Pregnancy Week 36

Your baby's "rapid growth" period is coming to an end when you're 36 weeks pregnant. Find out how she will continue to develop, and take a look at our predelivery checklist so you're prepared for the big day.

Week by week baby size image. Week by week baby size image.

How big is baby?

At 36 weeks, your baby is about the size of a head of romaine lettuce, and her wrinkly suit of skin is filling out as she gets plumper.

Baby's Length: 18.66in.
Baby's Weight: 5.75lb.
Fetus at Week 36 What the baby looks like at week 36 of fetal development. Med ART Studios Explore More

Baby's Development

Your baby is working hard to accumulate all the fat she can at this point, and that layer of fat has now rounded out her face. This build-up of fat — about 15 percent of her total weight — will help her maintain her body temperature and give her a store of energy. Her sucking muscles, which are quite powerful, have also finished developing now, and are ready for their first real feeding. That means your baby's going to be hungry soon after she arrives.

Baby Week 36

Your baby is about the size of a bowling ball and weighs approximately 6 pounds.The bones on the top of your baby's head have not fully fused. This allows for some flexibility and give when your baby moves through the birth canal.Fetal kicks may actually feel more like a sliding motion now as your baby begins to run out of room.Your baby's bones have been storing calcium and have become stronger, but they are still somewhat pliable. The flexibility helps the baby accommodate the limited diameter of the birth canal without injury.
Week by week baby ultrasound image. Week by week baby ultrasound image. American Institute of Ultrasound in Medicine -

Week 36 Ultrasound

This image of your baby-to-be's face looks identical to the profile you'll be seeing in person in a few weeks (four or less!). For the remaining weeks, your baby will be adding 1/2 pound each week until birth.

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Watch Baby's Growth

What Week 36 of Your Pregnancy is Really Like

Mom's changing body

Does your belly feel a bit lighter these days? It's called dropping, lightening, or engagement, and it's common around this time, as your baby settles lower into your pelvis to get ready for her big move outta there. In a first-time mother, the baby often "drops" two to four weeks before delivery. Also at this time, your milk glands are expanding and filling with colostrum, thanks to an increase in the hormone oxytocin. This might make your breasts feel a bit lumpy.

Weekly Tip

You've probably been wondering how you will know when it's actually, really, truly time. When you feel light twinges or cramps that are regular and strong and coming every four to five minutes for one to two hours, call your doctor. Another signal is a painless leaking of fluid -- it means your water broke (actually your amniotic sac rupturing). Even if you don't start having contractions immediately, your baby will need to be delivered in the next 12 to 24 hours to reduce the chance of infection.

Pregnancy Confidential Podcast

New Parent Mistakes—How to Avoid What You Can and Accept What You Can't

Parenting is a tough job—one of the toughest you'll ever have. And, of course, it's rewarding. But entering into the new world of parenting, especially if this is your first, can feel totally overwhelming. First, know this: You WILL make mistakes. Also know this: Everything will be OK. Luckily, there are a few things you can learn now, while you're still pregnant, that will help smooth those initial bumps in the road—whether that's helping you avoid some easy mistakes, or simply knowing when to relax (a little) when the you­-know-­what hits the fan.

This Week's To-Do List