What to Expect When 37 Weeks Pregnant

Being 37 weeks pregnant means you’re nearing the end of your pregnancy journey. At this stage, your baby is almost fully developed and ready for delivery. While you’re likely eager to meet your little one, pregnancy still has some surprises in store during these final few weeks.

This comprehensive guide covers everything you need to know about being 37 weeks pregnant. We’ll explore common symptoms, fetal development, things to avoid, and how to prepare for labor and delivery. Let’s dive in!

Key Takeaways: 37 Weeks Pregnant

  • Baby is around 19 inches long and over 6 pounds now
  • You may experience increased vaginal discharge, lightning crotch, and more Braxton Hicks
  • Prepare your hospital bag and birth plan
  • Rest up but stay active with walks, stretches, and pelvic floor exercises
  • Avoid risky activities that could induce early labor
  • Monitor fetal movements and watch for decreased activity
  • Head engagement causes increased pelvic pressure and rectal pain
  • Schedule your 38-week prenatal checkup

Common Symptoms at 37 Weeks Pregnant

Your body is working hard during the home stretch! Here are some common symptoms you may experience at 37 weeks pregnant:

Increased Vaginal Discharge

As delivery approaches, you’ll likely notice more vaginal discharge. This discharge is called leukorrhea and is thin, milky white, and mild smelling. Wearing a panty liner can help manage increased discharge. Notify your doctor if the discharge changes colors, consistency, or smell as this could signal an infection.

Lightning Crotch

You may feel sporadic shooting pains in your vagina, rectum, or pelvic region. Called “lightning crotch”, these zaps are from your baby moving down into the pelvis and putting pressure on nerves. Try squatting, pelvic rocks, or getting on your hands and knees to relieve the sensation.

More Braxton Hicks Contractions

Braxton Hicks contractions, or “practice” contractions, ramp up around 37 weeks pregnant. You’ll experience more intense, frequent tightening that lasts 30-90 seconds before fading. Stay hydrated and try resting on your side to ease up contractions. Let your doctor know if they occur consistently or become painful.

Increased Heartburn

Heartburn strikes thanks to pregnancy hormones relaxing the valve between your stomach and esophagus. Avoid triggers like spicy or fried foods and eat smaller meals more frequently. Sleep propped up on pillows as well. Ask your doctor about safe antacids or acid reducers if symptoms persist.

Leg Cramps and Foot Swelling

Your growing uterus puts pressure on veins in your pelvis and legs, which can cause painful leg cramps, varicose veins, and swollen ankles or feet. Stretch your legs before bed, massage the area when cramps strike, and prop your feet up periodically throughout the day.

Increased Fatigue

Carrying around extra pregnancy weight is tiring! Rest up whenever possible. Take short naps, go to bed earlier, and sit down frequently. Say no to unnecessary obligations so you can conserve energy.


Difficulty sleeping is common as your due date approaches. Find comfortable positions using pillows, practice relaxation techniques before bedtime, and avoid screens and caffeine at night. Listen to soft music or podcasts if your mind is racing.

Frequent Urination

Frequent pee breaks continue as your growing baby bump puts pressure on your bladder. Unfortunately, trips to the bathroom several times a night are to be expected. Limit fluids before bedtime to help minimize nighttime wake-ups.


Hemorrhoids are swollen veins in your rectum that can be painful and itchy. They’re common during late pregnancy due to constipation and increased pelvic pressure. Treat hemorrhoids by soaking in a warm bath, using witch hazel pads, and asking your doctor about topical ointments.

Skin Changes

Pregnancy hormones can cause changes like stretch marks, skin tags, darkening areolas, and the linea nigra (dark line) down the belly. Moisturize daily with belly butter or oil to relieve itchy, tight skin. Know these changes are normal and will likely fade over time.

Fetal Development at 37 Weeks

Your baby has come a long way since those early weeks of pregnancy! At 37 weeks, a fetus is considered early term and nearly complete in their development. Let’s look at what’s happening with your baby as you near full term:

Size and Weight

Around 37 weeks pregnant, your baby measures about 19 inches in length on average and weighs roughly 6 1⁄4 pounds. Expect weight to increase around a 1⁄2 pound per week going forward. Babies are all different sizes though based on genetics and other factors.


There’s very little room left in your womb now! Your baby’s features are well-defined with plenty of baby fat. Wrinkles and fine hair called lanugo have disappeared. The lungs and digestive system continue developing this week.


By 37 weeks pregnant, most babies turn head down in the proper vertex position for delivery. Your doctor will check positioning at upcoming appointments. If baby is breech (feet or butt down), they may recommend techniques to shift position like acupuncture.

Brain and Lung Development

Your baby’s brain is rapidly developing. The lungs are nearly mature now as well. Surfactant production ramps up to prepare for breathing air after delivery. Some babies born now have no issues, while others may need brief respiratory support.

Responding to Stimulation

At 37 weeks, your baby reacts strongly to noises, light, and touch. Play music, read aloud, and massage your belly to stimulate them. Pay close attention to fetal movement patterns this week. Decreased activity may signal distress and warrant a call to your doctor.

