37 weeks pregnant: baby's development, heartburn and packing your hospital bag

Your baby is considered ‘full term’ now. They’re about the length of a stalk of Swiss chard.

Your baby’s development this week

Most of the fine lanugo hair covering your baby has now gone. The amount of hair babies are born with on their head varies, ranging from completely bald to a full head of hair.

Your pregnancy symptoms in week 37


Some women get piles during pregnancy. These are swellings containing enlarged blood vessels inside or around the bottom. Anyone can get piles, but they happen in pregnancy because hormone make your veins relax.

Try to drink plenty of water and eat plenty of fibre to avoid constipation such as:

  • wholemeal bread
  • fruit
  • vegetables.

Talk to your midwife, doctor or pharmacist about how to manage piles. Don’t use a cream or medicine without checking with them first.


Your womb pressing on your stomach can leave you bloated, burpy, feeling sick or with a nasty heart burning sensation. Try to eat small amounts often, rather than 3 big meals per day.

Other common pregnancy symptoms include constipation and swollen feet.

Read more about 10 common pregnancy complaints (and how to avoid them).


Headaches can be common in pregnancy, but a severe headache may also be a sign of pre-eclampsia. This can be a serious condition for you and the baby.

In some cases, further symptoms can develop, including:

  • vision problems, such as blurring or flashing
  • pain just below the ribs
  • vomiting
  • sudden swelling of the face, hands or feet.

If you notice any symptoms of pre-eclampsia, seek medical advice immediately by calling your midwife, GP surgery or NHS 111.

High temperature

A high temperature could be a sign of a hidden infection. This could be harmful to your baby, so it is important to get it checked out. Call your maternity unit straight away if you have a temperature.

What to do in week 37

Find out about more about your options if you go past your due date

If you are planning a vaginal birth, it’s worth finding out your options if you go overdue. 

You may be offered a membrane sweep or an induction (when labour is started artificially). 

Talk to your midwife or doctor about your options.

Go to sleep on your side if you're not already doing so

When you reach your third trimester, the advice is to go to sleep on your side because research has shown that going to sleep on your back is linked to an increased risk of stillbirth. This advice includes daytime napping and night sleeping. Read more about safe sleep positions in pregnancy.

“Book a treat for yourself, like a massage, for after your baby’s arrival. Knowing that 2 months after my due date I’d be able to have some ‘me’ time again was a goal to work towards.”

Practical plans for the birth

Still haven’t packed your hospital bag? Get to it! Your baby could arrive any day now.

If you have other children, arrange for someone to look after them when you go into labour.

This is also a good time to consider your support after the birth too. Who could you ask to help every now and then?

Read about getting help and support for your emotional wellbeing.

Also think about how you’ll get to the hospital or unit where you plan to give birth. If your birth partner will be driving you, it’s important to make sure there’s enough petrol in the car and that they are sure of the route and where to park.

Remember any change or a card for the parking charges too!

1. Regan, Lesley (2019) Your pregnancy week by week, Penguin Random House, London

2. NHS. Piles in pregnancy. https://www.nhs.uk/pregnancy/related-conditions/common-symptoms/piles/ (Page last reviewed: 17 February 2021. Next review due: 17 February 2024) Accessed: September 2021

3. NHS. Indigestion and heartburn in pregnancy. https://www.nhs.uk/pregnancy/related-conditions/common-symptoms/indigestion-and-heartburn/ (Page last reviewed: 2 December 2020 Next review due: 2 December 2023)

4. NHS. Pre-eclampsia. https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/pre-eclampsia/ (Next review due: 28 September 2021 Next review due: 28 September 2024)

5. Macdonald S, Johnson G (2017) Mayes’ midwifery, Fifteenth edition, Edinburgh, Bailliere Tindall Elsevier

6. Heazell AEP, Li M, Budd J, Thompson JMD, Stacey T, Cronin RS, Martin B, Roberts D, Mitchell EA, McCowan LME. Association between maternal sleep practices and late stillbirth – findings from a stillbirth case-control study. BJOG2017; https://doi.org/10.1111/1471-0528.14967.

Review dates
Reviewed: 11 July 2022
Next review: 11 July 2025