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36 weeks pregnant - all you need to know

Your baby weighs an impressive 6 pounds (2.7kg) - give or take - and is about the size of a large cabbage.

36 weeks infographic.

What does my baby look like in week 36?

The amount of space in the womb is shrinking as your baby grows. However this does not prevent them from kicking as normal.

They continue to move and kick right up to labour and birth. Get in touch with your midwife or maternity unit if you feel any reduction in movements.

Your baby is getting ready to take their first gasp of air when they're born - their lungs are developed and ready to go. Until they take their first breath of air their lungs stay deflated and they get oxygen through the placenta. This is why there is no risk of drowning with a waterbirth.

If they were born now, your baby would be considered moderately premature. They would be able to suckle and their digestive system is ready for breast milk. After 37 weeks though they are considered to be at full term

Your pregnancy symptoms in week 36

Braxton Hicks

You may be having more Braxton Hicks - ‘practice’ contractions - as your womb gets ready for labour now.

They can be quite powerful towards the end of your pregnancy and it’s easy to mistake them for labour contractions.

The muscles of your womb are tightening and you may notice that your tummy becomes hard for a short period, then softens again. This shouldn’t cause you pain. If you notice that they’re becoming painful and regular, contact your labour ward.

Leaking urine

Don’t worry if you find yourself leaking a bit of wee when you cough or laugh. It’s totally normal and likely to be temporary because the pelvic floor muscles (around the bladder) relax slightly to prepare for labour.

Don’t forget to work on toning up your pelvic floor muscles. We cannot stress this enough - pelvic floor exercises are so good for you.

“The best thing I did was meditation. After a difficult first birth I found I could create my own positive space the second time I went into labour. I felt calm and together even when I was in pain.” Svenja, mum of two

Read 4 ways your body gets ready for labour to find out more

What to do in week 36

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.

Perineal massage

The perineum is the area between the vagina and the anus. Massaging this area in the weeks coming up to the birth can reduce the chances of having an episiotomy (cutting the perineum) during birth.

To massage the perineum, put one or two fingers into the vagina and massage downwards towards the perineum. Read more about massaging the perineum here.

Pain relief for labour and birth

Many women wonder how they will manage when labour gets going. Try not to worry. When it happens, every woman deals with it in her own way. Some find an inner calm, some swear and shout, and others want to have all the pain relief they can. All these reactions are fine and normal.

It's good to know your pain-relief options before the birth. If you feel in control, this will help you stay calm, which can mean an easier birth. If you are stressed and tense, your contractions may feel more painful and become less effective.

You may have very clear ideas about the pain relief you want - or don't want - to use. During your labour, though, your plans might change. Do what feels best for you at the time and don't feel bad if you want something that isn’t on your birth plan.

You may find that you are in early labour - called the 'latent phase' - for a long time before things really get going. Warm baths, back massages from your birth partner, paracetamol, a TENS machine and moving around may all help with early labour.

Find out here pros and cons of drug-free pain relief and of pain relief using drugs.

Sources

NHS Choices. You and your baby at 33–36 weeks pregnant. http://www.nhs.uk/Conditions/pregnancy-and-baby/pages/pregnancy-weeks-33-34-35-36.aspx (Page last reviewed: 31/03/2017 Next review due: 31/03/2020).

Heazell AEP, Li M et al (2017) Association between maternal sleep practices and late stillbirth – findings from a stillbirth case-control study. BJOG 2017; https://doi.org/10.1111/1471-0528.14967.

Stacey T, Thompson JM et al (2011) Association between maternal sleep practices and risk of late stillbirth: a case-control study. BMJ. 2011 Jun 14;342:d3403. doi: 10.1136/bmj.d3403.

Gordon A1, Raynes-Greenow C et al (2015) Sleep position, fetal growth restriction, and late-pregnancy stillbirth: the Sydney stillbirth study. Obstet Gynecol. 2015 Feb;125(2):347-55. doi: 10.1097/AOG.0000000000000627.

