You are closing in on your big day, mum! You must be so excited to meet your little bundle of joy. As for week 38 of pregnancy, expect to feel your baby move around as he grows rapidly in your belly. Read on to know what more to expect as your third trimester comes to a close.
38 Weeks Pregnant is How Many Months?
38 weeks pregnant is about 9 months.
A full-term pregnancy lasts about 40 weeks, but it's common for expectant mothers to go into labour before that. If you're having a baby, knowing how many weeks you are in your pregnancy is helpful to track how much time is left until your due date and how long you've been pregnant overall.
Week 38 of Pregnancy: Baby
You may feel a little more tired than usual at this point in your pregnancy. You may also be feeling like there's just no room left in your body for the baby to grow.
The good news is that your baby grew a lot of hair on their head and face—which means that you'll soon see them smiling at you through all those adorable little hairs!
At week 38 of pregnancy, your baby is now the size of a leek, weighing 3.1 kg and 46.8 cm. They have more fat under their skin and look plumper now than in the previous weeks.
Baby is now considered full-term and has a good chance of surviving if born at this point.
You may be experiencing Braxton Hicks contractions. These are practice contractions in early labour, and they feel like the baby is pushing down from inside your uterus. They can be painful, but they aren't true labour contractions yet. However, since you're already on term, you should be on the lookout for signs that those are real contractions you're feeling.
Your baby's head has grown to one-third of his or her body size, and his or her body weight has doubled since last week. His or her liver and kidneys are almost fully developed, so your baby could survive outside the womb at this point!
Image courtesy: Pixabay
In this week-by-week pregnancy guide, you'll learn that:
- While most of your baby's organ systems may be fully developed and in place by now, their lungs have yet to reach maturity. In fact, even when born, it will take a while for them to develop a normal breathing pattern.
- Your baby's nails have been growing and now have reached the ends of their tiny fingers and toes.
- Your baby's eyes can be light-coloured, but they will gain more pigment months after they're born. Safe to say, you'll know their real eye colour when they turn a year old.
- Lanugo, the fine hair that covers your baby's skin to keep them warm inside your womb, is starting to shed, preparing for life outside the womb.
At week 38 of pregnancy, the baby's hearing is well-developed. The baby can hear you talking to them and will respond to your voice by moving. They'll also be able to hear the sound of your heartbeat and other sounds from inside their mother's womb.
Your baby's teeth are starting to develop now. These teeth will be in your little one's mouth when they are born, but they won't start coming in until they're about six months old. They'll come in through your baby's gums, which is why they may look swollen or red at this point.
The baby is moving around a lot now! Some babies are kicking, others are turning over and pushing up, and still, others may be moving their arms and legs around.
You can definitely feel your baby move when you place your hand on your belly or thigh. The movements might feel like butterflies fluttering or gurgling bubbles.
Your body is still changing, even at week 38 of pregnancy. You may have trouble sleeping because you're so uncomfortable, but the good news is that you should have a little more room to stretch out soon (even if it doesn't feel like it).
Some women start leaking amniotic fluid at this point in their pregnancy, but don't worry—this is normal!
Week 38 of Pregnancy: Your Body
At 38 weeks pregnant, your baby is almost ready to be born!
The placenta has been doing its job by ensuring the baby gets everything it needs from your body. But now that your baby is getting bigger and heavier, the placenta will release more fluid into your amniotic fluid. This helps cushion the impact of birth on your baby's head.
You may notice that you are leaking urine from both ends (your bladder and vagina). This happens when the baby presses down on your bladder during contractions. It does not mean that you're going into labour—it's just a sign that things are progressing as they should be!
38 Weeks Pregnant Symptoms
- Chances are your feet and ankles are swollen. However, if you experience swelling in your hands and face or if you experience puffiness around your eyes, immediately call your doctor.
- You must be wary of preeclampsia symptoms, including severe headaches, blurred vision, nausea, vomiting, and intense abdominal pain. Should you experience any of these symptoms, immediately call your doctor or rush to the hospital.
- At week 38 of pregnancy, your breasts may begin leaking colostrum, a thin yellowish liquid precursor to breast milk. Colostrum is packed with antibodies to protect your newborn from infections. It has more protein, less fat, and less sugar than breast milk which arrives later.
- Your legs and the vaginal area will begin to feel uncomfortable as your baby goes down your pelvis and pushes against some of your nerves. It's also more likely that you are peeing more often than usual. Not to worry, this will happen for a few weeks more.
- You may be having heavier vaginal discharge. You can also be leaking amniotic fluid now. Also, watch out for a clear, yellow or brown glob of mucus that’s been corking your cervix throughout your pregnancy - that's your mucus plug and an indication that labour is coming very soon.
- You may or may not be having contractions at this time. This is why it's really important to learn how to tell real contractions from Braxton Hicks contractions.
Maternal Weight Gain
You've made it to week 38 of pregnancy, which means your baby is just a few weeks away from being born. If you're feeling ready to meet him or her, that's great news! But if you're still not quite there yet, don't worry—you've got plenty of time to get there.
Your body has been working hard to prepare for this moment, and now it's just about ensuring everything is in order before you deliver.
If you haven't gained any weight since your last appointment, don't worry—your doctor isn't going to ask how much weight you've gained. He or she will be more concerned with whether you have enough fat stores for breastfeeding after delivery (and for keeping up with your baby's growing needs).
So if you're worried about not gaining enough weight during pregnancy, ensure you eat healthy meals and snacks throughout the day.
At 38 weeks pregnant, your baby is almost ready to make its appearance! At this point, the baby will weigh around 6 pounds and be about 20 inches long. It has grown a lot in the last few weeks and has enough fat to maintain body temperature outside the womb. The baby's organs are also fully formed and functioning as they should.
The mother's nutrition is also important because she needs to start eating healthy foods that will help her produce breast milk for her newborn. If you're looking for healthy snacks during pregnancy week 38, try out bananas or whole fruit instead of processed foods like potato chips or candy bars.
Eating well helps ensure your baby gets the nutrients it needs to grow and develop properly. Your body is working hard to support both of you, so you must also take care of yourself.
You may feel tired at this point in your pregnancy, but don't let fatigue get in the way of eating well: try drinking smoothies packed with nutrients or making small meals throughout the day instead of one big meal at night (especially if it's not very filling). And remember: if cravings are getting out of control, try sticking with water or milk instead of junk food!
Image Source: Shutterstock
Pregnancy Care: Your Checklist For Week 38 of Pregnancy
- If your breasts are leaking colostrum, place nursing pads in your bra to protect your clothes. On the other hand, even if you do not experience leakage, colostrum is still being produced in your breasts as it is the nutrition your baby will need when you breastfeed.
- Double-check your list of what your nursery needs. Ensure that you have everything you need before the baby comes.
- Shop for your breast pump if you intend to express milk. Here's a comprehensive guide on how to buy the perfect one. Do also buy breast pads and nursing bras.
- Continuously monitoring your baby's movement and the timing of your contractions is vital in knowing your baby's situation and when it's almost time to give birth.
What Are the Signs of Labour at 38 Weeks
You're almost there! If you've been pregnant for over 38 weeks, congratulations—you're officially in the home stretch. You have a good idea of what's coming up: your baby is about to make her debut, and many signs will help you know when it's time.
At week 38 of pregnancy, you're probably hoping to give birth already. Here are some of the most common signs that labour may be near:
- Your water breaks
- Your cervix begins to thin out and open up
- You feel like you need to urinate frequently or urgently
- You start having regular contractions (these can be painful)
Your next week: 39 weeks pregnant
Your previous week: 37 weeks pregnant
Updates by Pheona Ilagan
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