In your 36th week of pregnancy, your fetus is 34 weeks old.

The baby weighs about six pounds or 2,750 grams, and it measures more than 13.5 inches or 34 centimeters from crown to rump.

The baby is continuing to grow and fill out during this “finishing period,” even though it may feel like there isn’t any room left. Many of the wrinkles smooth out as he or she plumps up.

The disc-shaped placenta is aging; if you could to look at it under a microscope, you would see signs of old age! Click here for an illustration of the placenta. The placenta doesn’t function as well in the last weeks of pregnancy as it did in the earlier stages; this may contribute to the onset of labor, although researchers don’t agree on what exactly causes labor to start. After you give birth and the placenta is expelled, it will die because it no longer has a blood supply.

You have probably gained about 25 to 30 pounds; you may not put on much more before delivery.

The baby could “drop” at any time now, meaning the baby’s head (or other presenting part) settles into your pelvis in preparation for birth. Click here to see illustration. This could happen a few weeks before labor, or not until labor has begun. When the baby drops , you may find it a little easier to breathe and you won’t have as much heartburn because there isn’t as much pressure below your lungs and stomach, but everything down below gets squished, so prepare for gas, possible constipation and some new aches and pains. Ah, motherhood.

This week, your practitioner may want to do a culture of your vagina and rectum to look for Group B Streptococcus. If it’s present, your doctor or midwife will treat it during labor.
Week 36 Action Plan

Here are some things to consider doing now:

* The Big Trip. Plan how you will get to the hospital or birthing center when you begin labor. If you are taking your car, find out exactly where you should go, how you should drive there, how long the trip takes, and what parking is available. If you are taking a cab, find out how long the trip will take, how much it will cost, and how long you will have to wait for the cab. Be sure you know exactly how to get there and what entrance you should use. If you are using public transportation, make sure you are familiar with the route and schedule for all times of the day and night.

* Fill ‘er up. Make sure you have gas in the car — at least half a tank from now until delivery. The filling station is not somewhere you’ll want to stop on the way to the hospital.

* Family & friends phone list. After you have the baby, whom do you want to tell? Make a list of the people you or your partner will call to share the good news. List names and phone numbers in the order that they should be called so there’s no confusion when you’re trembling with excitement. Don’t forget quarters or a phone card! You may have a phone in your room, but your partner may want to make calls while you rest.