What to Expect at 36 Weeks Pregnant – Common Symptoms and Tips for Comfort

Being 36 weeks pregnant marks an important milestone in your pregnancy journey. At this gestation, you are nearing the end of your third trimester and getting ready to welcome your little one into the world. As you prepare for the final weeks of pregnancy, it is essential to be aware of the common symptoms and signs you may experience.

At 36 weeks, you may start to feel more uncomfortable due to the increasing size of your baby bump. As your baby continues to grow, you may experience backaches and pelvic pressure. It is important to find ways to alleviate discomfort, such as using supportive pillows and practicing gentle exercises.

Another common symptom at 36 weeks pregnant is Braxton Hicks contractions. These contractions, often described as tightening or squeezing sensations in your abdomen, help prepare your body for labor. While Braxton Hicks contractions are usually mild and irregular, it is essential to differentiate them from true labor contractions.

As your due date approaches, you may also notice an increase in vaginal discharge. This is entirely normal and is a sign that your body is preparing for labor. However, if the discharge becomes watery or bloody or is accompanied by intense pelvic pressure, it is essential to contact your healthcare provider as it may indicate the start of labor.

In addition to physical symptoms, you may experience emotional changes at 36 weeks pregnant. It is common to feel excited, anxious, and a mix of other emotions as you anticipate the arrival of your baby. It is important to take care of your mental well-being during this time, such as practicing relaxation techniques and seeking support from loved ones.

Remember, every pregnancy is unique, and not all women will experience the same symptoms at 36 weeks. It is important to communicate any concerns or unusual symptoms with your healthcare provider for appropriate guidance and care.

Decreased Fetal Movement

At 36 weeks pregnant, you may experience a decrease in fetal movement. This is normal at this stage of gestation and should not immediately cause alarm. As your baby grows, there is less space for them to move around, so their movements may become less frequent and more subtle.

However, it is important to monitor your baby’s movements and inform your healthcare provider if you notice a significant decrease in activity. Your healthcare provider will be able to assess the situation and determine if any further action is needed.

Symptoms of Decreased Fetal Movement
1. Fewer kicks or movements
2. Weaker or less forceful movements
3. Different patterns of movement
4. Slower movements or no movements for a longer period of time

It’s important to note that every pregnancy is unique, and what may be considered decreased fetal movement for one woman may be normal for another. Trust your instincts and seek medical advice if you have any concerns.

Remember to continue monitoring your baby’s movements and reach out to your healthcare provider if you have any questions or concerns. They are there to support you throughout your pregnancy journey.

Braxton Hicks Contractions

At 36 weeks of pregnancy, many women start experiencing Braxton Hicks contractions. These contractions are often referred to as “practice contractions” because they are the body’s way of preparing for labor. Braxton Hicks contractions are typically irregular and do not indicate that labor is imminent.

Being aware of the symptoms of Braxton Hicks contractions can help pregnant women differentiate them from real labor contractions. Braxton Hicks contractions often feel like a tightening or squeezing sensation in the abdomen. They can be accompanied by pressure or discomfort in the pelvis. These contractions may also cause the belly to become firm to the touch.

Although Braxton Hicks contractions can be uncomfortable, they are usually not painful. They typically last for about 30 seconds to two minutes and may occur intermittently throughout the day. Some women find that changing positions, drinking water, or taking a warm bath can help alleviate the discomfort of Braxton Hicks contractions.

Gestation varies for each pregnancy, so some women may start experiencing Braxton Hicks contractions earlier or later than others. If you experience any unusual or persistent symptoms, such as regular contractions before 37 weeks, severe pain, vaginal bleeding, or a decrease in fetal movement, it is important to contact your healthcare provider.

Overall, Braxton Hicks contractions are a normal and common part of pregnancy. They are a sign that the body is preparing for the upcoming labor and delivery. While they can be uncomfortable, they are usually not a cause for concern. Enjoy the remaining weeks of your pregnancy and know that soon you will be holding your little one in your arms!

Increased Back Pain

During pregnancy, many women experience an increase in back pain, and at 36 weeks gestation, this symptom can become more pronounced. The growing baby puts pressure on the lower back and pelvic area, leading to discomfort and pain.

