Week 34: Baby's fingernails grow

Thirty-four weeks into your pregnancy, or 32 weeks after conception, your baby's fingernails have reached his or her fingertips.

By now your baby might be nearly 12 inches (300 millimeters) long from crown to rump. The pasty white coating that protects your baby's skin — the vernix caseosa — is about to get thicker.

Week 35: Protective coating thickens

Thirty-five weeks into your pregnancy, or 33 weeks after conception, your baby's limbs are becoming chubby. Your baby is gaining weight rapidly — about 1/2 pound (230 grams) a week for the next month.

Week 36: Rapid weight gain begins

Thirty-six weeks into your pregnancy, or 34 weeks after conception, the crowded conditions inside your uterus might make it harder for your baby to give you a punch. However, you'll probably still feel lots of stretches, rolls and wiggles. You might want to check on your baby's movements from time to time (kick count) — especially if you think you've noticed decreased activity. Ask your health care provider how many movements you should detect in a certain number of hours.

Week 37: Baby is full term

Thirty-seven weeks into your pregnancy, or 35 weeks after conception, your baby will be considered full term. Your baby's organs are ready to function on their own.

To prepare for birth, your baby's head might start descending into your pelvis. If your baby isn't head down, your health care provider will talk to you about ways to deal with this issue.

Week 38: Baby develops a firm grasp

Thirty-eight weeks into your pregnancy, or 36 weeks after conception, your baby is developing a firm grasp.

Your baby's toenails have reached the tips of his or her toes. His or her brain might weigh about 14 ounces (400 grams). After birth, your baby's brain will continue to grow. Your baby has mostly shed all of his or her lanugo.

By now your baby might weigh about 6 1/2 pounds (2,900 grams).

Week 39: Placenta provides antibodies

Thirty-nine weeks into your pregnancy, or 37 weeks after conception, your baby's chest is becoming more prominent. For boys, the testes continue to descend into the scrotum.

The placenta continues to supply your baby with antibodies that will help fight infection after birth. If you breast-feed your baby, your milk will provide additional antibodies.

Week 40: Your due date arrives

Forty weeks into your pregnancy, or 38 weeks after conception, your baby might be about 18 to 20 inches (450 to 500 millimeters) long and weigh 6 1/2 pounds (2,900 grams) or more. Remember, however, that healthy babies come in different sizes.

Don't be alarmed if your due date comes and goes without incident. It's just as normal to deliver a baby a week or two late — or early — as it is to deliver on your due date.

Dec. 04, 2012 See more In-depth