At 38 weeks pregnant, you are approaching full term. Congratulations! Your baby is getting ready to meet you after delivery. By the 38th week, your baby is likely to have already taken the birth position (head-down) and dropped into the pelvis. In this post, we will provide you with essential information about your body, baby, and the different symptoms to anticipate at 38 weeks pregnant.
Your Baby at 38 Weeks Pregnant
Your cutie is growing fast. He has now reached about 20 inches long and weighs approximately seven pounds. This is a remarkable increase from 6.3 pounds and 19 inches recorded in the 37th week.
This week, your baby is hard at work practicing the digestive system by swallowing chunks of amniotic fluid. This will form the first poop that you will see when changing the first diaper.
If you are pregnant with a baby boy, the testicles are descending. A firm scrotum is also developing fast. This descent is likely to continue even after delivery. If you are carrying a baby girl, her breasts will be slightly enlarged. This is caused by hormones and will change after delivery.
In the lungs, your baby is releasing more surfactant that allows the air sacs to practice without taking in air. The surfactant will also help in preventing air sacs from sticking together after delivery.
At 38 weeks pregnant, your baby’s brain, as well as the nervous system, is putting some final touches to be able to function independently after delivery. The two systems are developing specialized cells ad packing essential fats for proper functioning.
Note that although the eyes of your baby are well developed at 38 weeks pregnant, more time will be required for the right color to develop. For example, if your baby’s eyes appear grey, the ultimate color could change to blue, green, or remain gray. The reason for this is that your baby’s eyes could gain additional pigments that make the color become more noticeable.
Your Body at 38 Weeks Pregnant
At 38 weeks pregnant, your body is working hard to prepare for delivery. The most notable change in your body is the intensifying pressure in the lower abdomen. This is caused by the baby’s dropping into the pelvis and taking the birthing position. The weight exerted on your pelvis by your baby might pressure the pelvic nerves and give you a lightning bolt-like feeling.
Notably, your body is still adding more weight. Therefore, you are likely to feel heavier and find it hard to get comfortable sleeping and walking positions. Consider using clothes that make you feel comfortable all the time.
Around this time, your body is on overdrive, trying to pack more milk to nourish your baby after delivery. Therefore, you better check for a bigger and more comfortable bra to support the fast-changing breasts. Besides, the breasts are also likely to start leaking. Therefore, make sure to use super-absorbent breast pads.
38 Weeks Pregnant is How Many Months?
At 38 weeks pregnant, you are nearing the end of the pregnancy journey. You are now in the eighth month and about two weeks of your pregnancy. This means that only two weeks are remaining. Remember that although the calculations indicate that delivery is due in two weeks, you must be FULLY PREPARED for labor and delivery any moment from now. So, are you ready?
38 Weeks Pregnant Ultra Sound
Notably, you are unlikely to get an ultrasound at 38 weeks pregnant. But your OB might recommend one if your baby needs further observation. If you take a look at your baby at week 38 pregnant in an ultra sound, you will notice the fat being deposited under the skin to replace lanugo.
An ultrasound will further reveals your baby’s fully formed parts such as fingers, fingernails, and toes. Further, you might notice your baby making impressive gestures such as smiles and winks.
38 Weeks Pregnant Symptoms
Your pregnancy symptoms at 38 weeks pregnant are mainly associated with preparation for delivery. Your baby is now well developed and, therefore, ready for the outside world. So, here are the symptoms to expect:
As your baby drops to the pelvis, your bladder will experience additional pressure. This is likely to make you feel the urge to visit the washroom regularly. At this point, you should consider cutting diuretic drinks such as caffeine. Note that this does not mean reducing your uptake of good fluids such as water and broths. They are crucial in keeping your body hydrated.
Around this time, you are likely to experience some mucus discharge (mucus plug) from the vagina. This is the mucus that had all along helped to keep the cervix fully closed. As the cervix starts dilating, some of the mucus plug will be released through the vagina. It is important to note the mucus plug because it could indicate that labor might not be far away.
As the cervix dilates and releases some mucus plug, it is possible to get some tinge of blood in it. Like the mucus plug, be on the lookout and note when such blood shows start. They could be early indicators that labor is around the corner.
At 38 weeks pregnant, you are likely to be pretty tired after a lengthy journey. Thoughts of what awaits during delivery could make you feel even more exhausted. In the midst of this exhaustion, you might experience bursts of energy, also referred to as nesting instincts. Well, use the energy to prepare nursery for the baby, but ensure not to get too exhausted. That energy will be needed during labor and childbirth.
At 38 weeks pregnant, you are likely to have started experiencing practice contractions known as Braxton Hicks contractions. They are irregular and only last a short moment. But starting from week 38, the practice contractions are likely to start getting closer to each other. Therefore, it is prudent to ensure you differentiate between false and real labor. If you are unsure, make sure to seek help from your doctor.
Things to Do at 38 Weeks Pregnant
At 38 weeks pregnant, it is important to tell your mind that labor can start at any moment. With this in mind, your things to do in the week should consider the fact that you might need to head to the hospital at any moment. Have a look:
- If you have not packed all the components of the hospital bag, it is getting late. Make sure to do that right away. Remember also to ensure you carry the bag everywhere you go. This is important since you might not have time to rush home for the bag when labor starts.
- Prepare for postpartum meals. Once you are through with delivery, you will want to take most of the time resting and nursing the little cutie. To help you relax more, you should prepare postpartum meals now and stock the fridge. These are meals that are easy to prepare within minutes. Great options include stews, hearty soups, and mini meatloaves.
- Consider doing more squatting exercises. These are very crucial at this point because they help to dilate the cervix faster and reduce the time you take during labor. Consider combining squats with Kegels.
- If you have not decided the person you want to accompany you during labor and delivery, make sure to do that this week. This could be your partner, a close friend, or a professional. But if you are unable to decide, the medical staff will be with you all along. So, there is no need to worry.
38 Weeks Pregnant Checklist
- Book your 39 weeks pregnancy checkup.
- Confirm that all emergency telephone numbers are working.
- Talk to your baby as often as possible. This will work more effectively if you do it together with your significant other.
Questions to Ask Your Doctor at 38 Weeks Pregnant
- Now that my due date is approaching fast, what should I do to prepare for labor?
- My partner wants us to continue having sex. Is it safe for me and my unborn baby?
- Am I at risk of developing complications during labor and delivery?
- A couple of years back; I underwent a breast augmentation process. Will it be safe for me to breastfeed my baby after delivery?
- How effective are natural methods of pain management during labor and delivery?
At 38 weeks pregnant, the finishing line is only a stone throw away. While records indicate that you are about two weeks to the due date, the truth is that labor can begin any moment from now. So, keep all the requirements, including the hospital bag close, and be ready, finally, to hold your little angel in your arms. You’ve waited for this moment from the time you confirmed conception. The end is now in sight!