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Week 36 Of Pregnancy: Preparing For Birth

Reaching week 36 of pregnancy is a significant milestone in the journey to motherhood. As you near the finish line, you and your baby prepare for the big day – childbirth. This article will look into what week 36 of pregnancy entails, including the baby’s positioning for birth and essential developments inside the womb.

This article offers a detailed look into the baby’s critical developmental milestones during this week. It will also guide mothers-to-be in readying themselves mentally, physically, and logistically for the upcoming birth. During this week, the baby fine-tunes their survival skills, and parents need to think about both emotional and practical steps as they prepare for a life-changing event..

1. Baby’s Head Engages in the Pelvis

a. Understanding Engagement

By week 36 of pregnancy, many babies have already engaged, which means their heads have moved towards the pelvis, positioning them for a smoother birth. This movement is a positive sign, indicating that your baby is getting ready for delivery.

b. Lightening Sensation

pregnant woman in pain

As your baby’s head engages in the pelvis, you may notice a “lightening” sensation. This occurs when the baby’s pressure on your diaphragm is relieved, making breathing easier. However, it also means increased pressure on your bladder, resulting in more frequent trips to the restroom.

2. Baby’s Lungs Continue to Mature

a. The Importance of Lung Development

At week 36 of pregnancy, your baby’s lungs continue to mature. Developing functional lungs is crucial for your baby’s ability to breathe independently after birth. While the lungs are not fully mature yet, they are in a much better state than in earlier weeks.

b. Surfactant Production

baby in the womb- Week 36 Of Pregnancy

One of the significant developments during this time is the surfactant production by your baby’s lungs. Surfactant is a substance that helps the air sacs in the lungs remain open, allowing for efficient gas exchange. This is essential for your baby’s ability to breathe effectively outside the womb.

3. The Baby’s Body Begins to Produce Surfactant

a. Surfactant’s Role in Lung Function

Surfactant production is a crucial step in your baby’s lung development. Without adequate surfactant, the air sacs in the lungs may collapse, making it difficult for your baby to breathe after birth. The surfactant production is a reassuring sign that your baby’s lungs are preparing to transition to life outside the womb.

b. Surfactant Levels at Week 36

fetus in the womb

By week 36, most babies have surfactant levels sufficient for survival outside the womb. However, some premature babies born before this stage may require medical intervention. This intervention supports their lung function until their surfactant production is fully developed.

4. Preparing for Labor and Birth

a. Braxton Hicks Contractions

At week 36, you may experience Braxton Hicks contractions, often called “practice contractions.” These contractions help prepare your uterus for labor. While uncomfortable, they are typically not as intense or regular as true labor contractions.

b. Birth Plan and Preferences

Doctor Talking With Pregnant Woman-Week 36 Of Pregnancy

This is an excellent time to discuss your birth plan and preferences with your doctor. Consider your options for pain management, labour positions, and any special requests you may have for the birth. Being prepared and informed can help reduce anxiety as your due date approaches.

5. Physical and Emotional Changes

a. Physical Discomforts

During week 36, you may experience increased physical discomfort. Common symptoms include backaches, swelling, and difficulty sleeping. Practising self-care is essential, and reaching out to your doctor for any concerns.

b. Emotional Preparation


As you approach your due date, you may experience mixed emotions, including excitement and anxiety. Engaging in relaxation techniques such as meditation, deep breathing, and prenatal yoga can help reduce anxiety and promote a calm state of mind.

Week 36 of pregnancy is a time of preparation for you and your baby. Your baby’s positioning for birth is a positive sign, and their lung development is progressing. As you navigate the physical and emotional changes, staying informed is essential. It is also important to maintain open communication with your doctor and focus on relaxation and self-care. By doing so, you will be better prepared for the momentous day when your little one enters the world.

This article is approved by Dr Jesal Sheth, Senior Consultant-Paediatrician, Fortis Hospital.

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