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Pregnancy Calendar 38 Weeks Pregnant

Updated on August 21, 2011

Now 38 weeks pregnant, your due date is almost here. You should pay special attention to your body at this stage, as many women can and do go into labor a week or two early. If it's a second or subsequent pregnancy, you'll know what to expect. If this is your first baby your midwife, doctor or family and friends will no doubt have talked with you and discussed what's likely to happen.

At 38 weeks pregnant, you have perhaps two to three weeks left before you finally go into labor. Most women will give birth sometime between the 37th and 41st week of pregnancy. No doubt you’re anxious – but more than ready. After almost ninths of pregnancy, you’ll be feeling pretty tired, cumbersome, breathless and almost desperate for a good nights sleep.

However, it’s better to be honest and acknowledge the fact that you won’t be indulging in luxurious sleep-ins any time soon. The next few weeks aren’t going to get any easier, in terms of weight, aching joints and swollen feet. But – you’re going to end up with something far better than a good nights sleep – your new baby. And you will gladly sacrifice all thoughts of sleep (honest!) from the moment you lay eyes on your newborn son or daughter.

As the birth is likely to be fairly imminent – do check that your hospital bag is ready. I thought I’d readied mine with my last pregnancy. I discovered (a little late) that I’d thought about it that much that I hadn’t actually completed the task. Needless to say I was left mentally kicking myself. Double check that it’s ready, make sure you know where it is and remember – don’t set off to the hospital without it.

38 Weeks What To Expect

When you're 38 weeks pregnant, you'll most likely be experiencing regular Braxton Hicks type contractions more than usual. Or at least regular twinges. Do pay attention to your body – it’s surprising how easily these ‘practice’ contractions can suddenly become the real thing, and catch you off guard. As I’ve said before, I never once broke my waters. When I had my second son, the midwife jokily remarked that the only thing that kept him firmly cocooned in my womb on the way to the delivery suite was the amniotic sac.

He was an incredibly quick delivery, when it came down to the nuts and bolts of the delivery process and despite the hours of labor I’d been through prior to arriving at the hospital, my waters were broken manually literally minutes before he was born. So saying that going into labor can sometimes be tricky to define. Make sure you’re ‘labor signs’ savvy!

Another aspect that may come with being 38 weeks pregnant, besides the usual aches and pains, is anxiety regarding the birth. I know it’s easier said than done but try not to worry too much. You will be surrounded by professionals, you will have the support of a partner or loved one at your side – and you will be carefully monitored every step of the way. Trust your midwife, trust your partner but most of all – trust your body.

It’s about to enter into a natural process that it was designed for. Whilst you may feel unsure of what’s to come, try to remember that no matter what – the labor and delivery process is eons old and our bodies are pretty damn good at getting on with the birthing of babies. It’s modern times that have brought midwives, doctors and medical equipment. We’ve survived for millenniums without assistance and having a baby in modern times is far riskier than it used to be.

So, that said, rest as much as possible, focus on the positives and repeat to yourself as many times as necessary: it will all be over soon. And it will.

Fetal Development

38 Weeks Gestation

At 38 weeks gestation, your baby will be anywhere between 17 and 21 inches in total length. His weight will be around 6 to 7lbs - though there appears to be a fair margin in size/weight, that's for good reason. Babies are all different and sometimes, even though they’re ‘tall’ at birth they may only weigh around 6lbs. Equally, they could be quite short in length and weight well over 7lbs. In terms of his development, he’s almost fully developed - though he will continue to add weight and length during the next few weeks, much of it is fatty tissue.

His intestines will be getting a work out now due to the waste material that is starting to build up in his lower digestive system. This will be excreted soon after birth and the waste is called meconium. It’s a blackish green color, very sticky and consists of the things he’s been ingesting whilst in your womb. It’s also quite hard to remove from clothing, should your baby produce it when you least expect it – as my dad found out after the birth of my first son!

38 Weeks Pregnant – In General

The general advice for you at 38 weeks pregnant is this: don’t panic! Try to avail yourself of as much rest as possible in the next few weeks; make sure your hospital bag is definitely ready and double check that you’re birth plan is also included. Make sure you know what the signs of labor are and that you contact whomever you need to, in case you do go into labor. Relax, enjoy the solitude and focus on the fact that yoy and your baby are almost there.


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