Pregnancy Week 36
Baby-To-Mommy, "I'm Almost Ready!"
Weighing in at about six pounds and more than 20 inches in length, your baby at week 36 is still gaining weight and rounding out. It won't be long now until he will make his debut. Some research indicates that your baby will release a signal to initiate labor. There are a few theories about how this happens. Some think that when the baby's brain is completely mature, a signal is sent to the fetal adrenal glands, which then secrete cortisol. This hormone may change the metabolism of estrogen and progesterone, which results in labor. Other research says that the fetal lungs, when they are mature, release signals as well as enzymes. This action triggers release of prostaglandins, which help to ripen the cervix and assist with uterine contractions. This theory is very possible, since the body does release prostaglandins around the time of birth.
The Amniotic Fluid Balancing Act
The amniotic fluid level in your uterus is relatively constant. Baby swallows a certain amount of the amniotic fluid each day and excretes it as urine. A balance is maintained daily. If the balance is upset, the amount of amniotic fluid will increase (polyhydramnios) or decrease (oligohydramnios). Both of these conditions are rare, with about eight percent of pregnancies affected by imbalance. If your health care provider is concerned about the levels of amniotic fluid in your womb, he will measure them via ultrasound during your pregnancy and take whatever action is necessary to alleviate the situation.
Enjoying These Last Weeks of Pregnancy
Physically, you are glowing with that incredible "pregnancy glow," although you may be feeling quite moody and clumsy. One thing you can do for yourself from this point is spend some time in the swimming pool. The lovely thing about water is that it gives you the sense of weightlessness and takes stress off the body. A light swim a few times a week can make the remaining weeks much more comfortable. Stay away from the hot tub until after delivery. However, you may want to take some nice warm baths to ease any of the discomfort in your legs and back. Many women find a warm bath pleasant and comforting as they come to the last weeks of their pregnancy.
Many women focus their attention on delivery from this week on. Whether this is your first pregnancy or your last, don't hurry the process. Take time to enjoy the feelings within your body as you nourish and grow your baby. There is nothing like the feeling of the baby moving around in your belly. When you look at the big picture, pregnancy is a few short months. Then the baby is born, he grows to be a teenager and then an adult. This is a precious time. Enjoy it.