Congratulations! You’ve made it to week 38 of your pregnancy, which means you’re just a few short weeks away from meeting your little one. While you’re likely feeling a mix of excitement and anticipation, you may also be experiencing some discomforts as your body prepares for childbirth. Here’s what you can expect during week 38 of pregnancy.
Your Baby at 38 Weeks
At 38 weeks, your baby is the size of a pumpkin and weighs around 6-7 pounds. Their organs are fully developed, and they’re practicing their breathing by inhaling and exhaling amniotic fluid. Your baby’s head may have engaged in your pelvis by now, which means they’ve moved down into position for birth. This can cause some pressure on your bladder and pelvic area.
Your baby’s skin is now thicker and more opaque than earlier in your pregnancy. They may also have less vernix, the white, waxy substance that protected their skin in the uterus. Your baby’s immune system is continuing to develop, and they’re receiving antibodies from you through the placenta.
Your Body at 38 Weeks
As you approach your due date, you may be feeling increasingly uncomfortable. Your uterus is now the size of a watermelon, and you may be experiencing Braxton Hicks contractions more frequently. These are practice contractions that can feel like a tightening or hardening of your belly. They’re usually not painful and don’t last long, but they can be uncomfortable.
You may also be experiencing other discomforts, such as:
- Back pain: Your growing belly can put strain on your back muscles and cause discomfort.
- Swelling: You may notice swelling in your feet and ankles as your body retains more fluid.
- Heartburn: The pressure from your growing uterus can push stomach acid up into your esophagus, causing heartburn.
- Trouble sleeping: It can be difficult to get comfortable with your growing belly, and you may need to get up to use the bathroom frequently.
If you haven’t already, your healthcare provider may start checking your cervix for signs of labor. They may also recommend a non-stress test to check your baby’s heart rate and make sure they’re doing well.
What to Do During Week 38
As you approach your due date, it’s important to take care of yourself and prepare for labor and delivery. Here are some things you can do during week 38:
- Rest: It’s normal to feel tired during the later weeks of pregnancy, so make sure you’re getting enough rest.
- Stay hydrated: Drink plenty of water to help reduce swelling and keep your body hydrated.
- Practice relaxation techniques: Breathing exercises, meditation, and prenatal yoga can help you relax and prepare for childbirth.
- Pack your hospital bag: Make sure you have everything you need for your hospital stay, including clothes for you and your baby, toiletries, and any necessary paperwork.
- Talk to your healthcare provider: Ask any questions you have about labor and delivery, and discuss your birth plan with your provider.
Week 38 of pregnancy can be both exciting and uncomfortable as you prepare to meet your baby. Keep taking care of yourself, and don’t hesitate to reach out to your healthcare provider if you have any concerns. Before you know it, you’ll be holding your precious little one in your arms!