When you’re 38 weeks pregnant, your body is busy preparing for labor and your baby is preparing for life outside the womb. As your due date is fast approaching, it’s advisable to stay at home. Get to know some important things about how your baby fares and matures during this period, while getting yourself prepared for the D-Day or Delivery debut.
Your baby’s development is complete by pregnancy week 38, weighing around 7 pounds and measuring 21 inches long. Its body fat continues to build up, putting on about one ounce a day. The fat build-up not only helps to make your baby chubby, but also helps regulate its body temperature. Your baby’s wrinkled skin is becoming soft at this stage; looking pinker now.
Your baby’s head may be full of hair in pregnancy week 38. Your baby swallows the lanugo and exterior coating and stores them in its bowels. These will prime your baby’s first bowel movement after birth. Also, your baby produces surfactant that will help the air sacs in its lungs from sticking to each other when he or she begins to breathe at birth.
Your baby’s abdomen and head circumference are about the same in size. If the baby is a girl, the labia are completely developed. If it’s a boy, the testicles have descended into the scrotum at this time.
As for a typical 38 weeks pregnant mom, her body is gearing
up for labor and delivery now. Your breast may start producing colostrums, a
thin yellowish liquid. You may have swelling in your feet and ankles.
You may get contractions at the time you’re 38 weeks pregnant. Contractions may be infrequent, irregular and painless. You may have lower back pain and cramps.
Swelling in feet and ankles are common in pregnancy week 38. However, if it’s severe or you have swelling in hands, you need to get the help of your healthcare provider.
As you have a few weeks or days away, you can prepare required things for delivery and your expected newborn baby. It’s important to understand the difference between false labor and real labor. Real labor contractions will become more intense and painful and you’ll not get relief by changing position. If contractions occur at regular intervals and become more intense by the time you’re 38 weeks pregnant, you need to visit your doctor.
Water breaking experience when you’re 38 weeks pregnant is one of the signs of labor. If your water breaks, amniotic fluid leaks from your vagina and it looks like you have wet your pants. It’s advisable to visit your health care provider immediately after your water breaks because labor can begin any moment especially within 24 to 48 hours. After water breaks, the baby becomes unprotected, so keeping vaginal area clean is important. Besides, your healthcare provider will likely perform some exams and necessary tests to monitor the well-being of you and your baby at this time.