Week Thirty Six: Baby may drop into the birth canal
|You are 36 weeks pregnant.
While it says that your baby weighs six and a half pounds this week and measures 19 inches long, this is only an estimate. In general, babies are gaining half a pound per week now. Baby continues gaining weight as fat deposits and is forming creases in the neck and wrists.
You may feel contractions of the womb, called Braxton Hicks contractions, which can be used to perform and practice breathing exercises. You may be visiting your caregiver weekly up until the birth. Regular internal exams may begin, to see if your cervix has softened, thinned, dilated or if your baby’s head is dropping into the pelvis. Any of these could be signs of impending labor but there are no guarantees and you could be waiting for weeks yet. Your baby is almost ready, a pair of kidneys and the liver has begun processing some waste products, the only organ still to mature is the lungs.
This week your baby may drop into the birth canal, this is called ‘lightening’ or ‘dropping’. If this is not your first baby, this ‘lightening’ may not occur until right before labor. Your care provider may refer to it by saying that your baby is now ‘engaged’. The majority of babies are now in the birth position, either head down (vertex) or butt down (breech), most will maintain this position until birth. Any movements that they make are more likely to be rolls from side to side.You may notice when this happens because it will suddenly become much easier for you to breathe. While breathing becomes easier, walking may be the exact opposite. If your baby has dropped you may find yourself visiting the bathroom much more often as baby is resting right on top of your bladder again.
Keep talking – by now he or she can recognize you voice, and may respond to any loud noises with a swift kick out.
This week I had my first internal exam. There were signs of progression but in my doctor’s words….nothing imminent. My blood pressure still looks good. I go back on Tuesday for my next checkup. I’m hoping to have more progress!