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Pregnancy at week 37

5-minute read

Your baby

Your baby is now considered full-term.

They have fully mature lungs and can grip firmly with their hand. Your baby’s digestive system won’t mature completely until they’re about 1 to 2 years old. Although by now, their gut contains sticky green meconium that will form their first poo after they are born.

Your baby should continue to move in the same pattern right up until they are born and even during labour. At any stage of your pregnancy, if you are concerned about your baby's movements, contact your midwife or doctor immediately. A slowing down of movement may be a sign that your baby is unwell.

Your body

Your baby may engage – move down into your pelvis – any time from now until the birth. This is more likely to happen if it’s your first baby. When your baby engages, you may start to feel a little more comfortable.

Many women notice their breasts leak colostrum (your first milk) towards the end of pregnancy. If this is bothering you, you can buy breast pads from your local pharmacy. You might also choose to start expressing and storing some colostrum in case it’s needed after birth. There can be many benefits to doing this before your baby is born.

You cannot predict when your labour will start since every labour is different. Even if you’ve had a baby before, there’s no way of predicting when and how this labour will start. Most women experience early signs of labour between 37 and 42 weeks of pregnancy.

Early signs of labour might include:

Things to remember

If you haven’t already stopped working, you will probably want to stop now.

Your parental leave can start up to 6 weeks before your due date, or earlier if you and your employer agree. Your employer can also ask you to produce a medical certificate saying that you are fit to work in the weeks before your baby is born.

In Australia, all employees are entitled to up to 12 months unpaid parental leave if they have worked for 12 months continuously for their employer. This can also include casual employees if they have been working regularly for the same employer.

Your employer may also offer you paid parental leave. You can talk to them about when you would like this to start. It’s a good idea to work out a budget to help you plan for taking time off work.

It’s also a good idea to stock the fridge for when you come home with your new baby, so you don’t have to think about cooking with a newborn.

Resources and support

Speak to your doctor, midwife or obstetrician if you have questions about your pregnancy.

Pregnancy, Birth and Baby also has more information on:

Speak to a maternal child health nurse

Call Pregnancy, Birth and Baby to speak to a maternal child health nurse on 1800 882 436 or video call. Available 7am to midnight (AET), 7 days a week.

NEXT WEEK...YOUR PREGNANCY AT WEEK 38 — Learn about your pregnancy journey and what is happening to you and your baby.

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Last reviewed: August 2023

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Need more information?

Pregnancy & work: rights & entitlements | Raising Children Network

Pregnant and working? Read this article for essential information on pregnancy and work, workplace rights, work duties, parental and maternity leave.

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UnIess your doctor tells you it is unsafe, you can continue working while pregnant. Read about managing your health and your career during pregnancy.

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Parents have rights in regards to workplace issues, parental leave, discrimination and breastfeeding. Financial assistance and benefits are also available.

Read more on Pregnancy, Birth & Baby website

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A payment for up to 100 days, or 20 weeks, while you care for a child born or adopted from 1 July 2023.

Read more on Centrelink website

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The law sets out the rights and responsibilities of parents when bringing up children. Find out more about parental rights on this page.

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Medicare provides all Australians (and some overseas visitors) access to a wide range of health and hospital services at low or no cost.

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Having a baby is an exciting time. There’s a lot of information about payments and services that can help with the cost of raising a child.

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Becoming a parent leaves many people feeling quite different about themselves, their priorities and even their place in the world as they begin adjusting to parenthood.

Read more on COPE - Centre of Perinatal Excellence website

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Many expectant parents will continue to work until late into their pregnancy. There are often several decisions to make around work during this time based on health, finances, family circumstances and professional needs. Supportive workplaces can help to make this transition a smooth process and there are also strategies you can do to assist in this transition.

Read more on Gidget Foundation Australia website

Call us and speak to a Maternal Child Health Nurse for personal advice and guidance.

Need further advice or guidance from our maternal child health nurses?

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