What to expect at 38 weeks pregnant. Everything you need to know about your baby and your body as you head towards your final weeks of pregnancy.
You’ve reached 38 weeks pregnant and for many of you, you might just be days away from welcoming you’re little bundle of joy. After 9 long months, your pregnancy journey will soon be over. While this may be welcome news and the excitement of meeting your baby almost too much to bare, some new mums will say they miss being pregnant.
By this stage you’ve probably heard it all before, but believe it or not there are still some big changes going on in your body as you prepare to give birth.
Your baby is also getting ready for birth and the transition to life in the real world. At 38 weeks your little one is still growing (but at a much slower rate than in previous weeks) and shedding the vernix and lanugo.
Read on for more information about your baby and your body in your ninth month of pregnancy.
Your Baby at 38 Weeks Pregnant
At 38 weeks pregnant your little bun in the oven is pretty much fully cooked, but just waiting to prove a little longer. With just two weeks to go until they reach full term and their due date arrives, you’re baby has been preparing for life on the outside.
They’ll be shedding the lanugo – the fine, downy hair covering their body during pregnancy – as well as the vernix (the oily layer on their skin). At 38 weeks your baby may also be swallowing some of the amniotic fluid. Along with other waste products, this will end up in your baby’s intestines and pass as their first bowel movement. This is called meconium.
While considered to be late pre-term at around 38 and 39 weeks, there’s still some development changes going on. Your baby’s lungs are still maturing. They are continuing to produce more surfactant, which stops the air sacs in their lungs sticking together and making it easier for your baby to breathe.
The vocal cords have now developed, which means little one is ready to start crying (sorry!) as they try to communicate after birth. The nervous system is also continuing to develop and fine-tune for baby’s life outside the womb.
38 Weeks Pregnant Baby Size
By this late stage in your pregnancy, your baby’s growth rate will be slowing down. However, they will still be will be continuing to add fat, looking more and more like a gorgeous chubby little baby everyday.
At 38 weeks your baby now weighs around 7 pounds (or 3.2kg) and measures at 20 inches (about 48-51cm) head to toe. Your baby is about the size of a leek or a mini-watermelon by 38 weeks pregnant.
Your Body at 38 Weeks Pregnant
With just two weeks – or, at most, four – to go until your pregnancy journey is over, your body is busy preparing for birth
38 Weeks Pregnant Symptoms
In your final weeks, your pregnancy swelling – known as Edema – will likely become more noticeable. Your feet and ankles are the main areas affected as your body retains more fluid, but you may also notice swelling in your face and hands. Keep your liquids up and drink lots of water to lower your sodium levels and flush out waste products.
Unfortunately, at 38 weeks pregnant back pain a common symptom. As your baby grows and ‘drops’ into your pelvis, you may be more likely to suffer with lower back pain.
A rise in oestrogen has caused rapid blood flow to your uterus and has stimulated the mucous membranes. At this late stage – with the risk of miscarriage being extremely low – it can be normal to see some blood (or pink/red/brown discharge) after sex or a vaginal examination. This is because your cervix may be starting to dilate, causing increase sensitivity and higher chance of bruising.
As you become dilated, you may also pass the mucous plug. This is a clear mucous that’s been acting a bit like a cork in your cervix all throughout your pregnancy.
Colostrum is a pre-natal milk that will be a yellowish-cream in colour. You may notice a few drops leaking here and there. It’s not glamorous but it’s just your body preparing to breastfeed.
While some mums-to-be will have been plagued by nausea and sickness throughout their pregnancy, many of you will have left the morning sickness behind in the first trimester. In the last few weeks of pregnancy, however, it is not uncommon for nausea to return.
You may also experience loose bowel movements and diarrhoea in the last weeks of your pregnancy. This is nature’s way of making more room for your baby and can also signal that labour is just around the corner.
Itchy baby bump
As your belly hits it’s peak size in the third trimester, it may feel as though your stretched skin is reaching breaking point. This can cause soreness and itchiness at 38 weeks pregnant, try a moisture rich cream or body butter to soothe.
This is a classic symptom of pregnancy and is something to see beauty and loveliness in. You will be more prone to stretch marks if you’re fair haired or fair skinned. Throughout your pregnancy, keep your weight gain gentle and gradual to minimise these marks as much as you can.
As baby drops – meaning their head is now in your pelvis ready for birth – this makes less room for your bladder. As a result you may be making plenty more trips to the toilet.
Your about to bring a newborn into the world. With all the birthing plans and baby-proofing to think about, not to mention he excitement of meeting your baby for the first time, its no wonder you’re struggling to get to sleep.
Braxton Hicks Contractions
The ‘practice contractions’ may be more frequent and feel more intense as your due date approaches.
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