Baby is pretty much ready for prime time but the chances are you are hardly feeling like a star right now.
Your Baby in Week 36 of Pregnancy
In baby terms at least, most of Baby’s bodily systems are now quite mature. Their immune system should be firing on all cylinders now, ready to ward off any bugs they will encounter in the big wide world (and they will, however ‘careful’ you are) Some things however, will not fully develop until after Baby is born, and for good reasons.
Their digestive system, for example is ready to function, but as it has not been needed thus far, as Baby is gaining all the nutrients they need via the umbilical cord, so the first couple of meals Baby eats when they are born will be something of a learning curve for you both!
Baby’s bones are also still rather soft, so that when making their journey down the birth canal the passage will be easier for you both. For the same reason the skull bones are not fully fused together either, and their bones in general will not fully harden until they are well into toddlerhood.
In terms of growth right now things are slowing down. Baby may put on a little more weight but they are going into ‘energy saving mode’ to conserve their strength for the big journey that lies ahead in a few weeks.
Your Body in Week 36 of Pregnancy
This is it! The final month of what, by now, probably seems like has been a very long journey. Many women feel at their most ungainly this month and no, the fact that you feel like you are waddling like a penguin rather than walking is actually not something created by an overactive imagination.
As the month goes on and your due date looms closer those ever present pregnancy hormones undertake a new task; loosening the connective tissues around your pelvis. As this process continues you will develop a gait that really is a waddle!
This process – as well as the fact that Baby is ‘sitting’ lower down now, preparing for their exit, often also causes pain in the general pelvic and hip area that can be extremely unpleasant at times. To relieve some of it take warm baths, get a massage and/or just generally spend as much time as you can off your feet. Some women also find that a belly sling helps relieve some of the pain as well while also making ambulating a little easier.
There is one upside though. As Baby moves down a lot of the pressure on your diaphragm is relieved, making it easier for you to get some good deep breaths again. It should also become a little easier to enjoy a full meal without that overstuffed feeling.
Tips for the Thirty Sixth Week of Pregnancy – The Nesting Bug Strikes!
First time Mums to Be have probably heard of the ‘nesting instinct’ but many think its a bit of an old wives’ tale until it actually hits them. Suddenly the clutter under the sink that has not bothered you before becomes a real issue, and tired or not you set out to clean and reorganize it all in an afternoon. You may find yourself compulsively scrubbing at every little nook and cranny with a toothbrush or rearranging Baby’s nursery a half dozen times because something is still not just quite right.
Just why this happens no one is sure, but it is a mammal, not just a human thing. Some blame pregnancy hormones (its a good catch all) while others suggest that it is acting on an unconscious desire to gain control over everything before things get really chaotic when Baby arrives and your newly neat and clean kitchen counters are littered with baby supplies and your formerly neat living room looks more like a mini creche.
Rest assured that all of this is normal and just remember to rest – and eat – regularly, however much you think you need to get done. And no heavy lifting. If the sofa really needs moving, have someone else give you a hand.
Infant CPR and First Aid
If you have not done so already, now is a good time to find an infant CPR class. Although it is a skill that every parent hopes to never have to use it is also an important one to possess. Knowing what to do in an emergency situation, and how to remain relatively calm, has meant that thousands of parents all over the world have been able to save their own children’s lives so taking the time to take a few classes really is worth the effort – for both of you.
This may also be a good time to prepare a baby friendly first aid kit to keep in the medicine cabinet. What should such a kit contain? Here are some basics:
- A high quality baby friendly thermometer. Ear thermometers are easy, but you should also purchase one that can be used rectally, as they are the most accurate of all, and should Baby develop a very high fever that is important.
- Baby acetaminophen and ibuprofen, as recommended by your doctor, an important medication to have on hand to bring a fever down.
- Saline nose drops, which are great for clearing a stuffy nose.
- Baby sunscreen – it is never too early to start protecting Baby’s skin, just make sure that you read – and follow – the application directions very carefully.
- Nasal aspirator bulb
- Gauze rolls
- Gauze pads
- Adhesive tape
- Sterile cotton balls
- Cotton-tipped swabs
- Non-latex gloves (babies can be allergic to latex)
- Mild liquid soap (most antibacterial and deodorant soaps are too strong for babies’ sensitive skin)
- An oral syringe or calibrated cup or spoon for administering medicines
- A package of tongue depressors for checking sore throats
- A hot water bottle and an ice pack
- A small flashlight to check ears, nose, throat, and eyes