37 weeks are how many months?
Isn’t it great? You are just 3 weeks away from your due date. Time is flying and you are approaching the end of your pregnancy. Seems like only a few days back when you got this life-changing news that you have a little you growing in your womb. And here you are with your 37 week old baby. A bit excited and a bit nervous! Well, you are in your 9th month and the beautiful miracle of birth is due in 3 weeks.
When can you consider yourself full term?
You must have heard the word “term” a lot during your pregnancy. The word “term” defines the time required by your baby to be fully developed and completely ready to face the real world.
So, when are you considered term? The answer is simple; when you complete your 37 weeks. And the only meaning of all this to you is that your baby is now ready to be born.
However, the period beyond 37 weeks is further divided according to the maturity and risks to the baby.
From 37 completed weeks to 39 weeks, you are considered early term. From 39 completed weeks to 41 weeks you are considered full term. It is the best time to deliver your baby as it is associated with the least risk to the baby.
From 41 completed weeks to 42 weeks, you are in your late term and beyond 42 completed weeks you are considered post-term. Which means your doctor needs to interfere at this point.
Certainly, you can appreciate that there is a difference of 2 whole weeks between being a term and full term. Studies have shown that these 2 weeks save the baby from a great number of risks.
How big is your 37 week old baby?
With time your baby has grown big. Your 37 weeks old baby is now 2.8 kg and measures over 48 cm with the legs extended. Your baby is growing rapidly and gaining over 300 gms every week.
Is it safe to deliver at 37 weeks?
If you are thinking to deliver your 37 week old baby (3 weeks before the due date), you might want to consider it again. Studies have shown that babies born at 37 weeks are at a slightly greater risk of a number of complications including breathing difficulty, jaundice, sepsis, etc.
Naturally chosen due date is 40 completed weeks for all the pregnancies. So why hustle?
In contrary to this, some medical indications make the delivery at 37 weeks inevitable. As you should deliver when the risk of keeping the baby in the womb is greater than delivering. You have raised a fighter and, trust me, he can handle it.
Risks to babies born at 37 weeks
If the pregnancy is going smoothly and there is no risk to the baby, you should wait for the due date. As delivering your 37 week old baby is associated with a significantly greater risk of a number of conditions. The risks to babies born at 37 weeks include:
- Low birth weight
- Delayed milestones
- Respiratory distress (difficulty in breathing)
- Patent ductus arteriosus
Signs of labor at 37 weeks
It is pretty uncommon for pregnant ladies to go in labor at 37 weeks. But if for some reason it happens, you should be able to detect it. Here are some signs which will help you detect your labor at 37 weeks.
Losing mucus plug at 37 weeks
Losing mucus plug at 37 weeks is one of the surest things of upcoming labor. However, it is hard to notice especially when you are not looking for it. Furthermore, it can come out in small pieces instead of one big chunk, making it even harder.
And even if you find it, don’t panic. It was present right at the external opening of the vagina to secure the pathway from germs. Losing it means your labor is near.
Sometimes, you can find a significant amount of blood mixed mucus. It is called a heavy show. Pack your stuff and rush to the hospital since the baby is coming.
Rupturing membranes at 37 weeks
You have suddenly felt a gush of fluid coming out of your vagina. Don’t panic, it’s not urine or anything dangerous. The membranes covering your 37 week old baby has just ruptured i.e. your water just broke.
Mostly contractions start within 12 hours of the rupturing of membranes. Yes, the time has come.
Decreased fetal movements at 37 weeks
Sometimes, having 37 week old baby, the only sign you may feel before your labor is decreased fetal movements. Consequently, you will panic. But don’t worry it is a sign of labor.
What happens is that at the beginning of the labor, the contractions become stronger and painful. And perceiving your baby’s movements through a tense contracting uterus is quite hard. It gives you a false feeling of decreased fetal movements.
Diarrhea at 37 weeks
Diarrhea at 37 weeks, is a pretty common sign of commencement of the labor. It occurs because of the change in the pregnancy hormones which increases the downward gut movement causing diarrhea.
Not all 37 weeks pregnant ladies have diarrhea before labor. Similarly, not every 37 weeks pregnant lady complaining of diarrhea ends up in labor. However, the safest thing is to look for the other signs of labor and keep yourself hydrated.
Stronger contractions at 37 weeks
You have started feeling stronger and stronger contractions. These are more frequent, regular, painful, and pushing the baby downwards. No second thoughts, you are going into labor.
Try to stay calm. Take deep breaths and ask your partner to drive you to the hospital. Meanwhile, try to keep the record of labor. As it can help your doctor make a plan quickly.
Dropping down of your baby in your pelvis
If you are pregnant for the first time, you can feel a nice drop of your baby in the pelvis a week or so before pregnancy. It is the lightening effect and it goes away with subsequent pregnancies.
This happens for the baby to come into the perfect position for the delivery. Your gait becomes more waddling and you need to pee more frequently. Most noteworthy is the improvement in breathing which happens because the drop of baby leaves enough room for the lungs to expand properly.
Dilation of cervix
You are in your 37th week of pregnancy and you are starting to notice some dilation down there. It means you are close to labor.
What happens is that your baby pushes against the opening of the vagina which causes the cervix and vagina to dilate.
Surprisingly, before the delivery, your cervix dilates to 10 cm for the safe exit of the baby. Usually, there is a uniform pattern of dilation. However, most of the women dilate at their own pace. So don’t worry at all if your cervix dilates slowly or fastly. Let the doctor decide.
Change in the color of the vaginal discharge
Just before pregnancy, you may notice a distinct change in the amount and color of your vaginal discharge. A thick, slimy, or brown discharge at 37 weeks pregnant is a pretty common sign. And most of the time it proceeds the labor.
Changes in emotions 3 weeks before the due date
Your due date is approaching quickly and there is not enough time to plan. Your 37 week old baby will come out any time now. And you should prepare yourself well.
During this time of your pregnancy, your emotions change rapidly. At times, you are worried about the delivery procedure. You are horrified for anticipating all the pain and cries. The best way to divert your attention is to plan something beautiful and dear for your baby.
However, at times, the joy and happiness of almost completing your pregnancy will fill your emotions. Get ready, your baby is ready to knock at your door.