Some signs and symptoms of increased back pain during pregnancy include:

  • Constant or worsening pain in the lower back
  • Pain that radiates to the hips and buttocks
  • Pain that worsens when sitting or standing for long periods
  • Difficulty finding a comfortable position
  • Pain that is relieved when lying down

To help alleviate back pain during pregnancy, there are several measures pregnant women can take. Using a support belt or maternity pillow can provide added support for the back and relieve some of the pressure. Practicing good posture and avoiding heavy lifting can also help prevent further strain on the back.

Additionally, gentle exercises and stretches specifically designed for pregnant women can strengthen the back muscles and provide relief. It’s important to talk to a healthcare provider before starting any exercise routine during pregnancy.

When to Seek Medical Attention

While back pain is common during pregnancy, there are cases where it may be a sign of a more serious condition. Pregnant women should seek medical attention if they experience:

  • Severe back pain that does not improve with rest or changes in position
  • Pain accompanied by other unusual symptoms, such as fever or difficulty urinating
  • Sharp or shooting pains in the back or legs
  • Any concerns or questions about their back pain
Weeks Pregnant Symptoms
36 Increased back pain

Swollen Feet and Ankles

One of the common symptoms of being 36 weeks pregnant is swollen feet and ankles. This swelling, also known as edema, is caused by the increased pressure of your growing uterus on the blood vessels in your pelvic area. As a result, your body retains more water and fluid, which can lead to swelling in your lower extremities.

You may notice that your feet and ankles appear larger than usual and feel tight and uncomfortable. The swelling may be more pronounced at the end of the day or after prolonged periods of standing or walking. It can also be accompanied by a feeling of heaviness or achiness in your legs.

To help alleviate swelling in your feet and ankles, try these tips:

  • Elevate your legs whenever possible, keeping them above your heart level.
  • Avoid standing or sitting for long periods of time.
  • Wear comfortable shoes with good arch support.
  • Avoid tight-fitting socks or stockings that can restrict circulation.
  • Stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water.
  • Avoid excessive salt intake, as it can contribute to fluid retention.

While swollen feet and ankles are a common sign of pregnancy at 36 weeks gestation, it’s important to mention any sudden or severe swelling to your healthcare provider, as it can sometimes be a sign of a more serious condition called preeclampsia. Your healthcare provider can evaluate your symptoms and provide appropriate guidance to ensure the health and well-being of you and your baby.

Difficulty Sleeping

One of the signs of pregnancy is difficulty sleeping, and at 36 weeks gestation, many pregnant women experience this symptom. As the pregnancy progresses, women may find it more challenging to find a comfortable sleeping position due to the size of their baby bump. This can lead to restless nights and frequent waking.

There are several reasons why pregnant women may have difficulty sleeping at 36 weeks. First, hormonal changes can cause disruptions in sleep patterns. The body produces higher levels of progesterone, which can make women feel more tired but can also lead to increased nighttime awakenings.

The physical discomfort of carrying a baby can also make it hard to find a restful position. The added weight and pressure on the back, hips, and pelvis can cause discomfort and pain. Many pregnant women also experience heartburn, which can worsen when lying down, making it harder to fall asleep or stay asleep.

Here are some tips to help alleviate difficulty sleeping during pregnancy:

1. Supportive pillows: Using pillows to prop up the belly or provide support to specific areas can help create a more comfortable sleeping position.

2. Relaxation techniques: Practicing relaxation techniques, such as deep breathing or meditation, before bed can help calm the mind and prepare for sleep.

3. Limiting fluids before bed: Drinking fewer fluids before bed can help reduce nighttime trips to the bathroom.

4. Avoiding stimulating activities: Engaging in stimulating activities, such as watching TV or using electronic devices, close to bedtime can make it harder to fall asleep.

Remember, difficulty sleeping during pregnancy is common, but if you are experiencing severe insomnia or have concerns about your sleep patterns, it is always a good idea to consult with your healthcare provider.

Shortness of Breath

Shortness of breath can be a common symptom at 36 weeks of gestation. As your baby grows, it can put pressure on your diaphragm and lungs, making it feel harder to breathe. This can be especially noticeable when you are active or lying down.

While shortness of breath is often a normal part of being pregnant, it can also be a sign of something more serious, such as preeclampsia or anemia. If you are experiencing severe or persistent shortness of breath, it is important to contact your healthcare provider to rule out any potential complications.

