Are you 37 weeks pregnant and experiencing a lot of movement and pressure? You’re not alone! Most women at this stage report feeling lots of movement, which is caused by the baby’s head dropping down into the pelvis in preparation for birth. This pressure can be uncomfortable, but it’s a good sign that your baby is getting ready to be born. There are a few things you can do to ease the pressure, such as using a birth ball to allow the baby more space to move, or leaning over a counter or table if you need to rest. Stay hydrated and keep morale up – soon enough your little one will be here!
Before we get started, let me introduce myself and why I’m someone you can feel safe listening to. Hi — I’m Hilary — The Pregnancy Nurse 👩⚕️. I have been a nurse since 1997 and I have 20 years of OB nursing experience, I am also the curly head behind Pulling Curls and The Online Prenatal Class for Couples. 🩺 I have helped THOUSANDS of moms who felt just miserable at 37 weeks try to make life more comfortable, safely. I can help you too!
It’s so important to understand 3rd trimester testing at 37 weeks — which we talk about in my free beginning prenatal class — come join me in there!
What does it mean when you’re 37 weeks pregnant and experiencing a lot of movement and pressure?
It means you’re normal. Baby has less room and you’re feeling every movement at this point. You’ll think that baby is a ninja star, when really they’re just shifting and adjusting to keep growing and thriving.
As baby moves and mother nature does her thing, they descend into the birth canal. Sometimes you’ll hear that a baby has “dropped” or they also call it “lightening” meaning the baby has descended into the birth canal.
Of course, you can also feel a lot of pelvic pressure even if baby isn’t into the birth canal. My babies don’t drop til’ the last hours before delivery and my pelvis was still VERY ornery.
If you’re feeling “lightening crotch” you might be interested in this post on hip pain during pregnancy.
What is happening in your body at 37 weeks pregnant
At 37 weeks pregnant, your baby is continuing to grow and develop. They are gaining about a half an ounce per day, and are considered to be in the “early term” stage. Most women report feeling a lot of movement at this point, as the baby’s head begins to drop down into the pelvis in preparation for birth. This pressure can be uncomfortable, but it’s a good sign that your baby is getting ready to be born.
Your body is also pushing more and more hormones to help your pelvis relax. That also makes other joints relax. You may feel more aches and pains than you have. Don’t worry once baby is born your body will head back to it’s normal phase.
It can easily feel like you’re not doing much for baby at 37 weeks, that you would prefer to be induced and get them out of you. However, baby is still doing SO many important things inside. You’re providing the best environment for them to grow, and you don’t have much longer!
The different types of fetal movement you may be feeling
There are a few different types of fetal movement you may be feeling at 37 weeks pregnant. The most common is the baby’s head dropping down into the pelvis in preparation for birth, which can cause pressure on the lower abdomen. You may also feel the baby kicking, and turning, around in your womb. Enjoy these movements, as they’ll likely be the last ones you feel before your baby is born!
Did You Know?
Fetal movements can vary from day to day and even hour to hour.
This is why I recommend kick counts starting in your 3rd trimestser. They are your BEST way of knowing if baby is safe. You’ll just sit and feel for baby to make 10 movements, and then note how long it takes. While the types of movements you feel do change towards the end of pregnancy, they should still be consistent and there. Otherwise you need to call your provider.
I detail how to do kick counts in this podcast that I think you’ll enjoy:
I also have a blog post about kick counts, if you’d prefer to listen.
Fetal Movement vs Contractions
Many people think that contractions are actually baby moving. Early contractions can be like this, and be awfully confusing. If what you think is “fetal movement” happens every 5 minutes or so, it might be worth tracking.
There are also going to be other signs of labor like:
- digestive issues (nausea or diarrhea)
- bloody show (although this is normal, if it feels like a lot call your provider — bright red bleeding is more disconcerting than brown, older blood)
- losing your mucus plug
- changes in discharge
I really recommend taking a prenatal class to explain all that though. It’s a pretty comprehensive topic, and you don’t want to miss something.
Why the pressure you’re feeling is normal
The pressure you’re feeling is normal and expected at this stage of pregnancy. This is due to the baby’s head dropping down into the pelvis in preparation for birth. While the pressure can be uncomfortable, it’s a good sign that your baby is getting ready to be born.
How can you relieve the pressure and discomfort you’re feeling without resorting to medication or other invasive measures?
There are a lot of things that you can do at home to make this more comfortable for you:
Pilllows — using LOTS of pillows when you sleep will help support your body into a good night’s rest. I recommend…
- A pillow between your legs to help support your hips
- A pillow under your belly to support it
Often a good pregnancy or body pillow can do these things.
It really is going to seem like such a large amount of pillows — but believe me, it’s worth it!
Take it Easy — you’re growing a human. Now isn’t the time to make yourself even more uncomfortable by doing things that might make you hurt more.
Stay Hydrated — Your uterus gets ornery when it isn’t hydrated enough, and will uselessly contract to let you know. This isn’t labor, it’s just being VERY uncomfortable.
Empty your bladder frequently — Yup, with staying hydrated, make sure you’re peeing frequently, holding your urine can make the pressure feel worse. Also, if this is all joined by burning when you pee or feeling like you’re peeing more than even normal, you might want to get your urine checked for a bladder infection.
What to do if the pressure becomes too much for you to handle
If the pressure becomes too much for you to handle, talk with your provider. They may have a physical therapist they can recommend.
Some women have good luck seeing a chiropractor as well. Check with your provider to see if they have one to recommend.
If your provider acts as this is all normal and they have no recommendations, push them by saying how much pain you are in and ask them what they can do to help. They could at least refer you to someone else.
While we don’t expect OB’s to be able to handle EVERYTHING In our bodies, they should be at least looking to help you find someone who can.
How to prepare for labor and delivery
Now that you’re 37 weeks pregnant, it’s important to start preparing for labor and delivery. There are a few things you can do to get ready, such as packing your hospital bag and gathering information about your care provider and the hospital.
You can take my free beginning class…. but in reality you don’t have a whole lot of time left!
It is NOT too late to get a full prenatal class. In just a few short hours you can feel SO much prepared for your birth. Did you know that families who take a prenatal class are 10% less likely to have a cesarean section? This class is:
- Just what you need — in just 3 hours I have you prepared, no fluff!
- Made for couples, to get your partner involved.
- Taught by an experienced and engaging nurse you’ll just love (we guarantee it)
And, if you’re not quite sure you’re ready for that whole thing, check out my free prenatal class. It’s your first step toward getting in the driver’s seat of your birth.
- About the Author
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A nurse since 1997, she has worked in various fields including pediatrics, geriatrics & hospice.
She has 20 years of labor and delivery experience in the San Jose, CA and Phoenix, AZ areas.