Your baby at 37 weeks pregnant
Your baby is as long as a bunch of Swiss chard. It's likely that your baby is more than 19 inches long and weighs between 6 and 6.5 pounds, nearing the final birth weight. He or she will continue gaining half an ounce of fat per day to help regulate body temperature and keep blood-sugar levels even. The brain and skull also continue to grow.
Ease on down
Is your baby sitting lower these days? This dropping–also called lightening or engagement–can occur a few weeks before your baby is born. The new, lower position may take some pressure off of your lungs and diaphragm, making it easier for you to breathe.
Your pregnancy at 37 weeks
The good news about your baby dropping is that you can breathe again. The flipside is that you may feel extra pressure in your lower abdomen and pelvis. Also, your center of gravity changes–again–when your baby drops, so you may be a little clumsier than you were before.
Only five percent of babies are born on their actual due date, so it's handy to have a packed bag waiting by the door in case your little one comes early. Stick to the essentials: a comfortable nightgown or nightshirt, a comfy robe, non-skid slippers or socks, a well-fitting nursing bra, toiletries and going-home outfits for yourself and the baby.
Your healthcare provider may start performing pelvic exams at your weekly prenatal visits. He or she will check to see if your cervix is dilated (opening up) or effaced (thinning), and will look for any signs of labor. Many women start to dilate weeks before actually going into labor, while some don't show any signs of labor until it's time to go to the hospital.
Did you know?
You may hear that at 37 weeks, your baby is considered “early term.” Even though he or she is mature enough to live outside the uterus, baby needs the next 3 weeks to gain weight and give the lungs and brain a little more time to mature.