In most cases, practicing good posture, taking frequent breaks when active, and wearing loose-fitting clothing can help alleviate the symptoms of shortness of breath. Additionally, practicing deep breathing exercises and staying hydrated can also be beneficial.

If you are finding it difficult to catch your breath or are experiencing other concerning symptoms along with shortness of breath, it is important to seek medical attention right away. Your healthcare provider can determine the cause of your symptoms and provide appropriate treatment if necessary.

Increased Urination

One of the signs and symptoms of being 36 weeks pregnant is increased urination. As your pregnancy progresses, your body goes through various changes, and one of them is an increase in the frequency of urination. This is mainly due to the pressure that the growing baby puts on your bladder.

During this stage of pregnancy, your baby is continuing to grow and develop, putting additional pressure on your bladder. This pressure can lead to more frequent trips to the bathroom, sometimes even waking you up at night.

Your body is also producing more fluids during pregnancy, which adds to the increased need to urinate. Additionally, as your baby grows, they can start to shift positions and press against your bladder, causing the urge to urinate more frequently.

It’s important to stay hydrated during pregnancy, so it’s normal to drink more fluids. However, this may contribute to the increased urge to urinate as well.

If you’re experiencing increased urination during the 36th week of gestation, it is important to remember that this is a normal part of pregnancy. However, if you notice any pain, burning sensation, or other changes in your urine, it’s always a good idea to let your healthcare provider know as it can be a sign of a urinary tract infection.

Common Causes of Increased Urination During Pregnancy:
Pressure on the bladder from the growing baby
Increased fluid intake
Baby’s shifting positions

Managing increased urination during pregnancy can be challenging, but there are a few things you can do to make it more manageable. You can try emptying your bladder completely each time you go to the bathroom, wearing panty liners for any leaks, and avoiding liquids before bedtime to minimize nighttime disruptions. If you have concerns or questions about your urination patterns, always consult with your healthcare provider.

Nesting Instinct

Being 36 weeks pregnant is a sign that you are near the end of your pregnancy journey. One common symptom that many women experience during this time is the nesting instinct. This instinct is a strong desire to prepare your home for the arrival of your baby.

At 36 weeks pregnant, you may find yourself cleaning, organizing, and setting up the nursery. This sudden burst of energy and motivation to get everything in order is a natural part of pregnancy. It is believed to be an instinctive behavior that helps mothers prepare a safe and comfortable environment for their newborn.

Signs of the nesting instinct

There are several signs that you may be experiencing the nesting instinct at 36 weeks pregnant:

  • Feeling the urge to clean and declutter your home
  • Organizing and rearranging furniture
  • Going on a shopping spree to buy baby essentials
  • Washing and folding baby clothes
  • Setting up the crib and other baby furniture

If you notice any of these signs, it’s a good idea to listen to your body and give in to the nesting instinct. It can be a productive way to channel your energy and prepare for the upcoming arrival of your little one.

Enjoying the nesting phase

The nesting phase is a special time during pregnancy. It allows you to focus on creating a nurturing environment for your baby. Take advantage of this burst of energy and make the most of it. However, it’s important to listen to your body and not overexert yourself. Pace yourself and take breaks when needed.

Remember, the nesting instinct is a normal part of pregnancy. Embrace it and enjoy the process of preparing for your baby’s arrival. Soon enough, you’ll be welcoming your little one into a home that’s ready and waiting.

Pelvic Pressure

Feeling pelvic pressure is a common symptom at 36 weeks of pregnancy. The growing baby and uterus can put increased weight and pressure on the pelvic area, leading to discomfort.

The pelvis may feel heavy or achy, and you may experience a sensation of pressure or even pain in the lower abdominal region. This can be especially noticeable when standing or walking for long periods of time.

While pelvic pressure is a normal part of being pregnant, it can also be a sign of certain conditions. If you experience severe or sudden pelvic pressure, along with other symptoms such as vaginal bleeding, fluid leakage, or decreased fetal movement, it is important to contact your healthcare provider immediately.

As you approach the end of gestation, the pelvic pressure may increase as the baby moves further down into the birth canal in preparation for delivery. This is known as “lightening” and is a common sign that labor may be approaching.

If you are experiencing pelvic pressure during your 36th week of pregnancy, it is generally nothing to be concerned about. However, if you have any doubts or concerns, it is always best to consult with your doctor to ensure the health and safety of both you and your baby.


