Tommy's PregnancyHub

My premature baby’s development in the womb – week 37

If you have been told you are at risk of a premature birth, you may be feeling anxious. Here’s some information about your baby’s development this week.

This information is for women who have been told that they are at risk of a premature birth

If you are not at risk of having a premature baby, we have information for you in our pregnancy calendar - our week-by-week guide to the stages of pregnancy.

Your baby's development this week

At 37 weeks, your pregnancy is considered full-term and may be ready to be born. The average baby weighs around 3-4kg (6-8llbs) by now. 

Most of the fine hair that covered your baby earlier in pregnancy has now gone. The surface of the skin is covered in a white sticky substance (vernix). 
 

Your pregnancy symptoms

If this is your first pregnancy, your baby will start moving down, getting ready to be born. You may feel more comfortable when this happens, and you'll probably also feel increased pressure in your lower abdomen.

If this is not your first pregnancy, your baby may not move down until labour. 

If you are carrying twins with their own placentas (dichorionic) and your pregnancy has been uncomplicated, you may now be offered an induction or caesarean section. 

Find out more about giving birth to multiple babies

Other symptoms

If you are at risk of giving birth early, it’s important to take care of yourself. There are also some things you can do to try and reduce the risk of giving birth early.

Tell your midwife or doctor if you have any symptoms that you are worried about. Do not worry if you've talked about it before and don't be concerned about whether you're wasting anyone's time. This is your pregnancy and it's important to trust your own instincts if you feel something isn't right.

You can also call the Tommy’s midwives on 0800 014 7800 (Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm), or email us at [email protected]

Symptoms of early labour

Call your midwife or hospital maternity unit straight away if you think you are in early labour. It may be a false alarm, but it’s best to get checked out. Find out more about the symptoms of early labour

Your mental health

If you have been told that you are at increased risk of giving birth early, it’s important to try and reduce stress and take care of your emotional health. Find out more about coping with the idea of a premature birth.

What may happen if your baby is born this week

If you have any questions about your pregnancy or risk of premature birth please talk to your doctor or midwife.

You can also call the Tommy’s midwives on 0800 014 7800 (Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm), or email us at [email protected]

The risk of any breathing problems is very low, but some babies may still need some support. Some babies may also need support if they are having difficulties feeding or develop jaundice, this is usually provided on the maternity ward.

NHS. You and your baby at 37 weeks pregnant. https://www.nhs.uk/pregnancy/week-by-week/28-to-40-plus/37-weeks/ (Page last reviewed: 17 July 2018 Next review date: 17 July 2021)

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

NHS. You and your baby at 37 weeks pregnant. https://www.nhs.uk/pregnancy/week-by-week/28-to-40-plus/37-weeks/ (Page last reviewed: 17 July 2018 Next review date: 17 July 2021)

NICE (2019). Twin and triplet pregnancy. National Institute for health and care excellence https://www.nice.org.uk/guidance/ng137