Pregnancy at 35 to 38 Weeks
Medically reviewed by Drugs.com. Last updated on Oct 31, 2022.
What changes are happening with my body?
You are considered full term at the beginning of 37 weeks. Your breathing may be easier if your baby has moved down into a head-down position. You may need to urinate more often because the baby may be pressing on your bladder. You may also feel more discomfort and get tired easily.
How do I care for myself at this stage of my pregnancy?
- Eat a variety of healthy foods. Healthy foods include fruits, vegetables, whole-grain breads, low-fat dairy foods, beans, lean meats, and fish. Drink liquids as directed. Ask how much liquid to drink each day and which liquids are best for you. Limit caffeine to less than 200 milligrams each day. Limit your intake of fish to 2 servings each week. Choose fish low in mercury such as canned light tuna, shrimp, salmon, cod, or tilapia. Do not eat fish high in mercury such as swordfish, tilefish, king mackerel, and shark.
- Take prenatal vitamins as directed. Your need for certain vitamins and minerals, such as folic acid, increases during pregnancy. Prenatal vitamins provide some of the extra vitamins and minerals you need. Prenatal vitamins may also help to decrease the risk of certain birth defects.
- Rest as needed. Put your feet up if you have swelling in your ankles and feet.
- Talk to your healthcare provider about exercise. Moderate exercise can help you stay fit. Your healthcare provider will help you plan an exercise program that is safe for you during pregnancy.
- Do not smoke. Smoking increases your risk of a miscarriage and other health problems during your pregnancy. Smoking can cause your baby to be born early or weigh less at birth. Ask your healthcare provider for information if you need help quitting.
- Do not drink alcohol. Alcohol passes from your body to your baby through the placenta. It can affect your baby's brain development and cause fetal alcohol syndrome (FAS). FAS is a group of conditions that causes mental, behavior, and growth problems.
- Talk to your healthcare provider before you take any medicines. Many medicines may harm your baby if you take them when you are pregnant. Do not take any medicines, vitamins, herbs, or supplements without first talking to your healthcare provider. Never use illegal or street drugs (such as marijuana or cocaine) while you are pregnant.
What are some safety tips during pregnancy?
- Avoid hot tubs and saunas. Do not use a hot tub or sauna while you are pregnant, especially during your first trimester. Hot tubs and saunas may raise your baby's temperature and increase the risk of birth defects.
- Avoid toxoplasmosis. This is an infection caused by eating raw meat or being around infected cat feces. It can cause birth defects, miscarriages, and other problems. Wash your hands after you touch raw meat. Make sure any meat is well-cooked before you eat it. Avoid raw eggs and unpasteurized milk. Use gloves or ask someone else to clean your cat's litter box while you are pregnant.
- Ask your healthcare provider about travel. The most comfortable time to travel is during the second trimester. Ask your provider if you can travel after 36 weeks. You may not be able to travel in an airplane after 36 weeks. He or she may also recommend you avoid long road trips.
What changes are happening with my baby?
By 38 weeks, your baby may weigh between 6 and 9 pounds. Your baby may be about 14 inches long from the top of the head to the rump (baby's bottom). Your baby hears well enough to know your voice. As your baby gets larger, you may feel fewer kicks and more stretching and rolling. Your baby may move into a head-down position. Your baby will also rest lower in your abdomen.
What do I need to know about prenatal care?
Your healthcare provider will check your blood pressure and weight. You may also need the following:
- A urine test may also be done to check for sugar and protein. These can be signs of gestational diabetes or infection. Protein in your urine may also be a sign of preeclampsia. Preeclampsia is a condition that can develop during week 20 or later of your pregnancy. It causes high blood pressure, and it can cause problems with your kidneys and other organs.
- A gestational diabetes screen may be done. Your healthcare provider may order either a 1-step or 2-step oral glucose tolerance test (OGTT).
- 1-step OGTT: Your blood sugar level will be tested after you have not eaten for 8 hours (fasting). You will then be given a glucose drink. Your level will be tested again 1 hour and 2 hours after you finish the drink.
- 2-step OGTT: You do not have to fast for the first part of the test. You will have the glucose drink at any time of day. Your blood sugar level will be checked 1 hour later. If your blood sugar is higher than a certain level, another test will be ordered. You will fast and your blood sugar level will be tested. You will have the glucose drink. Your blood will be tested again 1 hour, 2 hours, and 3 hours after you finish the glucose drink.
- A blood test may be done to check for anemia (low iron level).
- A Tdap vaccine may be recommended by your healthcare provider.
- A group B strep test is a test that is done to check for group B strep infection. Group B strep is a type of bacteria that may be found in the vagina or rectum. It can be passed to your baby during delivery if you have it. Your healthcare provider will take swab your vagina or rectum and send the sample to the lab for tests.
- Fundal height is a measurement of your uterus to check your baby's growth. This number is usually the same as the number of weeks that you have been pregnant. Your healthcare provider may also check your baby's position.
- Your baby's heart rate will be checked.
When should I seek immediate care?
- You develop a severe headache that does not go away.
- You have new or increased vision changes, such as blurred or spotted vision.
- You have new or increased swelling in your face or hands.
- You have vaginal spotting or bleeding.
- Your water broke or you feel warm water gushing or trickling from your vagina.
When should I call my obstetrician?
- You have more than 5 contractions in 1 hour.
- You notice any changes in your baby's movements.
- You have abdominal cramps, pressure, or tightening.
- You have a change in vaginal discharge.
- You have chills or a fever.
- You have vaginal itching, burning, or pain.
- You have yellow, green, white, or foul-smelling vaginal discharge.
- You have pain or burning when you urinate, less urine than usual, or pink or bloody urine.
- You have questions or concerns about your condition or care.
Care AgreementYou have the right to help plan your care. Learn about your health condition and how it may be treated. Discuss treatment options with your healthcare providers to decide what care you want to receive. You always have the right to refuse treatment. The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.
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