During pregnancy, it is common to experience fatigue, especially as you reach the 36th week of gestation. This is because your body is working hard to support the growing baby and prepare for childbirth.

Feeling tired and having low energy levels are typical signs of being 36 weeks pregnant. Your body is undergoing numerous changes to accommodate the baby, including increased blood volume and hormonal shifts, which can contribute to feelings of fatigue.

Managing Fatigue

There are several ways to manage fatigue during pregnancy:

  • Getting plenty of rest and prioritizing sleep
  • Listening to your body and taking breaks when needed
  • Eating a balanced diet to provide the energy your body needs
  • Staying hydrated by drinking enough water
  • Engaging in gentle exercise, such as walking or prenatal yoga, to help boost energy levels

If your fatigue becomes severe or is accompanied by other concerning symptoms, be sure to consult with your healthcare provider. They can offer guidance and support to help you navigate the final weeks of your pregnancy.

Stretch Marks

At 36 weeks of gestation, it is common for pregnant women to start noticing the signs of stretch marks. These marks are a normal part of pregnancy and occur as the skin stretches to accommodate the growing baby.

Stretch marks typically appear as pink, red, or purple streaks on the skin and can be found on the abdomen, breasts, thighs, and buttocks. They may also feel itchy or sensitive. While some women may develop stretch marks earlier in their pregnancy, others may not notice them until later stages.

There is no guaranteed way to prevent stretch marks, as they are largely determined by genetics. However, maintaining a healthy diet, drinking plenty of water, and moisturizing the skin regularly can help improve the elasticity of the skin and potentially reduce the severity of stretch marks.

It’s important to remember that stretch marks are a natural part of the body’s response to pregnancy and should not cause concern. They often fade over time and become less noticeable after the baby is born.

Common Signs of Stretch Marks at 36 Weeks:
– Pink, red, or purple streaks on the skin
– Itchy or sensitive skin
– Found on abdomen, breasts, thighs, and buttocks
– Increased visibility as the skin stretches

Varicose Veins

At 36 weeks of gestation, pregnant women may experience the symptoms of varicose veins. Varicose veins are swollen and enlarged veins that commonly occur in the legs and feet. These veins may appear dark blue or purple and can be twisted or bulging.

Signs and Symptoms

The signs of varicose veins include:

  • Bulging veins
  • Twisted veins
  • Dark blue or purple color
  • Swelling in the legs and feet
  • Aching or throbbing sensation in the affected area
  • Heavy or tired feeling in the legs
  • Itching or burning sensation

Pregnant women are at an increased risk of developing varicose veins due to hormonal changes, increased blood volume, and the pressure exerted on the veins by the growing uterus. The weight gain during pregnancy also contributes to the development of varicose veins.

Managing Varicose Veins

Although varicose veins may not be preventable during pregnancy, there are ways to manage the symptoms:

  1. Elevate the legs to reduce swelling
  2. Wear compression stockings to improve blood flow
  3. Avoid sitting or standing for long periods
  4. Exercise regularly to improve circulation
  5. Avoid crossing the legs
  6. Maintain a healthy weight
  7. Avoid wearing tight clothes or shoes
  8. Avoid excessive heat, such as hot baths or saunas

If varicose veins cause significant discomfort or pain, it is advisable to consult a healthcare provider for further evaluation and treatment options.

Brisk Walking

Being 36 weeks pregnant and in the final stage of gestation, it’s important to stay active. One way to do this is through brisk walking. This low-impact exercise is safe for most pregnant women and provides numerous benefits.

Brisk walking during pregnancy helps to maintain cardiovascular fitness, enhances circulation, and prevents excessive weight gain. It also helps to prepare the body for labor and delivery by strengthening the muscles, particularly those in the legs, hips, and pelvic area.

Signs of a Good Brisk Walk

When engaging in brisk walking, there are a few signs to look out for to ensure it’s an effective workout:

  • A slightly increased heart rate
  • A light sweat
  • The ability to carry on a conversation, but with a slightly increased effort
  • A feeling of exertion, but not exhaustion

It’s important to listen to your body during brisk walking and not push beyond your limits, especially at 36 weeks pregnant. If you experience any pain, shortness of breath, or dizziness, it’s best to slow down or stop and rest.