While every pregnancy is unique, you can usually expect your 37 week old baby to weigh around 6 pounds and measure about 19 inches as they near full development. Their features are becoming more defined and adorable by the day!

Things to Avoid When 37 Weeks Pregnant

You’re so close to delivery now! Here are some things to avoid during your 37th week to keep you and baby safe and reduce risks:

Activities That Can Induce Labor

It’s tempting to try getting labor going with long walks, spicy food, and raspberry leaf tea, but resist the urge! Going into premature labor now could lead to complications. Only engage in suspected labor induction techniques under your doctor’s guidance.

Rigorous Exercise

Light walking and pregnancy yoga are still encouraged, but avoid strenuous workouts involving weights, jumps, or jerky movements which could injure you or stress your baby. This is a good time to switch to pregnancy-safe modifications.

Excessive Stress

High stress levels release hormones that could trigger preterm contractions. Make time to relax. Try prenatal massage, reading, baths, and other activities you find calming. Don’t sweat the small stuff right now.

Heavy Lifting and Bending

Avoid lifting heavy objects, intense housework, and repetitive motions like bending and twisting. Ask your partner, friends, or family for help with tasks like carrying laundry, vacuuming, and scrubbing tubs. Take it very easy.

Hot Tubs and Saunas

Warm baths are fine, but avoid getting overheated in hot tubs, steam rooms, or saunas. The high temperatures raise your core temperature which can be dangerous for your baby. Stick to short, lukewarm baths instead.

Certain Foods and Drinks

Some foods are more likely to cause heartburn, gas, or indigestion which you’ll want to avoid. Spicy, greasy, and acidic foods tend to be common triggers. Limit caffeine intake as well to keep baby happier and your energy levels stable.

Sexual Intercourse

It’s normal for sex drive to decrease in late pregnancy as the body focuses on the upcoming delivery. Sex is okay with your doctor’s permission, but penetration and orgasms can trigger uterine contractions. Proceed with caution and avoid sex if you have signs of preterm labor.

Smoking, Drugs, and Alcohol

Always avoid smoking, secondhand smoke, illicit drugs, and alcohol during pregnancy. Exposure to these substances restricts oxygen and blood flow to your baby and can impair development. Be sure to avoid people smoking around you as well.

The end is almost here! Avoid anything high intensity that could strain your body or lead to early labor. Take it easy and listen to what your body needs right now.

How to Prepare for Birth at 37 Weeks Pregnant

You’ll meet your baby so soon! Here are some things to do at 37 weeks pregnant to get ready for delivery:

Pack Your Hospital Bag

Pack a bag for yourself and baby with essentials like:

  • Insurance cards and ID
  • Comfortable clothes and nursing bra
  • Toiletries like lip balm, lotion, and dry shampoo
  • Chargers, headphones, and entertainment
  • Slippers with grips
  • Going home outfit for baby
  • Car seat

Having everything ready to go will make the hospital stay smoother.

Install the Car Seat

Install your infant car seat base in the car well before your due date. Review the instructions or ask a technician to ensure it’s properly secured. This is a must-do item for transporting baby safely!

Confirm Your Birth Plan

Review your preferences for labor, delivery, and postpartum care with your partner and doctor. Consider options for pain relief, catching baby, breastfeeding, and newborn procedures. Discuss any changes to your plan before the big day arrives.

Prepare Older Children

If you have other kids, read books and have open discussions about becoming a sibling. Plan childcare for during the hospital stay and tell them what to expect. A calm and prepared older child will help your transition go smoother.

Organize Postpartum Space

Get your recovery area ready by tidying up, setting out essentials, and making space for any gifts. Place snacks, books, chargers, and comfortable loungewear within arm’s reach of your bed or nursing spot. A prepared space promotes rest.

Cook and Freeze Meals

Stock your freezer with healthy, easy to reheat meals like soups, chilis, and casseroles. This takes the pressure off cooking in early postpartum. Ask loved ones to contribute prepared dishes as well.

Relax and Rest Up!

In your final weeks of pregnancy be sure to slow down and relax as much as possible. Rest will give you the energy you need for labor and delivery! Massages, baths, naps, stretching out, and enjoying hobbies are all great ways to unwind.

Preparing your space, bags, meals, and birth plan will give you greater peace of mind as you await your baby’s arrival.

Staying Active at 37 Weeks Pregnant

You probably feel pretty heavy and tired at 37 weeks pregnant! Staying lightly active has many benefits like preventing stiffness, improving sleep, and prepping your body for labor. Here are some ways to safely stay active now:

Walk Daily

Low-intensity walking is an ideal exercise in late pregnancy. Aim for a few short, slow walks per day to improve circulation, ease aches and constipation, and support proper positioning. Stay hydrated and listen to your body’s limits.


The water supports your pregnant belly, taking pressure off your muscles and joints. Swim laps or do simple leg and arm exercises. Avoid overheating in hot tubs. Check with your doctor before swimming, especially if you’re high risk.

