At week 36, your baby's growth will start to taper off as they begin to reserve energy for the arduous process of making it through the birth canal and the stress of the outside world. She has now shed the majority of her fuzzy covering (lanugo) and some of the vernix protecting her skin these past few months. Now for the weird part, the baby has been practicing her swallowing by consuming the amniotic fluid and the floating lanugo and vernix she's been floating in. These substances are part of the baby's first bowel movement, and they create a tarry black substance known as meconium.
Baby is using these last few weeks to put the final touches on her circulatory and immune systems, so she is ready for the real world. Once outside the womb, her immune system will get some assistance from the antibodies in the colostrum in breast milk, but it's still essential that her internal systems be ready to go. Luckily, the baby has been practicing the sucking and swallowing motion for a few weeks, so she is now ready for her first meal shortly after being born.
The baby should be making her way down into the pelvis and getting into position (head down) for delivery (lightening). At the end of the week, your baby is "early term." While it will be two more weeks before she is full-term, she should be in good shape for survival with only a minor intervention if the baby comes this week.
- American Pregnancy Association - Week 36
- American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologist - How Your Fetus Grows During Pregnancy