38 Weeks Pregnant | Pregnancy Week By Week
38 WEEKS PREGNANT
You’re 38 weeks pregnant! There’s only two weeks left to go until your due date, but the baby could come any day now! Are you feeling some pretty wicked aches and pains down yonder? If so, it’s because the baby has his little head wedged down in your pelvis and is putting pressure on all kinds of nerves down there. Now’s the time to be on close watch for signs that labor is starting, such as contractions that are strong and regular or your water breaking, which can happen as a gush of fluid or can also occur as just a constant trickle of fluid leaking out.
Your baby is the size of a winter melon at 38 weeks pregnant. Baby is measuring about 19.6 inches long and should weigh about 6.8 pounds. These measurements and weights are just estimations based on the average size of a baby born at 38 weeks. Your baby could be bigger or smaller than these figures!
PREGNANCY SYMPTOMS WEEK 38
The end to these super uncomfortable and often annoying pregnancy symptoms is coming very soon. You only have to deal with them for another few weeks at most, so hang in there! Here are the pregnancy symptoms you may experience at 38 weeks pregnant:
- Difficulty sleeping. If you’re having trouble sleeping, it could be chalked up to anxiety, excitement, or even just because you’re so unbelievably uncomfortable right now. Once the baby is born, you’ll sleep much better at night – except for those middle of the night feedings and diaper changes you’ll have to wake up for!
- Braxton Hicks contractions. You know these “practice contractions” very well by now, don’t you? You’ll continue to have Braxton Hicks contractions up until the day you finally go into labor and start having real labor contractions. Remember, to tell the difference between the two, if the contractions go away when changing positions and/or drinking water, then they are just the practice contractions.
- Belly itchiness. The skin on your belly has stretched about as far as it can possibly stretch, which has made your skin very thin and sensitive. Keep your belly moisturized with lotions that contain shea butter and keep your skin hydrated by drinking lots of water. Doing both of these things will help cut down on the itchiness.
- Increased vaginal discharge. As your body prepares for the start of labor, you may experience an increase in vaginal discharge. The discharge may even resemble globs of mucus and could be tinged with blood. If so, this is your mucus plug and it’s completely normal to lose it in the last weeks of pregnancy. Losing your mucus plug can sometimes mean labor will be starting soon (although, not to disappoint you or anything, but sometimes you can lose your mucus plug and still not go into labor for weeks. Sorry!)
- Swollen feet and ankles. Swollen feet and ankles are to be expected at 38 weeks pregnant. Give yourself a break and take it easy. Sit down, put your feet up, and let someone else take care of you for a bit!
38 WEEK BABY BUMP
Your pregnant belly has grown so large by 38 weeks that you probably haven’t seen your feet in weeks, you can’t bend over to pick stuff up off the floor, and you feel like you waddle everywhere you walk (FYI, you don’t just feel like you waddle, you actually are waddling).
At 38 weeks pregnant, it’s important to know what signs to watch for that labor has started. The most obvious signs would be the start of contractions or your water breaking. Real contractions will feel similar to the Braxton Hicks contractions you’ve been having for the last several weeks. If they’re real labor contractions, they will come at regular intervals, become closer together and last longer, and no amount of changing positions or moving around will make them stop.
If your water breaks, you may not even realize it at first because there isn’t always a huge gush of fluid like you see in the movies. Sometimes your water will just leak in a steady trickle of fluid that might make you think you’ve peed yourself. Fun times, huh?
Other signs that labor may be starting soon:
- Loss of mucus plug
- Back pain
38 WEEKS PREGNANT ULTRASOUND
At 38 weeks, unless you’re considered a high-risk pregnancy, you probably won’t have an ultrasound this week, but you will see your doctor since you are down to weekly appointments with your OB now. Your doctor will probably make sure the baby’s head is down near your pelvis and may even check to see if your cervix is dilated (open) or effaced (thinned) yet.
Your baby can now swallow amniotic fluid, which sometimes ends up in your baby’s intestines where it will turn into your baby’s first poop called meconium. The baby is continuing to gain fat and may even be born with a head full of hair.
Your little one’s lungs are continuing to mature and will continue to mature the longer he stays inside of you. His brain and nervous system are also getting some last-minute final details that will help your baby adjust to all the stimulation he’ll experience once he’s born.
WHAT SHOULD I BE DOING AT 38 WEEKS PREGNANT?
If you really want to be doing something to keep your hands and your brain occupied this week, there are plenty of things for you to do. At 38 weeks pregnant, here is what you should be doing:
- Prepare meals ahead of time. The first few weeks after the baby is born are going to be difficult for you in the fact that it’s going to take some time to adjust to your new normal, and you’re probably going to be quite exhausted. This isn’t the time to skimp on your nutrition, especially if you’re breastfeeding, so go ahead and prepare some healthy, nutritious meals now that you can freeze and eat in the coming weeks. You’ll thank yourself later!
- Make sure you have everything you need or want in your hospital bag. Double check to make sure your hospital bag is packed with everything you’ll need or want during labor and your stay afterwards.
- Sam C's Editorial Team