Pregnancy week 38

By pregnancy week 38, except for lungs and brain, most of your babys organs are almost developed. His lungs continue to mature and he might begin to shed vernix and lanugo, the white stuff off his body. You feel youve carried your baby for too long now and its almost time to take him out. You may be right but just hold on to wait for the last couple of weeks.

Last Updated: 22 October 2020

Pregnancy week 38
Pregnancy week 38
What’s happening to your baby?

Your baby at 38 weeks pregnancy is of the length of a leek. She may be more on the quiet side now as there isn't much room in the womb for all of her menaces; although she is quite active. If there should be one marked difference in her appearance between now and at birth, it would be her chubby cheeks and those chick thighs. Yeah, she is adding up more and more fat which all of you are going to adore, kiss and cuddle in a few weeks. We know how you can’t wait for that!

For boys, the testicles must have descended down into the scrotum by now though it is still alright if it hasn't happened yet. In fact, it can happen even after birth. Her lungs are doing its job of becoming to its mature form in order to take up the big task of breathing air the minute she'll be out.

The waxy, hairy substances, vernix and lanugo, on her skin are almost shredded off into the amniotic fluid and the left-over are being worked on too. On the top, on the other hand, your baby might have hair grown to about a few centimeters in length on the head when she's born.

What’s happening to your body?

Three more weeks to go! Yes, the waiting time now is a killer. But as childbirth is unpredictable, you may get into labor tonight or may not until the next four weeks. Now that your doctor visits are scheduled every week, know the changes your OB will be looking for in you:

Changes in weight gain

As long as your weight gain curve is in the expected range, you and your child are doing safe. However, some women gain abnormal weight gain during the last weeks of pregnancy which might alarm something is not right; a sudden onset of gestational diabetes being one of the top culprits.

Changes in Cervix

It is time that your cervix undergoes changes in preparation for labor. The mucus plug which sealed your cervix throughout pregnancy is now pulling away, which you can witness as the 'bloody show'. Cervical dilation may begin; your cervix needs to be 10 cm dilated for baby to pass through. Your cervix will also begin to soften in a process called effacement. In your weekly visits, your doctor will check for these changes, what is called as 'cervical ripening'.

 

Changes in baby position

If 'lightning' or 'engagement' of baby into the lower pelvis hasn't happened yet, you may expect it anytime this week. Baby literally drops from the top of your abdomen into the lower part of your pelvis. If all of a sudden you feel a weight lifted off from just under your ribs, it is a sign of engagement. 

Tips and advice for Pregnancy Week 38

While you are anticipating with the hospital bag to run to the hospital anytime, here are the sure signs of labor we would like to remind you about:

ü  Mucus plug releases

The mucus plug that has been protecting your cervix may begin to come out all at once or little by little; you’ll see a glob of thick mucus if it’s the first case or tinges of vaginal discharge in your underwear, for latter, over a period of weeks, days or hours. While this is a sure sign of labor, you cannot predict how far you are to labor.

ü  Diarrhea

Diarrhea could be a lesser-known sign of labor. Though it is not one of the sure signs, several pregnant moms-to-be report to have had diarrhea a few hours or days before labor began. Perhaps, it is nature’s way to clean up the bowels before labor.

ü  Frequent, stronger contractions

Intense contractions which occur every thirty minutes call for a close watch for true labor. With stronger contractions, you are getting dilated and when they get apart by only five minutes or closer, you are into active labor. And a sure signal to call your OB immediately!

ü  Water breaks

 

Water leaking either as a sudden gush or a slow release in trickles, breaking of the amniotic sac needs to be immediately followed by labor. If your water breaks before going into labor, you may have to reach the hospital immediately in order to prevent infection. Your OB will do an examination to check the dilation and effacement of your cervix, depending on which, you may be asked to wait for labor to set, induction or call for an emergency. 

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