Your baby’s voice chords have formed at 38 weeks pregnant, and you may be feeling anxious.
At 38 weeks, how big is your baby?
This week, your baby is 19.6 inches long and weighs around 6.8 pounds. This is around the size of a bowling pin.
Here’s what more you should know if you’re 38 weeks pregnant:
- Your Baby Your Body Ultrasound 38 Weeks Pregnant
- Real Mom Bumps at 38 Weeks in Your Life Pregnant
Your Baby’s Growth at 38 Weeks
Full term is quickly approaching! Your baby’s brain and lungs are still developing, but the rest of his or her organs are nearly complete. Discover what’s going on with your baby at 38 weeks.
- We’re almost there: Your pregnancy will reach full term next week (you’re almost there), which means your baby’s brain and lungs are almost ready to operate properly on the outside. The brain and lungs of an infant are the only primary organs that continue to grow throughout childhood and beyond. All of their other internal systems are operational.
- Voice: Your baby’s vocal cords have fully matured, allowing them to interact with you as soon as they are born (like those first cries!).
- Babies are recognized for their adorably large heads, which are the consequence of all the brain capacity the baby develops while pregnancy. At this stage, your baby’s head is around the same size as their abdomen.
Ultrasound at 38 Weeks Pregnancy
Symptoms of Pregnancy at 38 Weeks
With your baby’s arrival so close (! ), you may be experiencing a wide variety of emotions, from enthusiasm to anxiety, as well as physical stresses. Here’s what you may be feeling at 38 weeks pregnant.
- Mild swelling is extremely usual at this point of your pregnancy. However, if you see rapid swelling in your hands, feet, ankles, or face, contact your doctor right away since it might be a symptom of preeclampsia, a dangerous pregnant disease.
- Anxiety is also common throughout late pregnancy and postpartum. Sometimes your brain seems like it’s on overdrive, causing you to feel worried or have difficulties sleeping. Find an understanding buddy or two to talk to about how you’re feeling, and establish a few relaxing routines (such as sipping a favorite decaf tea or listening to a peaceful song). If it feels serious, consult your doctor.
- Contractions: You may be experiencing Braxton Hicks contractions, which are characterized by a tightening or cramping sensation over your pregnant tummy. For the time being, contractions are intermittent, but once you’re in labor, they’ll become more frequent.
- Back pain: When you’re 38 weeks pregnant, it’s normal to have a sore back. Your posture has shifted dramatically to suit your not-so-little guest, and you’re carrying extra weight. Back discomfort might sometimes be an indication that you’re about to go into labor.
- Nausea: Do you have a stomach ache? It might be because the baby is overwhelming your digestive tract. Tummy pains can also be a symptom of early labor in some situations.
- Vaginal discharge: You may notice an increase in regular discharge or the mucus plug coming out as your cervix dilates in preparation for birth. If you see a watery “discharge,” it might be amniotic fluid, so contact your doctor immediately once.
Your Labor and Cervical Changes
Changes in the cervix are one of the most obvious symptoms of labor. During your late-pregnancy OB appointments, your doctor will perform pelvic exams to determine how much your cervix is dilating and effacing, and whether or not it is preparing to deliver. So, what precisely does this imply?
Cervical dilatation, or opening, is required before you may give birth vaginally. Your cervix begins at 0 centimeters, or entirely closed, and when your uterus contracts throughout labor, it pushes the cervix open more and more until it reaches 10 centimeters—roughly the size of a bagel. Even before you became pregnant, you were undoubtedly aware that “10 centimeters” was a significant milestone in labor.
Effacing: Your cervix is thinning, or effacing, as it dilates. Effacement is expressed as a percentage, with 0% being totally hard and 100% being entirely paper-thin.
Your cervix should be 10 cm dilated and 100 percent effaced for a healthy vaginal birth. Having such dimensions is typically a good indicator that it’s okay to push!
