37 weeks pregnant: Your guide to this week of your third trimester

    37 weeks pregnant: Your guide to this week of your third trimester
    Updated 08 September 2023 |
    Published 24 February 2019
    Fact Checked
    Dr. Charlsie Celestine
    Medically reviewed by Dr. Charlsie Celestine, Obstetrician and gynecologist, New Jersey, US
    Written by Kate Hollowood
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    From bump changes to possible contractions, here’s the lowdown on being 37 weeks pregnant.

    There’s no doubt that being 37 weeks pregnant is a special time, with your baby’s arrival likely to be just around the corner. It’s natural to feel anxious as well as excited this week, with lots of things to think about and prepare for ahead of your due date

    Our guide on labor and delivery tips can help you feel ready for what’s coming next. But to help you feel aware of everything happening this week, we’ve gathered the key information below, including advice from a Flo expert. 

    Your baby at 37 weeks pregnant

    Almost ready to be born

    At 37 weeks, your baby has reached early term. They’re just two weeks away from being full term, which starts at 39 weeks — so soon! Forty weeks marks their due date, but one study found only 5% of babies are actually born on this day. 

    Practicing smiling

    Adorably, this week, your 37-week-old baby is practicing smiling. Right now, their smiles are random and not linked to their emotions. But by the time they’re two months old, they’ll be able to smile (and frown!) on purpose.  

    How big is a baby at 37 weeks?

    Length (crown to heel): 48 cm or 19 in 

    Weight: 3 kg or 6.7 lb 

    Size: Equivalent to a spaghetti squash

    All measurements are approximate and vary within the normal range.

    Your body at 37 weeks pregnant

    Bump changes

    At 37 weeks pregnant, you might see some new changes to your baby bump. “This is when someone might notice the baby dropping,” says Dr. Jenna Beckham, obstetrician and gynecologist, WakeMed, North Carolina, US. 

    This process is called lightening. As your baby’s head drops lower into your pelvis (if it’s in the head-down position), it can change the shape of your belly, causing it to “drop.” Lightening is a sign of labor, but it’s worth noting that it can happen from up to a few weeks to a few hours before labor begins. So, if you’ve noticed this change, it doesn’t necessarily mean that you’re about to give birth.  

    Contractions may occur

    There are two types of contractions that can occur at 37 weeks pregnant, as Dr. Beckham explains. “Braxton Hicks contractions, or practice contractions, are not usually painful,” she says. “They are also more often irregular and do not persist.” These can sometimes also be called false labor contractions. 

    On the other hand, “Labor contractions are more painful and typically occur more frequently and regularly,” says Dr. Beckham. “They also do not go away.” 

    Confused? We hear you. There’s no doubt that it can sometimes be hard to tell if you’re going into labor. Remember that you can always speak to your health care provider if you’re unsure whether you’re experiencing Braxton Hicks contractions or labor contractions. They’ll be able to help you figure out if it’s time to head to the hospital or not. And if you experience any false alarms, there’s definitely no need to feel embarrassed! It’s always better to be on the safe side.

    Your questions answered

    Is it okay to deliver at 37 weeks? How likely is it?

    It is possible to safely deliver a baby at 37 weeks. At this point, your baby is considered to be early term

    Delivering a baby at 37 weeks has fewer risks of complications than if they were born preterm. While experts advise that it’s best to deliver a baby at full term (from 39 weeks) if possible, remember that a baby born at 37 weeks (for example, spontaneously or for medical reasons) can still do well.

    What should I be feeling at 37 weeks?

    At 37 weeks pregnant, you’re likely to experience many of the same symptoms as in earlier weeks, such as mood swings and sore or leaky breasts. 

    Have you found yourself filling up your shopping cart at your favorite websites? There’s a reason for that. Sometimes, women get a new spurt of energy as labor approaches. This is called the nesting instinct, and it might drive you to stock up your fridge and arrange your baby’s crib so that it’s just right for their arrival. However, it’s also perfectly normal not to get a spurt of energy at this point, so don’t worry if you’re feeling the same as you did in previous weeks. 

    If you’ve experienced lightening, this can sometimes relieve other pregnancy symptoms. With your baby no longer pressing against certain parts of your body, you may experience less heartburn, indigestion, or need to pee. Again, this relief doesn’t come for everyone, so if you’ve still got these symptoms, keep going. You’re nearly there!

    How can you tell if labor is days away?

    As you approach your due date, it’s perfectly natural to start wondering if every tweak and twinge in your belly is a sign that labor could be days away. But frustratingly, Dr. Beckham says that “there is no reliable predictor of the onset of labor.” And sometimes, it can be hard to know for sure whether you’re in labor or not, as those early signs can be quite subtle. 

