Your baby at 36 weeks
By 36 weeks, your baby's lungs are fully formed and ready to take their first breath after the birth.
The digestive system is fully developed and your baby will be able to feed if they're born now.
You at 36 weeks
From around now, you may be aware of a tightening feeling in your lower tummy from time to time. These are a normal part of pregnancy, known as Braxton Hicks contractions – your uterus is "practising" for the tightenings, or contractions, of labour.
Find out about signs labour may have started and what happens.
When contractions become longer, stronger and more frequent, it can be a sign that labour is starting.
Call your midwife or hospital when your contractions are in a regular pattern, coming every 5 minutes and lasting at least 60 seconds.
It can help to keep a record of how long your contractions are and when they come, so you can tell your midwife when you call.
Things to think about
- packing your bag ready for the birth if you're planning to give birth in hospital or a midwifery unit
- having all your important phone numbers handy (your midwife, hospital, any family and friends) in case labour starts
- if you have children already, making childcare arrangements for when you go into labour
- your pain relief options, including things you can do yourself
- epidurals: are there any side effects?
- how to position your baby at the breast
- how to bath your newborn safely
During childbirth, your midwife or doctor may offer to help avoid a tear or help the baby out by making a cut (episiotomy) between the vagina and anus (perineum) – find out why you might be offered an episiotomy and tips to help healing.
The Start4Life site has more about you and your baby at 36 weeks.
You can sign up for Start4Life's weekly emails for expert advice, videos and tips on pregnancy, birth and beyond.