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Pregnancy health centre

37 weeks pregnant

WebMD Medical Reference
Medically Reviewed by Dr Rob Hicks


How is your baby growing at 37 weeks?

Your baby is now considered full term and ready to be born at any time between now and the next few weeks – it's just a waiting game. A baby born in week 37 is typically 50cm long and weighs up to 3kg (7lb) with about 8% body fat. If your baby is born now, he or she may have a full head of hair almost 4cm long or just some fine fuzzy hair like on a peach.

If your baby hasn't turned into a heads-down position by week 37, a baby specialist known as an obstetrician may try manipulating your tummy to get your baby to turn around – this is known as an external cephalic version (ECV).

How are you changing in week 37?

The third trimester brings back frequent trips to the toilet. You will be producing more urine as your pregnancy progresses and your bladder will now shrink – and there's not much you can do. Especially in the last few weeks, the pressure of the baby's head engaging for birth can make your bladder feel full when it's not. At the same time, the pelvic floor muscles will be weakening, in preparation for childbirth. This means that you may also have a mild form of incontinence, when a sudden spurt or small leak of urine occurs when you laugh, cough or sneeze. For some women, simply standing up from a sitting position can cause some urine to escape.

If you notice water leaking from your vagina, your waters may have broken. After 37 weeks pregnant, this probably means you are going into labour. However, sometimes a leak is not from labour but a tear in the amniotic sac protecting your baby, so your baby will have less protection against infection. Seek medical advice if this happens.

What you need to know in week 37

If your baby remains in a breech head-up position, you may need to have a caesarean section. There may be other medical reasons for having a caesarean such as your pelvis being too small for the baby's head or a health complication such as heart disease that put's your or your baby's life at risk. Your antenatal team will make a decision based on the safest options for both you and your baby. Referred to as a planned or elective caesarean section, your baby will be born before you go into labour. About 25% of women in the UK give birth by caesarean section, with around 40% of these births being planned.

If you don't think you have gone into labour but you notice a leak from your vagina, try to keep calm and bear in mind that a leak is common in late pregnancy. Phone your maternity unit – the phone number should be in your notes – and they will instruct you to go to the delivery ward or an antenatal clinic or assessment unit. Your midwife will assess you to determine if it's a leak or all your waters have gone. Amniotic fluid doesn't smell like wee but will be clear with a yellow tinge, sometimes stained slightly with blood. You may be asked to use a sanitary pad so any leaking fluid can be checked. Depending on your midwife's assessment, you may get the all clear to go home or you may need to stay in hospital.

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