What could it mean when a woman starts cramping at 36 weeks into her pregnancy? Is this normal or is it an indication of some health problem? In this following article, we will study this phenomenon in more detail. Continue reading for more information.
And so the 36th week pulls on. You cannot fathom how big you’ve gotten and every time you stand in front of the mirror, it seems like the belly has gotten bigger. While the due date is almost there but yet a few weeks away, and you’re counting the days till it happens, you suddenly begin to experience cramping in the stomach. Throughout your pregnancy, there have been those signs of common health conditions like nausea, backache and morning sickness that afflict a pregnant woman. But this cramping has been around for quite a while and it won’t go. That is starting to worry you a little. What could cramping at 36 weeks mean?
What’s the Connection
It is perfectly normal for you to be cramping at this stage in your pregnancy. It’s your body’s way of preparing you for the impending labor. Let’s understand what is going on with the body during this time–this will help you deal with the condition better.
Symptoms in the 36th Week of Pregnancy
- The baby has fully developed at this stage and the body will start preparing itself for labor.
- The baby moves lower in your abdomen and towards the birth canal. As the due date approaches, the body will push the baby downward.
- There will be an overall discomfort and a feeling of being full and bloated, because the baby will press against the abdomen and stomach lining. Result? You might find it difficult to eat a full meal.
- The tendency to urinate all the time will be felt. This is because the baby has been pushed lower and is now pressing against the bladder. This results in the increase of pressure on the bladder.
- Cramps will be felt, either as a dull ache that come and go, or as something that lasts for a long time. It is this phenomenon that we will be studying in more detail in the following section.
Cramping and What it Means
These cramps will resemble the menstrual cramps that most women suffer from during their monthly cycles. Given the proximity of the cramping to the due date, it comes as no surprise that most women will mistake this for going into labor. While that is a very rare possibility, it is one nonetheless. Thus getting oneself checked by one’s gynecologist is always recommended to rule out a premature labor and birth.
In most cases though, cramping during the 36th week of pregnancy is not an indication of going into early labor, it is on the other hand, caused because the body is going through certain changes in preparation of the labor. What are these changes?
The most common form of cramps that are experienced during this period, and continue till the end of pregnancy are the Braxton Hicks Contractions. These do not indicate that the woman is going into labor, but they do resemble real labor to a great extent. What sets them apart from real labor is the fact that these contractions pass off after some time. Real contractions will become stronger, appear closer together, and become more painful as time progresses. Braxton Hicks contractions might become more intense towards the end of the pregnancy term, but they will pass off after a period of time. It is necessary to be in constant touch with your gynecologist and let her know what you’re going through. Sometimes a checkup might be necessary to rule out the chances of early labor.
Experiencing bouts of cramping at night? It could simply be because of the position of sleeping that you’ve assumed. Sometimes a position (and this depends on each individual woman) that has been assumed will add pressure to the back or the stomach and lead to cramping. Though this is in no way a monopoly of the night, the cramps could come about while you’re taking a nap during the day as well.
Many women might also experience diarrhea accompanied with cramping, which is normal. Unless it is severe and chronic and stretches over 2 – 3 days, in which case, you need to consult your gynecologist.
There are certain other phenomenon that might occur a few days before labor and are an indication that the body is preparing the woman for labor–these include the dilation of the lower section of the uterus and the falling of the muscus plug. While these are indications that labor is close, it might be a few days before the actual labor starts.
In most cases, these cramps will come and go on their own and one can employ certain home remedies like sipping on warm water, using a warm water bag or sleeping with your legs elevated to relieve the pain from cramping. The cramping is after all a good indication for you to be prepared for bringing the baby home soon.