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Week 37

Your baby could come any day now – and this would not be considered early.

Your baby is now "full term", which means that they're probably big enough, and mature enough, to survive in the outside world. However, you still may have to wait another few weeks.

If you're carrying twins, then you will probably give birth this week. Twin pregnancies rarely go beyond 38 weeks.

The Twins Trust has more information.

What's happening in my body?

Around 95% of babies will now be head down, facing their mother's back, which is the best position for labour.

When the baby's head moves down into the pelvis, it's said to be "engaged". You might see your bump drop a bit when this happens.

If your baby's still in the bottom-down position (breech), don't worry. There's still time for them to turn. Some babies don't move into place until labour starts.

When you're sitting down, try leaning forwards, with your hips above your knees. It's not a proven technique but many women say that it coaxes the baby into position, and it certainly will not do any harm.

You might find that you're getting more vaginal discharge now and Braxton Hicks contractions. These are the "practice contractions", which can feel uncomfortable but should not be painful.

You could also be getting a sudden urge to spring clean. That's your "nesting" instinct kicking in.

Just don't overdo it: you should try to rest as much as possible.

Talk to your midwife about group B strep

Group B strep is a common bacteria – up to 2 in 5 people have it living in their body.

If you carry group B strep while you're pregnant, there's a small risk it could make your baby seriously ill. Most group B strep infections in newborn babies are preventable.

For more information talk to your midwife, or visit the Group B Strep Support website.

5 signs that baby's on the way

Look out for these signs:

  1. The "show". You may see a sticky blob of mucus in your pants, which might be yellow or bloody. This is called a "show". This plug used to seal up your cervix and when it comes undone, this can be one of the first signs of labour. However, you may still have days, or even weeks to wait.
  2. Your waters break (rupturing of the membranes). Don't expect a massive gush like you see in films – it could just be a little "pop" and a trickle. The liquid should be clear. If it drips, then use a pad, not a tampon. Contact your midwife or doctor immediately if it's smelly or coloured.
  3. Back pain. This is caused by your baby's head on your spine. When their head meets your sacrum (tailbone) it can be quite uncomfortable!
  4. The urge to go to the toilet. This is caused by your baby's head pressing on your bladder or bowel. You may find that you wet or poo yourself. It's very common, so no need to be embarrassed.
  5. Contractions or tightening around your bump. It hurts when your bump goes hard, and then the pain goes away when the muscles relax. It feels like period pains to start with or a heavy dragging feeling in your pelvis and legs. Then your contractions get longer, stronger and more frequent.

When your contractions last for at least 60 seconds and come every 5 minutes, it's time to call your midwife or hospital. Phone straight away if:

  • you're losing blood
  • you're in too much pain
  • you're worried that something's wrong
  • your baby stops moving

3rd trimester pregnancy symptoms (at 37 weeks)

As your baby moves down into your pelvis, you may start to feel some relief from pregnancy symptoms such as heartburn, indigestion and needing to pee every 5 minutes.

Your signs of pregnancy could also include:

You may also experience symptoms from earlier weeks, such as:

Read Tommy's guide to common pregnancy symptoms.

What does my baby look like?

Your baby, or foetus, is around 48.6cm long from head to heel. That's approximately the length of a leek.

Your baby will be trying out different facial expressions, such as frowning and smiling. This is random and not linked to sadness or happiness.

By now, you will hopefully know when your baby's active and when they're calmer.

Composite. One side shows a foetus attached to the placenta by the umbilical cord. The foetus is recognisable as a baby. Other side shows a person holding a bunch of 4 leeks, resting on their arms.
Your baby is about the length of a leek.

Action stations

Read a little bit about postnatal depression and encourage your partner to do the same – either one of you could develop symptoms after the birth, although it's most likely to affect you.

More than 1 in 10 will develop this condition after they are pregnant, usually in the first year. Signs include low mood, lack of energy, sleeping problems and frightening thoughts.

It's important to get help from your doctor or health visitor if either of you develop these symptoms.

This week you could also...

Think about stopping work

You may be on your maternity leave now or about to stop work.

Find out how much maternity leave and pay you're entitled to.

Start doing pelvic floor exercises

It's a good time to tone up your pelvic floor muscles. Gentle exercises can help to prevent leakage when you laugh, sneeze or cough.

Get the muscles going by pretending that you're having a pee and then stopping midflow.

Visit Tommy's for more information on pelvic floor exercises.

Antenatal classes

Ask your midwife or doctor about online antenatal classes – they may be able to recommend one. The charity Tommy's has lots of useful information on antenatal classes and preparing you for birth.

Ask your partner if they would like to take part in the antenatal classes. Even if you've had children before, antenatal classes are still worth going to as you can meet other parents-to-be.

The NCT offers online antenatal classes with small groups of people that live locally to you.

Smoking, drinking and caffeine in pregnancy

Do your best to stop smoking and give up alcohol, and go easy on the tea, coffee and anything else with caffeine.

Ask your midwife or GP for support.

Vitamins in pregnancy

To keep bones and muscles healthy, we need vitamin D.

From late March/early April to the end of September, most people make enough vitamin D from sunlight on their skin. However, between October and early March, you should consider taking a daily vitamin D supplement because we cannot make enough from sunlight.

Some people should take a vitamin D supplement all year round, find out if this applies to you on the NHS website.

You just need 10 micrograms daily (it's the same for grown-ups and kids). Check if you're entitled to free vitamins.

Exercising in pregnancy

It's recommended that you do 150 minutes of exercise a week while pregnant.

You could start off with just 10 minutes of daily exercise – perhaps take a brisk walk outside. Check out Sport England's #StayInWorkOut online exercises (scroll to the pregnancy section).

Listen to your body and do what feels right for you.

Healthy eating

There's no need to eat for 2.

Now you're in the 3rd trimester, you may need an extra 200 calories a day, but that's not much. It's about the same as 2 slices of wholemeal toast with margarine.

You just need to eat a healthy balanced diet, with a variety of different foods every day, including plenty of fruit and veg. Have a look at our guide to healthy eating in pregnancy.

You may be able to get free milk, fruit and veg through the Healthy Start scheme.

Emotional and mental wellbeing

How are you today?

If you're feeling anxious or low, talk to your doctor or midwife, who can point you in the right direction to get all the support that you need. You could also discuss your worries with your partner, friends and family.

You may be worried about your relationship, or money, or having somewhere permanent to live.

Don't keep it to yourself – it's important that you ask for help if you need it.


Getting pregnant again is probably the last thing on your mind right now. However, now is a good time to start planning what type of contraception you would like to use after your baby is born.

Getting pregnant again could happen sooner than you realise, and too short a gap between babies is known to cause problems.

Talk to your GP or midwife to help you decide.

Talk to your midwife about newborn screening

You will be offered newborn screening tests for your baby soon after they are born.

These screening tests are recommended by the NHS because they can make sure your baby is given appropriate treatment if needed.

Your decisions about whether or not you want these screening tests will be respected, and healthcare professionals will support you.

Ask your midwife or doctor for more information about newborn screening.

More in week-by-week

Week 38

Your baby's full term now and could come any day!

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