37 Weeks Pregnant: Your Pregnancy Journey Ends and Your Parenthood Journey Begins
Getting Ready for the Big Day
You're probably starting to get a little anxious about the day you finally get to meet your little one for the first time. But don’t let that excitement (or nervousness) distract you from taking care of yourself these last few weeks. It’s important for you to be well and rested for your delivery day.
37 Weeks Pregnant Diet—Stay Hydrated and Eat Well
It’s never too late to start healthy eating and nutrition habits. Make sure you are getting ten 8-fluid-ounce of water a day. Drink more if you are exercising. Try to eat meals that include plenty of colorful fruits and vegetables—they have phytonutrients that might not be in your prenatal vitamins. You’ll also want to include, or continue, taking an omega-3 supplement and choline during this period. Omega-3 has been linked to a baby’s birth weight, and cognitive and motor development, while choline is linked to spinal cord formation and early brain development. Always consult your doctor before making any changes to your diet.
Managing Swollen Feet & Ankles
While your body continues to stock up on blood and other fluids, your growing uterus may be slowing down your blood flow. This can all lead to swollen feet. It’s very common and not dangerous. Here are a few ways to manage the symptoms:
Don’t sit or stand for long periods. Take breaks often and take a brisk, brief walk to keep circulation and fluids moving.
Elevate your legs when possible. Sleep with your feet propped on a pillow to keep fluids from pooling in your lower body.
Lie on your side. Keep one or both knees bent. Use extra pillows for support.
Maintain regular exercise but be sure to check with your doctor before trying any new exercises.
Am I in Labor?
Only 5% of babies are born on their actual due date. This leaves many women wondering if the symptoms they’re experiencing are signs that labor has begun. While we don’t know exactly what triggers labor, there are some definite signs. The most common sign is when a woman’s water breaks. Water breaking is when the amniotic fluid that surrounds the baby bursts through the sac containing it and exits the woman. It can be a large gush or a trickle, and the fluid is sometimes confused with urine. Don't worry too much about your water breaking in public—for 9 out of 10 women, this happens after their contractions have already started, which should give you a chance to prepare. Your doctor may even need to break your water at the hospital; this is a procedure called an amniotomy. If you believe your water has broken, contact your physician immediately.
Is It Too Early to Give Birth?
It’s week 37, and final preparations in the womb have begun. You have a reason to celebrate: Your baby is considered full term! That means your baby has had sufficient time to develop for labor. Still, every day in-utero after 37 weeks helps with maturity. During the last few weeks, your baby is slowing down their growth; however, there is still a little room to grow. Essential fat (also called baby fat) will continue to form. This will round them out and help them stay warm after birth. Rest easy, mom–you’ve made it past the point of a preterm labor.