Prenatal Yoga

Look for prenatal yoga classes or videos designed specifically for third trimester pregnant women. Focus on gentle stretches, mindfulness, and controlled breathing techniques. Avoid poses that require lying flat on your back.

Pelvic Tilts and Rocks

Sit on an exercise ball and practice slow pelvic tilts and rocks. Swaying your hips this way promotes blood flow, tones muscles, encourages proper positioning, and relieves back tension. Do these daily if possible.

Kegels and Squats

Kegel exercises strengthen your pelvic floor for labor and recovery. Practice squeezing these muscles periodically throughout the day. Add in a few gentle squats as well to prep your body. Hold on to something sturdy for balance and take it slow!

Prenatal Massage

Schedule a prenatal massage with a therapist specially trained to safely work with expecting mothers. Massage eases muscular tension and pain, reduces stress, and improves circulation. Bonus – it just feels great!

At 37 weeks pregnant, low-impact activities like walking, swimming, light yoga, and squats are your new best friends. Listen to your body and don’t overexert yourself. Staying lightly active now prepares you for the main event!

What to Expect at 37 Weeks Pregnant Appointments

Prenatal checkups happen more frequently during the final stretch. Here’s what you can expect at your 37 week obgyn visit:

Fundal Height Measurement

Your doctor will measure from your pubic bone to the top of your uterus. This fundal height generally aligns with weeks pregnant. Measuring larger or smaller could indicate issues requiring further monitoring.

Fetal Heart Rate Check

They’ll listen to your baby’s heart rate using a Doppler device. A normal range is 110 to 160 beats per minutes. An irregular heart rhythm or low rate may warrant additional testing to check fetal well-being.

Head Engagement Check

By 37 weeks, your doctor can tell if your baby’s head is “engaged” in your pelvis and ready for delivery. Deeper engagement causes added pelvic and rectal pressure though. Let your doctor know if this discomfort is severe.

Strep B Test

If not already done, your doctor likely performs a vaginal and rectal streptococcal swab test this week to determine if you have this common bacteria. Positive results mean you’ll need IV antibiotics during labor to prevent transmission.

Kick Counts

You’ll be instructed on properly monitoring your baby’s movements daily. Timing wet diapers if your water breaks can be helpful too. Decreased fetal activity at this stage warrants immediate medical attention to ensure baby is not in distress.

Next Appointment

Your doctor likely wants to see you again in one week, at 38 weeks pregnant, to monitor progress and prepare for delivery! Ask any pressing questions you still have during this important prenatal visit.

Stay in close contact with your care provider during these final vital weeks. Speak up about any concerning symptoms and get medical attention promptly for decreased fetal movement or signs of early labor.

37 Weeks Pregnant FAQs

Still have questions about what to expect when 37 weeks pregnant? Here are helpful answers to some frequently asked questions:

Is my baby ready to be born at 37 weeks?

Most babies born at 37 weeks have excellent outcomes, though some may face short-term complications like jaundice, respiratory distress, or difficulty feeding. Every pregnancy is unique but rest assured your baby is nearing full development now.

How big is my baby at 37 weeks?

The average 37 week fetus measures around 19 inches long from head to toe and weighs approximately 6 1⁄4 pounds. However, size varies. Your doctor tracks your baby’s growth percentile to watch for issues. Expect some weight gain each remaining week.

How much should I be able to feel baby move at 37 weeks?

You should feel frequent movement like kicks, jabs, and rolls throughout the day at this stage, at least 10 times every 2 hours. Pay close attention to patterns and alert your doctor right away if you notice decreased activity which could indicate fetal distress.

What color is amniotic fluid at 37 weeks?

Healthy amniotic fluid is often clear or slightly yellow, pink, or brown tinged. Green or brown fluid may signal meconium in the womb and requires prompt medical review. Sudden gushing fluid that is clear, pink, or brown means your water likely broke. Call your doctor immediately if this happens.

How low should baby be in pelvis at 37 weeks? Is this painful?

As your due date nears, your baby descends deeper into your pelvis, applying more pressure against your bladder, cervix, and rectum. This added pelvic pressure is common but very uncomfortable. Try sitting on an exercise ball and ask your doctor about relief options.

When will I go into labor if I’m 37 weeks?

It’s impossible to predict exactly when labor will begin because every pregnancy is unique. Many women go into labor naturally between weeks 37-40. Others make it to 41 or 42 weeks before delivering. Don’t hesitate to call your doctor if you have signs of preterm labor before 37 weeks.

Make sure your questions are answered and you know what to expect in these home stretch weeks. Reach out to your care team for guidance on any concerning symptoms.

The Final Stretch!

You’ve made it to 37 weeks pregnant – almost to the finish line! Baby is nearing full development and ready to thrive outside the womb any day now. Try to relax and take it easy as much as possible during these final weeks of pregnancy.

Stay in close contact with your doctor, watch for labor signs, and don’t hesitate to be seen for decreased fetal movement or anything unusual. Now is the time to wrap up your birth plans and get your bags packed! Before you know it, you’ll be holding your precious baby.