    Aside from contractions and lightening, some other possible signs of labor include: 

    • Your water breaking: During pregnancy, your baby is cushioned by the amniotic sac, which is a membrane filled with fluid. This membrane will rupture either before or during labor, causing the fluid to come out of your vagina. You may experience this as a trickle or as a gush of fluid. If you’re not sure whether or not your water has broken, always speak to your health care provider. 
    • An increase in vaginal discharge: Have you heard of the mucus plug? It may sound a bit odd, but it has the important job of blocking bacteria from entering the uterus during pregnancy. At around 37 weeks pregnant, or in the late third trimester, it might pass through your vagina. If this happens, you may notice more discharge. While losing your mucus plug generally means your body is getting ready for labor, it doesn’t indicate how soon other labor symptoms will start — it could be a matter of hours, days, or even weeks.

    How do I know I’m dilating?

    As your body prepares for labor, your cervix will dilate (or open) to make room for the baby to pass through. Clever, right? You’ll typically need to have a vaginal exam to find out whether you’re dilating or not. Your health care provider will measure the opening of your cervix, which will open to 10 cm or 3.9 inches (yes, really!) when fully dilated. 

    Want to know more?

    Download the Flo app for tailored insights throughout your pregnancy

    37 weeks pregnant checklist

    Get ready for your baby’s arrival

    You may have already purchased things like cute baby clothes, a stroller, and a changing mat for your little one. To find out all the things you need to buy before your baby arrives, read our handy newborn essentials checklist

    Another important thing to think about is choosing a health care provider for your baby. Speak to your doctor to find out about the options that are local to you.

    Finally, this week can also be a good time to pack your hospital bag if you haven’t already. Check out our list of things to pack for labor to make sure you haven’t forgotten anything.  

    Do pelvic floor exercises

    Your pelvic floor is an important set of muscles that run like a sling from the back to the front of your pelvis. Exercising these muscles can lead to a stronger pelvic floor and could make it less likely you’ll have issues such as stress incontinence or prolapse after your baby’s born.

    If these reasons weren’t enough to start doing your exercises, the pelvic floor can also make sex better. In fact, when the muscles are strong, it can lead to more intense orgasms. Sign us up!

    You may have started doing pelvic floor exercises already, but just in case, we’ll recap. All you have to do is squeeze and lift the muscles as hard as you can, building up to holding them for 10 seconds at a time. 

    But, if you’re having any trouble with these, it’s worth asking your health care provider for their advice. They may also be able to refer you to a pelvic floor therapist or an obstetric physiotherapist for extra advice and tips. 

    While we’re on the subject of your pelvic floor, now is a good time to be working some perineal massage into your daily routine. From 35 weeks pregnant, massaging the area between your vagina and anus can help to prevent tears during labor that require stitches. Ideally, either you or your partner will perform this massage three to four times a week, for five minutes each time. 

    When to consult a doctor at 37 weeks pregnant

    If you think you might be going into labor, you should contact your doctor right away. As we’ve seen, some of the signs that labor can be close include:

    • Lightening: Feeling that your baby has dropped lower into your pelvis 
    • Loss of the mucus plug: Noticing an increase in vaginal discharge. This is caused by your cervix dilating, pushing the mucus plug that’s been protecting it during pregnancy out of your body.
    • Your water breaking: Experiencing fluid that either trickles or gushes from your vagina. This is caused by the rupturing of the amniotic sac that’s been surrounding your baby.
    • Contractions: Pain in your back or pelvis, caused by your uterus contracting, that happens more regularly over time 

    Right now, you may be having a checkup with your doctor every week. However, how often you see your doctor will depend on where you live, as well as what you and your doctor decide is right for you and your baby. 

    You don’t need to wait until your appointments if you have any concerns or questions about your pregnancy. However, at 37 weeks pregnant, you should contact your doctor immediately if you experience: 

    This isn’t an exhaustive list and just some examples of the changes you should look for. Some of these can be a sign of health complications, so it’s essential that you speak to your doctor about the best next step for you. And if you’re worried about any other symptoms you experience during pregnancy, don’t hesitate to reach out to your health care provider. 

    37 weeks pregnant: The takeaway

    There’s certainly a lot to be thinking about at 37 weeks pregnant, from signs of labor to preparing for your baby’s arrival. Try not to stress if you feel like you haven’t checked enough things off your to-do list. The most important thing is to make sure you’re feeling as comfortable as possible in these final few weeks. Eventually, everything else will fall into place.


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    History of updates
    Current version (08 September 2023)
    Medically reviewed by Dr. Charlsie Celestine, Obstetrician and gynecologist, New Jersey, US
    Written by Kate Hollowood
    Published (24 February 2019)
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