36 Weeks Pregnant, off restrictions...Should I Avoid Self Inducing?

Updated on April 11, 2012
J.G. asks from Minneapolis, MN
17 answers

I just had my 36 week checkup and I'm "good to go" according to my doctor. She's taken me off all restrictions. My hubby was jokingly saying we are going to have lots of sex and eat spicy food to celebrate (clearly, he's never been pregnant or he would know that sex and spicy food doesn't sound like a good combo)...but the truth is I don't know that it will take much to send me into labor if I really tried.

I've been staving off preterm labor for WEEKS (like SIX weeks) and now I'm huge, and my feet are swollen and I'm in pain and frankly miserable. But at 36 weeks we have NO idea what it will take to send me into active labor. It could be as simple as Thai food and a passionate night with the hubs...but it could be weeks now. I could go to 41 weeks.

What I'm wondering is...do you think it's irresponsible to do something like have sex or whatever (the doctor recommended some good vigorous walks) when it could send me into labor before 37 weeks or "full term"....

Or do you think that if I wasn't meant to go into labor at this point, I won't even if I have sex. It's kind of speculation, really...just wondering what you'd do. I have been up to 2 cm dilated and regressed..did you even know that was POSSIBLE!? Apparently, it is.

Just thinking things through. I feel like my judgment is a little cloudy because I'm so exhausted and uncomfortable. Part of me want to avoid anything that might send me into labor. The other part is SO FREAKING MISERABLE that I'd almost just take my chances with the walking and the spicy food and see what happens. I wouldn't do anything like castor oil, though...and I've already had my steroid injection to mature his lungs since "labor" started so early.

Edit: this is my second child, and this has been a really difficult pregnancy. My son who is now 3 was born just shy of 35 weeks. He was healthy and went home with me but I realize how terribly fortunate we were. I was vigilant and when I had preterm
Labor symptoms the first time around, I was able to at least have the steroid injection. This time we've done a lot to avoid preterm labor despite having contractions 2-4 minutes apart for the last couple of weeks and all of the regular labor symptoms including cramping and diarrhea. And essentially ZERO progress. I've hardly slept. I don't want to jeopardize my baby in any way, but I am cracking up a bit. It's been too much for too long with very little relief. I'm crying easily about basically everything and I'm worried I'm going to be too exhausted for labor let alone the first few days and weeks after he's born.

That said, I'm thinking about what it means to "not try to" but also "not not try to" if you know what I mean.

What can I do next?

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answers from San Francisco on

I know you're miserable... but if you can walk around the neighborhood or go to the mall and walk around this will help a lot. I was a 5cm for days & 100% effaced for weeks.

Hang in there

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answers from Austin on

Rest. Sleep as much as possible.. It is going to be months before you get to sleep through the night.

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answers from Dallas on

If it were me? I would want that baby cooking for a few more weeks. I could barely walk the last month of my pregnancy. I would get contractions any time I did anything, it was awful. BUT, it's soooo much better for the baby to be more mature. It's not just the lungs, it's the baby being fully mature.

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answers from Washington DC on

If I were you? Put your feet up and rest or get the nursery together but remember that every day that you are still pregnant you are giving your baby the time to mature. 37 weeks is "full term" and you've already made it this far. I know you're uncomfortable, but I'd avoid rushing it. Definitely keep an eye on the blood pressure - that's what made my sister have an emergency c-section.

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answers from Gainesville on

As the mom of a preemie and a 37 weeker, I would strongly urge you to rest and wait for *baby* to decide when he/she is ready to come into the world. Every day that baby stays in utero is better for baby. I know you aren't feeling great right now but this is just the beginning of a lot of sacrifices you will make for the best interests of your little one.

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answers from Hartford on

Every single week of developing inside the uterus counts and is extremely important for that baby. If you intentionally tried to go into labor an entire month early, since that's what you're proposing, and you do go into labor, then yes it would be incredibly irresponsible. You shouldn't have any "progress" toward labor right now since you just got off of restrictions. You worked hard to make sure the baby stays put so why reverse all of that progress? Because you're tired of being pregnant? It's not worth it.

A full term pregnancy is only ESTIMATED to be 40 weeks. Some babies aren't ready until 41 or 42 weeks. Every baby is different, so you ought to wait until your body shows natural signs of being ready.

At 36 weeks, being "good to go" simply means that if you delivered now a month early chances are the baby would be healthy and thrive but there are still plenty of developmental things going on. The baby is doing more than jut gaining weight.

I do know what it's like to have incredibly hard pregnancies. I had hyperemesis gravidarium with each of my pregnancies. I have fibromyalgia that got progressively worse with each pregnancy. My body was and is a wreck thanks to having excessively difficult pregnancies. I went into preterm labor with two of my babies and delivered two of them as preemies. Every day they were inside me was blessed and important to them.

You will likely continue with prodromal labor from here on out, which is normal. But let the baby come when its ready. I'd rather be overly cautious than do something stupid.

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answers from Charlotte on

Please rest this week. Keep your swollen feet up. Drink water (64 ounces - not much more than that) all through the day to help flush out the water weight gain you've got. Get all your paperwork caught up, lists of who to call, phone numbers, email addresses. If you have bought the announcements, you should address all the envelopes.

Plan all the meals for when you get back from the hospital. Hopefully you can put some of them together easily and stick them in the freezer, marked as to what they are. Have the layette and nursery ready. Make lists of doctors numbers for the kids, what your husband needs in case of you not being able to help.

Your baby actually DOES need another week to bake. And "good to go" joking by the doctor doesn't mean that you should be doing "stuff" to push your uterus into expelling the baby. Have sex if you can stand it, NEXT week after the 37 week mark.

