37 Weeks Pregnant
During week 37 of pregnancy, fetal development that is occurring includes the following:
- Your baby continues to develop fat at the rate of half an ounce a day
- Your baby is getting rounder every day
- Your baby's skin is getting pinker and losing its wrinkly appearance
- Your baby continues to practice breathing movements.
At this point in pregnancy, if your baby is born, he or she is considered mature. This of course does not mean that he or she is done developing. For example, during the next couple of weeks, whether inside or outside the womb, he or she will continue to put on fat.
After week 37 of pregnancy, your cervix may start to dilate in preparation for labor. This means that the mucus plug that seals off your uterus from infection and bacteria will discharge from your body. The plug can discharge from your body weeks, days, or hours before you go into labor. The mucus plug is thick, yellowish, and may be tinged with blood. Be sure to speak with your healthcare provider about any discharge that you may be experiencing.
(Click Mucus Plug or What Does a Mucus Plug Look Like? for more information. You can also click Prelabor Signs to learn about other signs of prelabor. Compare these to true signs of labor by clicking on Signs of Labor)
Another change you may be noticing around 37 weeks pregnant is that your breasts are increasing in size and fullness. During the third trimester, hormones in your body cause your breasts to increase even more in size to prepare for breastfeeding. Your breasts can feel full and heavy, and they might be tender or uncomfortable. Wearing a well-fitting maternity or nursing bra will help you be more comfortable because these types of bras offer extra support.
Some pregnant women begin to leak colostrum in the third trimester. Colostrum is the first milk that your breasts produce for your baby. It is a thick, yellowish fluid that contains antibodies that protect new babies from infections. If leaking becomes a problem for you, you can purchase disposable or cloth nursing pads (that you can use when nursing your newborn) to place inside your bra.
Now and after delivery, it is a good idea to only wash your nipples with water instead of soap. Soap might cause the skin of your nipples to become dry, irritated, and cracked. If you do have skin cracks, which can be sore and painful, use a heavier cream that contains lanolin for extra moisture.