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37 weeks pregnant

When you are 37 weeks pregnant, symptoms can include feeling sick and heartburn. This week your baby should ‘engage’, which means it will move into position for you to give birth.

Week by week stages of pregnancy: week 37

In week 37 of pregnancy, your baby will usually engage. This means their head has moved down into your pelvis ready for the birth, although it doesn’t mean birth is imminent. In this position they have more room and you should feel the difference as there’s less pressure on your diaphragm, ribs and stomach. This may ease the typical symptoms of pregnancy at 37 weeks such as feeling sick, heartburn, indigestion and needing the toilet frequently.

When they engage they should be head down with their back against your belly. This is called ‘occiput anterior’ (OA) and is the best position for labour. The majority of babies are in this position, but some babies aren’t. 

There are suggested ways (although not proven 100% effective) of improving your babies’ position such as trying to sit leaning forward with your hips are above your knees. There is still time to move your baby before birth so can consider giving it a go.

Around 3-4% of babies are in the breech position for birth.  When a baby is born breech – this can be ‘feet first’ or ‘bottom first’ – there is a greater risk of complications. If your baby is still breech at 37 weeks and your pregnancy is otherwise straightforward, your midwife or GP should offer you the opportunity to have external cephalic version or ECV. This is where an obstetrician, in hospital, turns your baby and over half of breech babies can be turned this way.

During the procedure the doctors hand’s are placed on mum’s abdomen around the baby. The baby is moved up and away from the pelvis and gently turned, in several steps, first to a sideways position and finally so she is in a head first position.

At 37 weeks pregnant, signs of labour can also arise including increased discharge, 'nesting' instinct and Braxton-Hicks contractions.   

Having twins?
If you are expecting twins, you will now be ‘at term’ and soon be welcoming your babies into the world.  The majority of twin pregnancies will run to week 37 and it is very unusual for a twin pregnancy to last more than 40 weeks. For more information about twin birth call our Pregnancy and Birth line or visit TAMBA

Further help and information

NCT's helpline offers practical and emotional support in all areas of pregnancy, birth and early parenthood: 0300 330 0700. We also offer antenatal courses which are a great way to find out more about birth, labour and life with a new baby.

Join in with NCT on Facebook and Twitter - it's a great way to make new friends and stay in touch with old ones. Or joint our community for new parents on Google+ where you can connect with other parents online who are experiencing similar things.