The lungs aren't the only things that need to develop - babies closer to the 37 week mark have other issues too. Just make sure that you see the doctor once a week at a minimum to make sure your swelling doesn't morph into preeclapsia. That is majorly important.

Good luck,

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answers from Alexandria on

I think you should wait until min of 38 weeks. From the medical standpoint, it's best to wait until that time. You may be miserable, but baby may still have a few things that are finishing developing. Like lungs, preterm babies are more likely to suffer from respritory problems. I don't mean NICU issues, common things like light to severe asthma, lower immune systems, more common respritory infections and allergies. Both of my sisters are nurses, sister in law is a perdiatric RN, there are several doctors in my family.

I, against their wishes, was induced at 38 weeks. My doctor said it was fine as well... My son, now almost 4, has asthma whenever he gets sick, for some reason is prone to getting respritory infections (RSV, Brochitis) over and over. He has problems with his ears as well.

Now that doesn't seem like it can all be linked to premature induction, but several studies show that it is.

The truth is, Doctor's can't 100% see what's going on in there :)

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answers from Chicago on

Here's my opinion. I was pregnant with twins. Talk about miserable. My twins ended up combining for over 16lbs of baby - my twins were 8lbs each. Again, talk about MISERABLE. My feet and legs were so swollen, I gained 8 lbs in three days!! I couldn't walk without crying. I tried grocery shopping a week before they were born, and I had to sit, fighting off the tears. I didn't sleep for the final months of my pregnancy, and I was ready to be DONE. I worked through 36 weeks as a teacher, and I kept joking that once I hit 35 weeks, I would do whatever it took to self-induce. But, the closer I got, the guiltier I felt. What if early labor ended up harming my babies? What if my desire to be done being pregnant wasn't what was best for my sons? I decided that I could be miserable for another few weeks. In the bigger picture, it's only a few more weeks of your time that could make a difference for your child. I wasn't ready to have my babies yet. Turns out, my body wasn't ready either. I never went into labor and had a scheduled c-section at 38.5 weeks.

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answers from Dallas on

I guess this must be your first baby...

Spicy food, walking, castor oil - those things wont work. Sex might. :)

I would try to rest and make sure that everything at your house is in order. Once the baby comes, you will feel better because you dont need to pee every ten minutes, but will be more tired than ever because you will need to wake up every two hours for a month or two.

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answers from Dallas on

I would not go crazy. If you dont' want to go into labor now!!!!!!!

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answers from Kansas City on

Kick back and let the baby come when he/she is ready. Cuddle up with your son and read some books together and enjoy having him to yourself for these last few weeks.

I'm sorry you feel so miserable! But I'm relieved that everything is going so well for you. Hang in there- and let the husband pamper you for a while!

Let us know when your little one arrives!

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answers from Provo on

I was on bedrest for months with preterm labor with my #2...I got taken 'off restrictions'...and thought I would be in the labor and delivery room within days...and I was...I dilated to a 4...and stalled. and stayed at that stinkin' 4 for 3 more weeks. I was sooo miserable! I was in the same boat...contractions 2-4 minutes apart...labor symptoms...ugh. Anyway...no real suggestions...just a 'been there, done that...I feel for ya'. I think some of us just cook 'em a bit faster. My daughter (#1) was born at 36 weeks...no problems at all...came home with me 24 hours later...born almost 6 1/2 pounds. The one I carried to 39 weeks was way bigger..I was so exhausted and so miserable from the pain of being in labor for months...it was the most difficult labor and delivery of all my children. I had no energy emotionally or physically for labor and delivery. I hesitate to say 'go for it' - because there is always 'that chance'...but I will say it was hard on me on many levels to go through what you're going through...

Sorry, I keep thinking of things to add...I've also heard (and based on my experiences over the past 4 pregnancies have found it to be somewhat true)...if you've gotten tributaline shots (spelling?)...it can stay in your system and make you more likely to go beyond when you would 'naturally' deliver...



answers from Fort Wayne on

If your doctor says you are "off restrictions" then you are off restrictions!
You don't have to eat spicy food, but marital relations could help move things along. ; )

If you are tired and ready to go, and the baby is healthy, then "go."

Of my 3 boys, one was born at 38 weeks, one at 37 and one at 36 (in that order) and all is fine!
Good luck!



answers from Minneapolis on

Congratulations! 36 weeks is a huge milestone. However, I would wait a couple of weeks if possible. My oldest was born at 36 1/2 weeks after 4 weeks of bedrest. He was 5 lbs, 9 oz, but lost a lot of weight after birth, going to under 5 lbs. for awhile. My 2nd made it to 38 weeks and was (IMO) a robust 7 lbs., 2 oz. Those last couple of weeks make a HUGE difference in weight gain and appetite. My oldest was so skinny and didn't eat well. He was gaining weight at 1/2 the recommended amount and I had to bring him in to the clinic every week to get weighed on the special scale and monitored. He was only 8 lbs even at 8 weeks. I had to record of all of his urination and bowel movements to make sure he was taking in enough breast milk. He was also VERY colicky, but my 2nd one was colicky too so I can't say it was because he was born early. Good luck.


answers from Houston on

Diareah is a regular labor symptom? I'm 36 wks with my 3rd child and I have never heard of that. Anyways, sex, spicy food and walking are thought to maybe help, but usually dont produce labor and are often thought of as old wives tales. Really, I would much rather be medically induced at a safer 38/39 weeks than go through the torture of possible methods that 'may' work. For now, drink lots of water and rest... That's what I'm doing at this point.



answers from Tampa on

I am just in awe that you actually feel like having sex at 36 weeks pregnant! That was the last thing I wanted by that time...

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