Fetal Development Weeks 36 Through 40

Week 37

The finish line is finally within reach! At the end of this week, your baby is considered full term. That means that no special precautions will be taken to prevent labor if it begins -- from here on in, it's all systems go. Your baby is still squirming in her crowded quarters. Up until now, she's been gaining about a half-pound a week, but now growth slows to an ounce or so a week. That's a good thing, because almost all the available space in the uterus is filled up.

Through most of the pregnancy, the baby has relied on her mother for immunities against infections, but in the past few weeks, her own immune system has begun to develop. This process will continue after birth, and can be helped along by encouraging the baby to breast-feed. In the first days after birth, mom's breasts produce "colostrum," a thin fluid that fortifies the baby's immune system; the breast milk that follows is also chock-full of immunity-building benefits.

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