Guide to Being 36 Weeks Pregnant

What's Going on in Your Body

Your baby is fully developed -- even crying -- at 36 weeks. He's about 20 inches long and weighs about 6 pounds. Only his digestive system hasn't been tested yet, because he's still getting all his nutrients through the umbilical cord. For the remainder of your pregnancy, the little guy's purpose is putting on fat. He'll gain about half a pound every week until delivery.

You, on the other hand, will probably see your weight gain stop as amniotic fluid levels decrease in preparation for birth. Your body is pushing infection-fighting antibodies through your placenta to get the little guy ready for life on the outside, and he may settle lower into your pelvis. This drop, or lightening, makes breathing easier, urinating urgent and waddling unavoidable.

From now until delivery, you'll have weekly doctor visits. Your doctor will check your baby's heartbeat and examine your stomach to estimate his size and determine how he's positioned. In addition to your normal exam, you'll be checked for cervical dilation and given instructions for notifying your doctor or midwife when you go into labor.

And since you're not in this alone…