Lennart Nilsson (2009) A Child is Born, Jonathan Cape

Eason E, Labrecque M et al (2000) Preventing perineal trauma during childbirth: a systematic review, Obstetrics and Gynecology 3: 464–71: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/10711565 

Beckmann MM, Garrett AJ (2006) Antenatal perineal massage for reducing perineal trauma, Cochrane Database of Sytematic Reviews: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed?term=16437520

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    Last reviewed on June 29th, 2018. Next review date June 29th, 2021.

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    Comments

    Please note that these comments are monitored but not answered by Tommy’s. Please call your GP or maternity unit if you have concerns about your health or your baby’s health.
    • By Cutie (not verified) on 31 Oct 2019 - 21:01

      Hi there,I am 36 weeks already.Braxton Hicks contractions are more frequent now,plus I feel a tingling/painful sensation around my vagina.Does it mean labour is going to start any time soon? Awaiting your prompt response.Thanks.

    • By asma (not verified) on 18 Sep 2019 - 04:52

      im at 36 weeks with my 3rd child. ive 2 c sections previously. at now im feeling extremely tired with a dull low back pain and thigh pains just like u have them before your periods. also my baby movements have become less than before. 8s this a sign of approaching labour???

    • By Midwife @Tommys on 18 Sep 2019 - 10:25

      Dear Asma
      if you are worried about a reduction in your babies movements, then you should go to your local maternity unit as soon as possible today to be seen by a midwife and obstetric doctor for review. You will also need a review for your lower back pain as you could have a UTI.
      Please take good care of yourself, Tommy's Midwife

    • By ada (not verified) on 22 Oct 2019 - 17:03

      i am 35 weeks and i be 36 weeks Thursday i have pain in my back a lots i want it out already

    • By Wazia (not verified) on 18 Sep 2019 - 18:37

      Hi thr, even am in 36 week pregnant with 3rd baby, and as you said getting back pain n contractions but doctor gave antibiotics foe pain relief. Am due next week

    • By Ashlyn (not verified) on 9 Sep 2019 - 18:02

      I am 36 weeks today ive had pains the past week but today my stomach is staying constantly hard not softening at all and hurts really bad and pelvic pressure in my vagina like the baby is going to fall out and not feeling as many movements as i usually do... Could i be in labor?

    • By Tope (not verified) on 7 Sep 2019 - 19:46

      Hi,I'm constantly having back aches and my baby kicks more often esp at night.For the past few days ive been feeling extremely weak if i walk a short distance.I was admitted for preterm contraction 2wks ago,but im having the signs agan.Pls advice

    • By Esther (not verified) on 2 Aug 2019 - 12:11

      Hi, am 36weeks 3day pregnant. Pls, can taking fansidar(malaria drug) once at 4weeks cause deformity to the baby? and what are the signs

    • By Ladonna Bell (not verified) on 21 Jul 2019 - 23:30

      I have 25 days to go. My baby movements are flutters. He has kicked before. My momma thinks he might be moving a night. My tummy is still squishy and my navel hasn't turned out. I have some pain various places.
      Is this normal it's my first baby.

    • By Ayisha (not verified) on 14 Jul 2019 - 13:02

      Hi,I am 35 weeks and 6 days! I feel my baby moves now and then but not that often!!! And feel pushing movements in sides or under ribs and in uterus which cause urge to urinate!! Then I am having centre bone of pelvic region paining and lower abdomen it lasts for 10-15 secs and feel often in a day! Even my thighs and legs are aching! Should such pains indicate labour

    • By Pragati (not verified) on 1 Jul 2019 - 17:02

      Hii,I am 35weaks and 4days pregnant but I have some etching I body(in vegina) .any problem ya not ,plus rply me?

