giving birth at 34, 35, 36, and 37 weeks
What to Expect When Delivering Early Term
After months of waiting, your baby’s arrival is finally in sight! While 40 weeks is considered full term, many babies are born slightly “early term” between 34 and 37 weeks. Delivering in this timeframe is common and usually results in healthy outcomes. However, understanding what to expect can help you feel prepared. This guide covers the key points for mothers birthing at 34, 35, 36, and 37 weeks.
Birthing at 34 Weeks
Babies born at 34 weeks are considered late preterm. Your doctor will likely want to induce labor or deliver via C-section due to underdeveloped lungs and other risks. With medical care, the vast majority of 34-week newborns thrive, but may experience:
– Respiratory problems
– Low birth weight
– Delayed development
– Extended hospital stay
Discuss steroid shots and plans for NICU care with your OB well in advance. Be aware that delivering this early means your baby has a higher chance of complications.
What to Expect at 35 Weeks
By 35 weeks, your baby has reached a major milestone and is considered early term. At this stage:
– Important organs like lungs and brain are close to being fully developed
– Chance of complications decreases
– Less risk of long-term health issues
– May still have jaundice, breathing issues, low birth weight
– Often ready to leave hospital at same time as full term babies
While not ideal, giving birth at 35 weeks can result in positive outcomes, especially with proper medical care.
Birthing at 36 Weeks
Babies born at 36 weeks have very good prospects. At this point:
– Vital organs and body systems are fully developed
– Sucking and swallowing reflexes are strong for breastfeeding
– Greater birth weight around 5 1⁄2 pounds
– Minimal intervention required by medical staff
Delivering at 36 weeks means your baby may be sleepy and have poorer temperature regulation initially. But overall, they are well equipped for life outside the womb.
What to Expect at 37 Weeks
By 37 weeks your baby is at an advantage being “early term.” Now that you’ve made it this far:
– Considered full term by many doctors
– Average birth weight of 6 pounds or more
– Well developed lungs and organs
– Strong immunity and infection resistance
– Minimal or no medical issues
– Safe for vaginal or C-section delivery
Giving birth anytime from 37 weeks onward means your baby likely has all they need for a smooth delivery and transition earthside.
While every pregnancy journey is unique, hopefully this breakdown gives you more confidence in birthing anytime between 34 and 37 weeks. Trust your providers to guide you, lean on your support system, and welcome your little one whenever they decide to arrive!