The journey that began nine months ago is about the end anytime soon. From being excited and thrilled to being terrified and anxious, you’ve gone through a whole gamut of emotions. The last few days are particularly challenging- would I be able to distinguish between real and false contractions? How does it feel inside the labor room? How does one know when the water breaks? If these questions confuse you, you might want to read our post. Here we look at the changes at week 37 pregnancy and some tips to help you cope:
37 Weeks Pregnant Symptoms:
Some of the symptoms you experience during week 37 of pregnancy include:
- Increased pressure in the lower abdomen
- Cervical dilation
- Frequency of Braxton Hicks contractions increases
- Discomfort while sleeping and pressure around the pelvic area
- Pronounced changes in the body
- Cramps and varicose veins
- Backache and sore legs
[ Read: 38th Week Pregnancy ]
Changes In Your Body:
Although the textbook definition considers pregnancy be
- Increase in Braxton Hicks Contractions
- Cervical Dilation
- Discomfort When Sleeping
- Distinct Changes In The Body
- Leg Cramps and Varicose Veins
- Baby Hasn’t Engaged
- Low Amniotic Fluid
- Vaginal Bleeding
- Water Breaks
- Baby Leaks Meconium Into The Amniotic Fluid
- Visualize a calm and stress-free labor
- Spend Time With Your Partner
- Give Final Touches To The Baby’s Nursery
- Read Up On Postnatal Care
- Believe That Nothing’s Going To Change Unless YOU Do
- Complete Your Parenting Leave Formalities
- Read Up On Postnatal Depression
[ Read: 10th Month Of Pregnancy ]
As the body continues to prepare for labor, you may notice an increase in the frequency of Braxton Hicks contractions. They’re not only frequent, but also more uncomfortable than ever. As your due date nears, these contractions may become rhythmic and painful, often tricking you into believing that you are in labor. These are false contractions, and unlike the real deal they do not grow in consistency, neither do they become stronger. But sometimes, false contractions are difficult to differentiate from labor pain. Rather than relying on self-diagnosis, contact your doctor immediately if you have more than four contractions in an hour and if you have hit the 37- week mark (1).
By the time you hit the 37-week mark, your doctor may call you for weekly examination to look for signs of labor. Some of these include cervical dilation and effacement. Dilation tells you how far your cervix has dilated- it has to open to at least 10 centimeters to allow the baby pass through the uterus into the birth canal. She also checks for the texture of your cervix- it should feel like the inside of your cheeks. Effacement tells the doctor if the cervix is thin enough for labor to begin. She’ll also check if your baby has moved lower down the pelvis. There’s nothing that you can do about dilation or effacement except look for other signs of labor.
As your baby continues to move lower down, her head presses hard against your pelvis and hips. The tremendous pressure around the pelvic area may leave you uncomfortable while sleeping. A warm bath can relax the muscles and soothe your aching back. If sleep continues to elude you, relax, because this is normal. And sleep need not be during the night- catch a wink whenever you can.
[ Read: Symptoms Of False Labor ]
You don’t need someone to tell you that your body isn’t the same as it was. Your hips are wider, the breasts feel bigger, and your belly looks bigger than before. Thankfully, all of these changes are temporary. A proper diet and an active lifestyle after delivery can help to get your body back to shape. You may have also noticed stretch marks on your breasts and stomach. You can’t do anything about them until you’ve delivered. But you can watch your weight because rapid weight gain is a cause for stretch marks. The problem is sometimes hereditary. Wait until your body gets back to its original form because these marks fade away and become less noticeable.
Leg cramps are a common during the third trimester when blood vessels around the legs compress due to weight gain. Sometimes, an improper diet also causes leg cramps- eat foods rich calcium and magnesium. Stretching exercises also help alleviate the pain.