    • By Nelly (not verified) on 26 Jun 2019 - 12:48

      My tummy is not comfortable but I don't feel pain is just I feel more movement than other days, it cannot be a early labour sign

    • By Kanesha (not verified) on 19 Jun 2019 - 01:39

      I’m 36 week in my vaginal is opening up I should I do I’m hurting just a lil bit

    • By phylls (not verified) on 30 May 2019 - 21:24

      Am phyllis,I feel cantraction and back aches but but not so painful. Does it be a delivery? it's my first pregnancy

    • By Christian Ogbenna (not verified) on 2 May 2019 - 23:59

      Am 36weeks and 3days pregnant.i feel bloated,heavy and frequent urinating please am I save

    • By Aminat (not verified) on 28 Apr 2019 - 16:16

      I'm 36 weeks exactly and my baby is already more than 7 pounds. When he moves I feel like I need to pee. My pelvis keeps clicking and my pelvis hurts when I walk. Is this preparation for labour? This us my 1st by the way. No contractions yet. Although have been feeling period pains on and off.

    • By Noor fatima (not verified) on 19 Jun 2019 - 00:10

      Whatever you are feeling is normal sweetie , and glad to know baby is healthy. Feel the urge to pee is probably because (if) your baby has dropped, means head down. Very normal to feel periods cramps on and off but if its persistent and doesn't go away ,get yourself checked. Pelvic adjusts and body prepares itself when labour is near so hurting in pelvis is also normal.

      Hope this info was helpful.
      Best of luck

    • By Milissa (not verified) on 26 Apr 2019 - 14:26

      Hi I'm 36 weeks pregnant and getting slight back pains and my upper stomach that has like a burn pain and also at times my private part pains when I move is this normal

    • By Noor fatima (not verified) on 19 Jun 2019 - 00:13

      Oh yes, had this burn thing with my first baby too its all normal..even the pain in ur private part or back. If its bearable its fine but trust your instinct always .

    • By Abiola (not verified) on 21 Apr 2019 - 07:41

      On36 weeks of pregnancy if woman feel something pressing her bladder what is the cause of it

    • By Noor fatima (not verified) on 19 Jun 2019 - 00:13

      Baby's head pressing or putting weight on your bladder.

    • By Irum (not verified) on 17 Apr 2019 - 12:44

      Hi, I’m 35 weeks pregnant and had recent sonogram that shows a single loop of cord loosely wrapped around my baby’s neck. He is moving well but has 3 to 4 times hiccups daily which lasts for 10 minutes. I need your opinion for this situation.

    • By ella Kingsley (not verified) on 30 Mar 2019 - 19:02

      am 35 weeks and 4day pregnant and I feel so much pains, that feel like period pain, what does that mine please.

    • By ella Kingsley (not verified) on 30 Mar 2019 - 19:01

      am 35 weeks and 4day pergant and I feel so much pains, that feel like period pain, what does that mine please.

    • By Sam (not verified) on 1 Mar 2019 - 21:56

      Have dull pain in middle of my back and into my ribs is this a sign of labour? it's my 6th baby

    • By Midwife @Tommys on 4 Mar 2019 - 16:02

      Yes Sam, this could be a sign of labour. Best to go to your maternity unit to be checked as labour can be short with a 6th baby.

    • By Joanne (not verified) on 17 Feb 2019 - 11:31

      I'm 36 weeks pregnant and my baby is sure to have the hiccups at least once in the day lasting around 5/10 mins. Is this normal? I only ask as our first baby was stillborn & she had the hiccups a lot, we had velamentous cord insertion, I carried her full term and labour basically ended her life. I've since had 2 rainbows who never really hiccups in the womb.

    • By Midwife @Tommys on 21 Feb 2019 - 11:17

      Hi Joanne, Thankyou for your comment.

