When you 37 weeks pregnant your baby may weigh 6.3 pounds and is roughly 19.1 inches long!
Changes In Your Growing Baby
Now is the time to cheer! Your baby has reached his final stages of growth and development, and you are entering the final part of your pregnancy week by week journey! Your baby may deliver anytime between pregnancy week 37 and beyond. At this point doctors consider most women full-term, meaning your bundle of joy will likely arrive perfectly healthy from here on out.
Despite this milestone your baby is still busy growing inside your uterus. Your baby is busy adding weight during 37 weeks pregnant. The longer your baby stays put, the more weight he’ll put on and the warmer he’ll feel after delivery!
Your Body’s Development
You may find that your uterus stops growing around 37 weeks pregnant. This is perfectly normal and nothing to fret about. Most women’s uteri stay roughly the same size between 37 weeks pregnant and delivery. You are probably measuring around six inches to six and a half inches above your navel by this point in time.
37 Weeks Pregnant Changes In Your Body
You may have gained 35 pounds by pregnancy week 37. Some women will find to their surprise that they actually lose a pound or two in the very final weeks of pregnancy. This is normal and will not harm your baby. Keep eating healthy and drinking plenty of water as you continue your pregnancy from this point on.
By now you are probably bursting with excitement to meet your newborn baby. If you haven’t packed a delivery bag you should do so now. You should also start talking with your healthcare provider about your plan of action for delivery. This will guide you when you do start having contractions and start labor. You might also consider drafting a birthing plan. This doesn’t have to be anything complicated, just a simple outline for you to convey your thoughts and preferences regarding labor and delivery to your healthcare team. Your birth plan may consist of nothing more than a list of preferences for delivery.
Right around 37 weeks pregnant your healthcare provider will take a group B strep test. Group B is a form of bacteria that lives inside the vagina or surrounding areas. Up to 35 percent of healthy mothers will have Group B in their vagina at one time or another. Typically this bacteria will not pose any health risks, unless of course you are pregnant.
When you have Group B during pregnancy, there is a chance your baby will get infected with the bacteria during labor and delivery. Typically Group B infections in newborns can be quite serious and result in a host of complications including sepsis (an infection of the bloodstream. In other newborns Group B infection may result in meningitis, which affects the lining of the fluid surrounding your baby’s brain. Most babies affected by Group B will start exhibiting symptoms in the first few days or weeks after delivery.
Fortunately you can protect your baby from infection. Which is why your doctor will perform a a culture to determine whether Group B is present in your vagina. If group B is present your doctor will likely prescribe a course of antibiotics for your before and during your labor. This will help minimize the risk that the infection will spread to your baby during delivery.
Some women are more at risk than others for Group B infection, including those that have delivered previously with a Group B infection, women who have a UTI during or around the time of delivery and women who rupture their membranes prior to 37 weeks pregnant. Hopefully in the future researchers will develop a vaccine to help prevent Group B infection and spread to newborns.