You are 36 Weeks Exactly 28 days to go…

All pregnant women need support in the final weeks, but if you’re single this can be even more important.

Your baby today

You may notice a change in the character of your baby’s movements, reflecting the reduced amount of amniotic fluid and, consequently, space to move around in. Each movement is more likely to be felt, however, as he touches the side of your uterus.

Whether you’re single by choice, or have unexpectedly found yourself in this position, you may be experiencing mixed feelings about the weeks to come. There is no doubt that going solo involves extra responsibilities and worries, but with a little help from your close friends and family, you can make these final few weeks of your pregnancy positive.

If you’re concerned about going into labor alone, line up a close friend or family member who is on call at all times. He or she might want to get permission from their place of work to take leave to be with you should you go into labor. Keep yourself busy before your baby arrives, planning plenty of activities during your maternity leave.

Don’t be afraid to ask people for help with shopping for last-minute baby buys or getting your home ready for your new arrival. Most people will be delighted with the honor of being asked to keep you company, and helping you get things ready.

Most importantly, take care of yourself: get organized by preparing meals you can freeze so you have plenty of healthy food in store for the weeks after the birth.

Baby showers

Throwing a baby shower to celebrate the imminent arrival is a great opportunity to get together with the girls. Arrange it yourself, or ask your best friend to do the honors. Note to best friend: surprise parties are great, but consider whether the mom-to-be will want to be the center of attention.

At your baby shower you’ll probably receive lots of gifts. It’s common for there to be presents for both mom and the newborn.

Think about:

  • A pampering theme: the guests could give each other manicures and pedicures, or you could even hire a beautician for the afternoon.

  • Chipping in together to buy the mom-to-be something useful, such as a car seat, or indulgent, such as a relaxing day out at a spa.

  • Games you could play, such as inviting guests to guess the baby’s sex, weight, and date she’ll be born.

  • Refreshments: Champagne, non-alcoholic drinks, nibbles, anda “birth” day cake.

Your 37th Week

You’re now about as big as you’re going to get. Soon—maybe this week—the baby will drop down lower into your pelvis, ready for birth. Your belly may shift downward, too, giving you a different shape. This doesn’t necessarily mean that labor is imminent, so don’t worry about the baby “falling out.” You’re likely to still have some time to enjoy maternity leave and get organized.


Your belly may look as though it’s started to slide downhill

You are 36 Weeks and 1 Day 27 days to go…

You’re in the home stretch now, and may start maternity leave soon. This can be a relief, but also a time of mixed emotions.

Your baby today

When scanned, this baby was lying with his back to his mother’s. This “back to back” position is common at this stage but becomes less so as the pregnancy continues. Your doctor will be able to feel for the position of your baby’s back from this point on.

Going on maternity leave is a significant pregnancy milestone. As you leave your working role, the reality of beginning your role as a mother may hit you—but you hopefully have a few more weeks to get used to the idea!

It can be a welcome respite to take it easy and not have to rush around in the mornings, and you’ll feel less tired by not having to travel to work. Although you need to take it easy, it’s a good idea to plan some outings, since not having a routine can take some getting used to. Although it’s good to stay in touch with colleagues, try not to fall into the trap of logging on to work emails or staying up-to-date with what’s happening at work. You might be worrying about losing some of your identity while you’re on maternity leave; this is a common feeling but you’ll find that before you know it your leave is over and you’re settled back into work again.

Try to enjoy this lead-up to the birth and make the most of the time (see Making the most of maternity leave) to get organized and prepare for your new arrival.

When your baby drops

Engagement is when your baby’s head starts to move down into the pelvic brim in preparation for birth, and this can occur any time in these final few weeks of pregnancy, until the start of your labor. In the last weeks of pregnancy, your doctor will check to see if the head has started to engage, or drop, sometimes called “lightening.”

Your doctor will do an examination to check to see where the baby’s head is. This is called the station, and it’s measured from -5 (the baby’s head is floating above the pelvis) to +5, the head is at the opening of the vagina. This last stage is called crowning.

When your baby drops, you may find it easier to breathe, since your lungs will have more room to expand, or the need to urinate more because of more pressure on your bladder.

… Doctor
Q: Will I feel different when my baby drops?
A: You will feel lighter, in that your breathing will be easier, with more room for your lungs to expand. Your abdomen may seem smaller, with your belly shifting down and forward, as your baby’s head enters the birth canal. With pressure on your bladder, you may need to urinate more. You may also experience some pelvic pain.
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