Welcome to week 36 of pregnancy — officially the start of month 9.
Your soon-to-be infant is eavesdropping more these days, thanks to a newly sharp sense of hearing, and he may also be possibly dropping lower into your pelvis.
This final month may bring extra joint flexibility (and less ideally, pelvic pain) as loosening and softening hormones kick in ahead of labor.
Your Baby at Week 36
Talk about a growth spurt! Your baby has gone from the size of a sesame seed to a six-pound, 20-incher in about six months time! That incredible rate of growth slows now for two important reasons. First, your little one is storing up the energy reserves he’ll need to get through labor and enter the world. Plus, if his body got much bigger, he’d have a really tough time fitting through the narrow alley of your birth canal...a tight squeeze no matter what.
Speaking of that journey, it’s a good thing for both of you that his bones are still flexible, enabling a gentler ride to the big meet and greet. Leading the way is his nifty noggin, featuring ingenious floating skull plates that overlap to allow the head to compress on the way out. When your little one emerges, you’ll notice a soft rectangular area on the top of his cute little head. This soft spot — or anterior fontanel — is where your baby’s skulls bones haven’t yet fused. They’ll close by the time he turns 18 months.
Final touches are making your baby ready for prime time. Blood circulation has been fine-tuned and the immune system is set to do battle with germs outside the womb. After birth your little fighter will continue to reap the benefits of your antibodies thank to your colostrum and breast milk. And speaking of that breast milk, baby’s digestive system is ready to accept liquid food — theoretically — since your little one still gets all his nutrition (and oxygen) from the placenta.
At a Glance
36 weeks pregnant is how many months?
If you're 36 weeks pregnant, you're in month 9 of your pregnancy. Only a few weeks left to go! Still have questions? Here's some more information on how weeks, months and trimesters are broken down in pregnancy.
How big is my baby at 36 weeks?
Forget your aching back — and everything else! — by trying to focus on your baby, who is now about 6 pounds and 18 to 19 inches long.
Growth will slow down in the coming weeks, both so your baby will be able to fit through the narrow passageway to the outside and so she can store up all the energy needed for delivery.
Fetal skull and bones
When you're 36 weeks pregnant, your baby's skull bones are not fused together yet so the head can easily (well, relatively easily) maneuver through the birth canal.
Your baby's skull isn't the only soft structure in her little body. Most of her bones and cartilage are quite soft as well, allowing for an easier journey into the world during delivery. But don't worry — they'll harden over the first few years of her life.
Baby’s digestion still needs to catch up
By now, many of your baby's systems are pretty mature, at least in baby terms, and just about ready for life on the outside. Blood circulation, for instance, has been perfected and your baby's immune system has developed enough to protect your little one from infections outside the womb.
Others, however, still need a few finishing touches. Once such notable example: digestion — which actually won't be fully mature until sometime after birth.
Why? Inside her little gestational cocoon, your baby has relied on the umbilical cord for nutrition, meaning that the digestive system, though developed, hasn't been operational. It will take the first year or two to bring it up to speed.
What to Expect selects products based on independent research and suggestions from our community of millions of parents; learn more about our review process. We may earn commissions from shopping links.