      Hiccups in pregnancy can be very normal but it is understandable that you are anxious after the loss of your first baby and relate hiccups to this and the velamentous cord insertion. If you are concerned then you can always call your local labour ward who can see you for monitoring so that you can be reassured. As you are 36 weeks, there is no reason why you cannot be monitored just for your reassurance at this time. Hope this helps, Take Care, Tommy's Midwives x

    • By Malefu (not verified) on 10 Feb 2019 - 18:52

      I am 36 week my feet and hand swelling and also painful.I feel like never do anything even cleaning because I feel tired

    • By Midwife @Tommys on 15 Feb 2019 - 11:46

      Hi Malfeu,
      It sounds like it would be good to be seen by your midwife, to review your swelling and any other symptoms you have. With regards to tiredness, this could be low iron levels so these can be checked. It is important to keep hydrated and eat regularly and healthy as possible, avoid sugar and binge eating.
      Best wishes
      Tommy's midwife

    • By Oge (not verified) on 9 Feb 2019 - 06:37

      I am 36 weeks and having serious back pain issue

    • By Midwife @Tommys on 15 Feb 2019 - 11:44

      Hi Oge,
      If you are having on going pain then do speak with your midwife for a review.
      Best wishes
      Tommy's midwife

    • By Teeto (not verified) on 15 Oct 2018 - 23:16

      Had 2 previous CS but somehow wishes to experience vaginal delivery. I'm 36 weeks and unlike previous pregnancies I'm feeling Branxton Hics more frequently ( didn't feel nothing during previous ones & was postdated both times) and I generally feel better than I did at those other times.. What are my chances of an SVD even though my obstetrician thinks I'm crazy. Thanks for your prompt response

    • By Midwife @Tommys on 22 Oct 2018 - 15:06

      Hi, I am sorry but without knowing your medical and pregnancy history it would be irresponsible of me to make comment in this scenario. There are so many factors to take into consideration. I would suggest that you discuss this in depth with your consultant and ask what the risks and benefits would be either way. The Royal college of Obs and Gynae publish their protocols which you may find useful if you want to read this: https://www.rcog.org.uk/globalassets/documents/guidelines/gtg_45.pdf

    • By Portia (not verified) on 30 Sep 2018 - 09:14

      Hi I had a C-section with my first born nw I want Normal delivery I am 36 weeks pregnant how dangerous it is...m really scared my womb will repture even if doctor said de is only 1percent of repture

    • By Midwife @Tommys on 1 Oct 2018 - 14:46

      Yes this is quite correct. There is only a 1% risk of rupture. If you are labouring in hospital you will be monitored and any risks of rupture would be acted upon very quickly. Aiming for a normal delivery in this situation is usually the best option. Best wishes

    • By Ravanna (not verified) on 26 Sep 2018 - 08:03

      36 week's not sure if my waters are slowly breaking but think I head a pop before leaking a little and couldn't stop I have been feeling like a balloon has been trying to be popped for 3 days Nd like a big bulge in my vagina area also then read in my blue book under "liquor" it says active what does that mean too has my water started breaking slowly cos I could not stop peeing myself a little it felt like please advice asap

    • By Midwife @Tommys on 26 Sep 2018 - 11:24

      Hi Ravanna
      You need to go to your local maternity unit urgently, to be seen by a midwife and obstetric doctor who will examine you to check if your waters have broken or not.
      Please go as soon as you can and don't forget your maternity notes.
      All the best
      Tommy's Midwife

    • By deborah isaac (not verified) on 20 Sep 2018 - 17:48

      hi! am 35+ 6days pregnant and my baby is lying in breece position, can the baby still turn to the normal position again? am carrying my first pregnant.

    • By Midwife @Tommys on 21 Sep 2018 - 16:02

      By Midwife @Tommys on 21 Sep 2018 - 16:01
      Hello Deborah, Yes, the baby could still turn but your midwife should refer you to the hospital for review and advice. You have option to turn the baby (ECV), deliver in the breech position or have a c section. We have information on our page https://www.tommys.org/pregnancy-information/labour-birth/labour-and-birth-faqs/what-happens-if-my-baby-breech

    • By Anonymous (not verified) on 27 Aug 2019 - 22:13

      I have just had this same problem. I went home and got on all fours and gentally rocked back and forwards. I also had a shower soaped up my belly and gentally ran my hands in a circle motion around my belly as i knew where his head was so guided to downwards and 3 days later at my next appointment he was down and has stayed there.

