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It’s week thirty-eight, and you may feel completely taken over by aches and pains in your stomach, back, shoulders, and more. Nearly impossible to find a comfortable position to sleep, rest, or even sit in, your level of frustration with the current state of your body is only temporary; remember that it’s all part of the process of giving birth, and you are right around the corner from the big day!
The very second you look into your little one’s beautiful eyes will bring about joy and happiness that makes everything else seem to pale in comparison – aches and pains included!
Now considered full term, your baby is due any day now, even though your official due date may be up to two weeks away.
To learn more about week thirty-eight of pregnancy and all of its captivating developments, read on below!
Your Physical and Emotional Health
38 Weeks Pregnant
Week thirty-eight is essentially a waiting game. With baby due any day now, you can keep yourself busy by putting the last finishing touches on baby’s nursery, adding to your stock of baby supplies, finish up any childproofing around the house that’s still needed, and if you plan to breastfeed, research the topic at length,
Increased swelling is completely normal during weeks thirty-eight, thirty-nine, and forty. You may find that your feet and ankles are incredibly swollen, thus further encumbering your range of movement.
However, preeclampsia is a condition that still warrants a careful eye on your symptoms. You’re not quite in the clear yet, and as such, if you experience excessive swelling in your hands, face, eyes, feet, and ankles along with sudden and rapid weight gain, you need to make an appointment with your doctor immediately.
Swelling does not have to necessarily accompany weight gain; often coexisting symptoms can include extremely blurry vision, double vision, experiencing spots or flashing lights in your sight, sensitivity to light, loss of vision, nausea, vomiting, and upper abdominal pain that is out of the ordinary and severe.
At-a-Glance Chart of Preeclampsia Symptoms
|Excessive swelling in the:||Vision issues such as:||Other symptoms such as:|
|Hands||Sensitivity to light, loss of vision||Nausea|
|Feet and ankles||Blurry vision or double vision||Vomiting|
|Eyes and face||Vision marked by spots or flashing lights||Severe upper abdominal pains|
If you notice excessive swelling in conjunction with any of the above symptoms, be sure to address them expeditiously with your healthcare provider.
With just about two weeks to go until the big day (unless your little one decides to camp out for a little bit longer), your baby is beginning to prepare yourself for labor.
Signs of your body taking on preparatory labor measures are the dilation of the cervix, effacement, and when you notice baby dropping further into your pelvis area, resulting in the ability for you to breathe much easier but increasing pelvic pressure and thus adding to abdominal pains and difficulty eating.
In addition to your sleeplessness nights, mood swings, and achy body, you will more than likely be experiencing an upsurge in the colostrum. A fluid that is yellow-toned and thin in consistency, colostrum is breast milk’s precursor and starts showing up in the third trimester.
Packed full of antibodies, protein, a little fat, and a bit of sugar, colostrum features a nutritional profile that slightly varies from the breast milk (or formula) that baby will be feasting upon later after birth.
Other symptoms you may experience in week thirty-eight, thirty-nine, and even week forty are the following:
|Body and back aches and pains||Clumsiness||Constant urge to urinate|
|Carpal-tunnel like symptoms such as numbness, tingling, and pain in the wrists, hands, and fingers||Swelling, bloating, increased fluid retention||Urinary Tract Infection symptoms like burning and pain while going to the bathroom|
|High blood pressure||Decreased appetite due to pressure from baby’s recent switched position||Increase in occurrence of Braxton-Hicks contractions|
Your Baby’s Health and Status
38 Weeks Pregnant
Baby is a happy camper. Deeply embedded within the comfortable confines of your uterus, he or she is immensely enjoying its upside-downstatus these days that affords them a bit more space to kick, punch, roll, pivot, and wriggle about.
These days, thebaby is still hard at work shedding any remaining lanugo (down-soft hair) from its body, in addition to the vernix that has for so long coated its skin as a protectant against being submerged in amniotic fluid.
As the last vestiges of lanugo and vernix are shed from baby’s body, much of it is ending up in their intestines to ultimately become meconium, the tar-like substance that can appear green and black in color and comprises the primary material of baby’s very first bowel movement after birth.
In addition to lanugo and vernix, meconium also consists of amniotic fluid, assorted waste products, and a collection of dead cells from your little one’s gallbladder, pancreas, and liver!
At this point, thebaby is nearly twenty inches in length and weighs in at about seven pounds. Busy preparing for birth, your little one has now made the momentous downwards shift that is optimal for labor, and is polishing up the finishing touches on its body and system, such as fine-tuning its nervous system and brain, and finishing up its lung development.
Now nearly covered in soft, pliable, cuddly fat, the baby is primed and ready to be held, coddled, and look into your adoring eyes!
Tips, Tricks, and Knowledge
38 Weeks Pregnant
- Your car seat not only needs to be professionally (correctly)installed but it also needs to be rear-facing. While laws differ from state to state in terms of when a baby can ride in a car seat that is facing frontwards, all newborns will need to be securely situated in a car seat that faces the rear.
- Only five percent of babies are actually born on their due dates! As such, have your car seat installed correctly and ready to go along with your overnight bag for the hospital in the backseat or trunk
- Take some time to consider which labor position you have a preference for. Many women find that standing through contractions offers the most comfort, while countless women find that getting on all fours is the most comfortable position. Practice your favoritepositions so that you are well-versed in how to do them on the big day
To-Do List and Reminders
38 Weeks Pregnant
- Complete the tasks on your daily to-do list everyday
- Have your overnight bag packed and ready to go in the car – Make sure there is a copy of your birth plan in your bag
- Have your route to the hospital planned
- Have your partner or other person accompanying you to the hospital on the big day on alert
- Keep eating healthy and make strategic choices that offer the best bang for the nutritional buck
- Roughly eighty-five percent of all babies are born up to two weeks after their anticipated due date
- Many consider breastfeeding to be the best way to feed baby, as breast milk contains the correct proportions of carbohydrates, fats, proteins, vitamins, and minerals
- Breastfeeding can also assist to protect baby from developing ear infections, respiratory problems, allergies, cancer, and sudden infant death syndrome. It can also reduce your risk of ovarian and breast cancer!
Effacement: Effacement refers to the process where the cervix begins to prepare itself for delivery. When baby becomes situated in the pelvic area, the pelvis begins to drop closer to the cervix and result in a shortening, softening, and thinning of the cervix.
Ready to find out what’s next on your pregnancy journey?