise.” There’s no shame in it, and know that you’re not alone.

Recommended Products for 36 Weeks Pregnant

The weeks are ticking by, and you might be feeling more pregnant than ever. Even as you prepare to meet your baby, don’t forget to be kind to yourself. Remember: you’ve got this.

  • Staying hydrated now and after your baby is born can help you avoid constipation and keep you feeling good. Grab an insulated tumbler to make sure you’ve always got ice cold water within arms reach.
  • As you prep for the big day, spend a few hours talking with your partner about how they can support you when you’re in labor. The Birth Deck offers simple suggestions you can choose in advance so your partner can move towards labor feeling confident they know how to help you cope.

36 Weeks Pregnant Checklist

  • Mark your calendar! Starting at 36 weeks pregnant, your doctor will want to see you every week.
  • Add the finishing touches to your nursery.
  • Finish packing your hospital bag, if you haven’t already. Here are some ideas on what to bring along—and what you can leave home.
  • Plan a last pre-baby date with your BFF or closest friend group.
This information is provided for educational and entertainment purposes only. We do not accept any responsibility for any liability, loss or risk, personal or otherwise, incurred as a consequence, directly or indirectly, from any information or advice contained here. Babylist may earn compensation from affiliate links in this content. Learn more about how we write Babylist content and the Babylist Health Advisory Board.