    • By Sandy (not verified) on 13 Sep 2018 - 09:12

      I only just rwcwnt found out i was pregnant, im 36 weeks and 2 days, i didnt have any morning sickness, my feet arent swollen and my stomach is still squishy, its not hard like other pregnant women, the "kicking/movement" of the baby felt like popcorn popping in my stomach i thought it was gas bubbles, ive done and eaten all the wrong things through out this pregnancy due to not knowing i am also a heavy smoker, im due on the 9th of october, i dont think my baby will make it, but the ultrasound that i did the nurse said that baby is normal and seems healthy, its measuring 29 when it should 36cm, im really scared i dont know what to do

    • By Midwife @Tommys on 13 Sep 2018 - 12:15

      Hi Sandy, Thank you for your comment.
      We are sorry to hear that you are going through a very anxious time at the moment. You can't blame yourself for what you have eaten and done the wrong things in this pregnancy because you didn't know that you were pregnant. The important thing is doing the right things now going forward. You should be seen often at the hospital for serial growth scans to keep an eye on the baby and the blood flow through the cord to baby and also consultations with the Drs so that they can make a plan of care for you and your baby. The ultrasound is reassuring that baby have developed normally but they will want to keep a close eye on the growth of the baby as smaller babies can be the result of heavy smoking, but again your didn't know that you were pregnant so please don't be too hard on yourself, trying to give up smoking now is one of the best things you can do for your baby. You should have regular appointments at the hospital, if you haven't then we would urge you to call the hospital and make sure that this is arranged so that you are your baby can be monitored. Keep an eye on your baby's movements and if you have any concerns at all then please call the hospital to be seen. Hope this helps, if you need further advice then please call us on 0800 0147 800 Monday to Friday 9am-5pm. Take Care, Tommy's Midwives x

    • By Annie (not verified) on 16 Aug 2018 - 21:08

      am 36weeks 5days pregnant and having back pains and seems like having contractions please what does it mean

    • By Midwife @Tommys on 17 Aug 2018 - 10:36

      Hi Annie - Thank you for your message. It isn't uncommon to experiance some mild back pain in the third trimester. In regards to the contractions you are feeling they may be Braxton Hicks - ‘practice’ contractions - as your womb gets ready for labour now.

      They can be quite powerful towards the end of your pregnancy and it’s easy to mistake them for labour contractions.

      The muscles of your womb are tightening and you may notice that your tummy becomes hard for a short period, then softens again. This shouldn’t cause you pain. If you notice that they’re becoming painful and regular, contact your labour ward.

    • By abeerah (not verified) on 4 Aug 2018 - 16:28

      having contraction like pains every now and then ,, almost 6 in an hour... and painful movements,, dull ache in my back , i am 36+5 weeks pregnant ..

    • By Midwife @Tommys on 6 Aug 2018 - 10:30

      Hi, This could be the start of labour or it may settle down again. If you are concerned please ask your midwife or call your hospital for advice.

    • By Mary (not verified) on 20 Jul 2018 - 14:57

      Hi there I’m 36 weeks pregnant and have a lot of joint pain in my hands is this a normal sign?

    • By Midwife @Tommys on 23 Jul 2018 - 14:47

      Hi Mary, Thank you for your question. I wonder if you have symptoms of Carpel tunnel syndrome. Pregnancy can increase the chance of this. There are some treatments you can try at home or you can see an osteopath or physiotherapist. See link for details https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/carpal-tunnel-syndrome/#when-to-get-medical-help
      Usually it resolves after pregnancy without treatment but see your GP if it gets worse or you need advice.

    • By Kez (not verified) on 9 Jul 2018 - 18:23

      I'm 36 weeks pregnant and have constant lower dull backache and having braxsion hick is this early signs of labour also very snappy

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