By Neus Ferrando Gilabert BSc, MSc (embryologist).
Last Update: 10/10/2015

At week 36 of pregnancy, the baby measures about 46 cm long, and weights 2.8 kg approximately. You will notice that fetal movement diminishes due to a simple reason: there is no much room left for him to move in your uterus.

If labor occurred at this point, all his organs would be fully functional outside the mother’s belly. In principle, there would be no reason for his health to be compromised.

The following sections will help you learn more about the symptoms to expect and fetal development during this week of pregnancy.

The different sections of this article have been assembled into the following table of contents.

Symptoms to expect

The most common symptoms during this week are related to discomforts caused by the size of your belly, including bloating and a sensation that you’ve run out of oxygen. Let’s get straight to the details of each:

Fatigue and bloating

During this week, it is totally normal that you feel tired and too heavy. Aside from the extra weight and the excessive volume, you may experience trouble walking. As regards eating, it is normal that you don’t feel very hungry. We recommend that you do all five meals a day, but in low quantity.

Drowning sensation

Another common discomfort of 36-week pregnant women is a constant drowning sensation. Even if they breath deeply, they feel as if their bodies were unable to collect enough oxygen.

Don’t worry for the baby, he or she is getting enough supply of oxygen. This is just a sensation that occurs as a consequence of an enlarged uterus, which is located now under your ribs and compresses the lungs.

Cephalic presentation of baby

It is likely that your baby turns to the cephalic position during this week or the weeks ahead. When this occurs, you will notice that acidity diminishes, improving your breathing capacity, and reducing the drowning sensation.

It is just the method the baby uses to prepare for birth. If you are a first-time mom, when your baby turns to the cephalic position, you will notice more pressure in your lower abdomen, reaching the bladder. Walking becomes very uncomfortable in these cases, and it is likely that you need to pee more often.

Fetal development

At week 36, your child is almost fully developed, with his lungs being almost fully functional. The nails of fingers and toes have grown and reach the fingertips.

Another process that takes place during this week to get the baby ready for birth is the development of fat pads around the body. This fat acts as a temperature regulator that prevents the baby to go through a sudden temperature change when the descend through the maternal uterus starts. On the other hand, it makes the passage through the vagina easier.

By the end of this week, the baby measures 46 cm long, and weights about 2.730 g on average. If the weight ranges between 2.320 and 3.520 g, you shouldn’t be concerned, as these values are considered normal as well.

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Authors and contributors

 Neus Ferrando Gilabert
BSc, MSc
Embryologist
Bachelor's Degree in Biology from the University of Valencia (UV). Postgraduate Course in Biotechnology of Human Assisted Reproduction from the Miguel Hernández University of Elche (UMH). Experience managing Embryology and Andrology Labs at Centro Médico Manzanera (Logroño, Spain). More information
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