Precautions for Brisk Walking

While brisk walking is generally considered safe during pregnancy, it’s important to take a few precautions:

1. Wear comfortable and supportive shoes to minimize foot and ankle strain.
2. Find a flat or gently sloping surface to walk on, as uneven terrain can increase the risk of falls.
3. Stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water before, during, and after your walk.
4. Engage in warm-up exercises, such as stretching, before starting your brisk walk.
5. Listen to your body and take breaks as needed. Overexertion can be harmful.

Overall, brisk walking can be a beneficial exercise during pregnancy, especially at 36 weeks. However, it’s always important to consult with your healthcare provider before starting any new exercise routine to ensure it’s safe for you and your baby.

Increased Vaginal Discharge

Gestation at 36 weeks signals the final stretch of pregnancy, and as the body prepares for labor and delivery, there are several symptoms that may arise. One common sign experienced by pregnant women during this stage is an increase in vaginal discharge.

Throughout pregnancy, the body produces more estrogen and progesterone, which can result in an increased amount of vaginal discharge. This discharge, known as leukorrhea, plays a vital role in maintaining the health of the vagina and preventing infections.

What to Expect

It is normal for the consistency, color, and amount of vaginal discharge to change during pregnancy. As the body approaches labor, it is common for the discharge to become thicker, sticky, and even slightly bloody, known as the “bloody show.” This is a sign that the cervix is beginning to soften and dilate in preparation for childbirth.

Vaginal discharge during pregnancy should generally be odorless or have a mild, slightly sweet scent. However, if the discharge has a foul odor, is accompanied by itching, or burns, it could be a sign of an infection, such as a yeast infection or bacterial vaginosis. It is important to consult with a healthcare provider if you experience any of these symptoms.

Managing Increased Vaginal Discharge

To manage increased vaginal discharge during pregnancy, it is recommended to wear breathable underwear and avoid tight-fitting pants or synthetic materials, as these can trap moisture and potentially lead to irritation or infection. Keeping the genital area clean and dry by gently wiping from front to back after using the restroom can also help prevent infections.

It is important to note that sexual intercourse and pelvic exams should be avoided if there is a significant increase in vaginal discharge or if there are any accompanying symptoms, as these activities can increase the risk of introducing bacteria into the vagina.

Overall, while increased vaginal discharge may be a normal symptom of pregnancy, it is essential to pay attention to any changes in color, consistency, odor, or accompanying symptoms, as these could indicate an underlying issue that requires medical attention.

Common Signs Weeks of Pregnancy
Increased Vaginal Discharge 36
Swollen Feet and Ankles 36-40
Braxton Hicks Contractions 36-40

Anxiety About Labor and Delivery

Being 36 weeks pregnant, you may start experiencing anxiety about labor and delivery. This is completely normal and understandable, as it’s a significant milestone in your pregnancy journey.

As the due date approaches, you may find yourself feeling a mix of emotions, ranging from excitement to fear and everything in between. It’s important to remember that each woman’s experience is unique, and there’s no right or wrong way to feel about giving birth.

Some common signs of anxiety about labor and delivery include:

  1. Worry about the pain: The anticipation of labor pain is a common concern for many pregnant women. It’s natural to wonder how you will cope with the pain and if you’ll be able to handle it.
  2. Fear of the unknown: Labor and delivery can be unpredictable, and not knowing what to expect can be anxiety-inducing. You may have concerns about complications, the timing of your baby’s arrival, or how your body will respond.
  3. Concerns about the well-being of your baby: It’s only natural to worry about the health and safety of your baby during delivery. This can include concerns about the baby’s position, the possibility of a medical intervention, or the overall outcome of the delivery.
  4. Feeling unprepared: Many women worry about not being fully prepared for labor and delivery. This might include concerns about not having a detailed birth plan, not knowing enough about the process, or feeling overwhelmed by the amount of information available.

If you’re feeling anxious about labor and delivery, it can be helpful to talk to your healthcare provider and express your concerns. They can offer reassurance, answer any questions you may have, and provide information about pain management options or birthing techniques that may help ease your worries.

Additionally, consider seeking support from other pregnant women or joining a childbirth preparation class. Talking to others who are going through a similar experience can be comforting and can provide you with invaluable insight and tips.

Remember, it’s normal to have some anxiety about labor and delivery, but try not to let it overshadow the excitement and joy of welcoming your baby into the world. Trust in your body’s ability to give birth and know that you have a supportive team of healthcare professionals ready to assist you throughout the process.