What to Expect After Your Baby Is Born at the Hospital
You may feel like you’ve spent a lot of time preparing for labor—attending birthing classes and packing your hospital bag, for example—but do you know what occurs shortly after the baby arrives?
Here are a few things to look out for in those early, hazy days.
When Can I Begin Breastfeeding?
This is the very first thing that happens after childbirth. (If you choose, you can even start nursing while you’re delivering your placenta.) As long as there are no medical issues, your baby will be put on your chest and can begin consuming colostrum, or pre-milk, immediately. Baby will cry frequently in the first day or two to be given colostrum; their sucking will urge your breastmilk to come in. Breastfeeding can be difficult to master and will require practice. Consult your hospital’s lactation experts for advice.
What Happens Before We Are Released From the Hospital?
Testing, Testing, Testing
While your infant is still in the hospital, he or she will be subjected to a number of tests. This might include:
- A little heel prick is performed to collect a blood sample shortly after birth. It’s possible you’re not even aware of it. What they’re testing for differs per state, but it encompasses a wide range of uncommon but detectable illnesses. (You may see your state’s screening list here.)
- Hearing exam: The infant is usually moved to a different room for a hearing test. This might be one of two tests: one that evaluates the hearing nerve’s reaction to sound, or one that measures the echo when certain sounds are played in the baby’s ear.
- Congenital cardiac defects screening: A sensor is implanted on the baby’s skin for a few minutes to detect the amount of oxygen in their blood.
If you’re undecided about naming your child, you’ll need to make a decision soon since the hospital requires you to fill out the paperwork that will serve as your baby’s birth certificate and social security card before you leave.
If you have a boy and opt to have him circumcised, this will take place before you leave the hospital.
When will Baby and I be able to return home?
If you have a vaginal birth, you will most likely be discharged within 48 hours, as long as you and your baby are healthy. If you have a c-section, you will be discharged within three to four days so that the hospital can monitor your recovery.
Your Life When You’re 38 Weeks Pregnant
It’s nearly time. And just when you think you’ve done everything, we’ve got some last-minute tips.
- Fill an empty tote with all of the goodies you can get your hands on bottles, receiving blankets, baby diapers, spray bottles for your sore bits, sitz bath (a plastic tub that sits over your toilet for a relaxing crotch plunge), mesh underpants and pads. Consider it your I-just-had-a-baby swag bag.
- Snack assault: Stock up on snacks during the first few hours of labor, such as almonds, graham crackers with a spread of nut butter, avocado, hardboiled eggs, or dried fruit. Eating something nutritious and readily digested will provide you with the energy you need to keep going before things become serious. Drink plenty of water or an electrolyte drink like coconut water to stay hydrated.
- Preparing for motherhood: Get a pre-baby haircut and consider going a little shorter. There’s a reason many new parents prefer shorter hairstyles, and it’s not just because small hands love to tug on lengthy locks. Postpartum hair loss can be severe in the first 2–6 months. Cutting your hair will not fix the problem, but it will make cleanup easier and result in fewer clogged drains.
- Remember to think about getting your house cleaned. While you don’t want to overexert yourself soon before birth, getting down on your hands and knees to clean your floors is an ancient wives’ tale for beginning labor. Does this seem physically impossible? If you can afford it, hire someone to do the cleaning for you, or invite a few close friends or family members over for a Saturday afternoon scour-and-scrub. It will be wonderful to bring your infant home to a tidy house.
Your Pregnant Belly at 38 Weeks
You’ve probably reached, or are close to, your overall pregnancy weight gain goal for the 40 weeks by now. You’re probably sick of talking about your weight!
From now until you give birth, your doctor will check on you once a week. Visual assessments of your belly size (fundal height) may be performed to monitor your baby and amniotic fluid level. If anything appears to be out of the ordinary, your doctor may request an ultrasound on its own or as part of a biophysical profile, which evaluates the baby’s movement, breathing, muscle tone, heart rate, and amniotic fluid.
Real Moms’ 38 Weeks Pregnant Baby Bumps