By the 37th week, you are almost through with the pregnancy. Medics refer to you as early term because if the baby was to be delivered in the course of the week, he/she would be very healthy. You should be ready for labor any week from now, and therefore, all the preparations for the baby should be complete.
By the close of the 37th week, the baby will have moved to the birthing position (head down). However, it is not a surprise to still find him/her still in breech position by the 37th week and even up to the time of delivery. The baby has grown to about 6.3 lbs in weight and approximately 19.5 inches long.
As the baby shifts towards the pelvic area, you will experience some relief on breathing because there will be less pressure on lungs and diaphragm. However, dropping to the pelvic area could come with its own set of discomfort such as false contractions that could keep you making several runs to the hospital.
The baby’s skin continues to pack with additional fat layers and the internal organs are by now invisible. The vernix and lanugo have also been shed considerably and a new layer of fine hair peach fuzz is developing all over.
The ears are very developed by now and the baby responds easily to external sounds. If you make very loud noises, the baby might get startled and make irregular and harder kicks. It is advisable to ensure that you stay away from frightening loud noises as much as you can.
Because you are already in early term, the quantity of amniotic fluid will keep dropping steadily until the baby is born.
By the 37th week, you weight will be about 31-32 lbs. This will keep growing to about 35 pounds by the time you are full term. Remember that this is the average size and your increase could be slightly higher or lower depending on your body.
In this week, you will start experiencing a lot of contractions which can either be true labor or false labor (Braxton Hicks Contractions). As a mother, it is important to ensure that you differentiate between the two types of contractions.
When contractions start coming, it is important that you time their intervals and establish whether they are becoming stronger. Mark the beginning of one contraction and subsequent ones and if the bloody mucus becomes too much, you will need to talk to the doctor.
While it is the expectation that the baby has taken the appropriate birthing position (head down) by the 37th weeks, it is not always the case. The baby may be in the breech position (head up) or traverse position (lying sideways). If the baby is in the wrong position, the doctor will try to turn it using External Cephalic Version (ECV) that involves trying to move the baby gently into the right head down position. It is important that the baby is carefully monitored carefully to avoid stress during ECV.
Success of using ECV: The success rate of using ECV is only 60%. If ECV fails, doctors will schedule an emergency C-section. It is because of this that many C-sections are scheduled for weeks 38 and 39 after it is established that the baby is in breech position.
Risks associated with ECV: When ECV is carried out; it comes with its own share of risks.
Because of the high risk of blood mixing when an ECV is done, RH-negative women will be injected with immune globulin to prevent RH sensitization. Many doctors are very careful when carrying ECV procedure and will always refer you to a higher risk specialist.
Consider buying enough quantities, drying, and storing for continued supply.