By week 38, your baby is as big as a winter melon. He is producing surfactant for helping him take his first breaths when he is born while you are producing the precursor to breast milk, the colostrum.
Being 38 weeks pregnant means you are eight months and about two weeks pregnant. Your little baby is no longer little anymore. He weighs roughly seven pounds and is approximately 20 inches long. It is only a matter of couple of weeks (or maximum four) before he makes his appearance. He has a firm grasp, which you will experience when you hold his hand for the first time! His internal systems and organs have developed and matured for the outside world. In terms of size and development, they are absolutely perfect little newborns.
By this time, he may be low down in the tummy with his head engaged and waiting for the release of the hormones, which will initiate the contractions for pushing him out of your womb. However, there is one change that will be completed outside your womb. His eye color will continue to change due to lack of pigment. These are interesting changes as babies who are born with brown eyes may not change their eye color. However, babies who are born with dark blue eyes or steel gray may become green or hazel by the time they are 9 months old.
This is common as a child’s irises may accumulate more pigment in the months following his birth. Brown, green and hazel eyes have more pigment as compared to blue eyes.
For a large number of expectant mums, the next couple of weeks are nothing but a waiting period. However, make sure you take this time to prepare your house by childproofing it and preparing his nursery. Take care of all necessary tasks that you will not be able to right after delivery. Whenever you can, take a nap and catch up on your reading. Let your partner know how you feel and spend some quality alone time with him if you are pregnant for the first time.
Just as your un-born baby is preparing for his entry into the outside world, your body is also taking care of its own final touches for the big day. At 38 weeks pregnant, some pregnant moms are relieved of several pregnancy symptoms, such as difficult breathing and heartburn, as the baby has dropped down into the pelvis by this time. Others may experience cervical dilation and effacement by the end of this week.
There must be a long list of loved ones texting, phoning and paying visits for asking you if there’s anything they could do. Even though they are only trying to help, hormones and stress can make you feel easily irritated. Make sure you deal with everyone as politely as you can. One of the most common symptoms of the third trimester is swelling in your ankles and feet. Do not be alarmed if you notice your feet have swollen or you have moved to a bigger size.
However, make sure this excessive swelling is not accompanied by a sudden weight gain or puffiness around the eyes. These could be symptoms of a life-threatening condition, termed as preeclampsia. If you notice any of these symptoms, notify your midwife or doctor immediately.
Symptoms of Preeclampsia
- Persistent headaches
- Temporary loss of vision
- Double or blurred vision
- Light sensitivity
- Intense tenderness and upper abdominal pain
Why You Should Opt For Breastfeeding
Have you ever wondered why breastfeeding is still considered the best way to feed a baby? In reality, this gift of nature has the perfect types of proteins and the correct proportion of vitamins, minerals and carbohydrates that your baby needs in the first six months of his life. Numerous studies have verified the many benefits of breastfeeding. It also helps a mother create a special bond with her newborn.
Benefits of Breastfeeding
- Protects your baby from ear infection and respiratory problems
- Prevents some childhood cancers and lowers the risk of allergies
- Reduce a mother’s stress levels and the risks of ovarian and breast cancer
Many pregnant women are convinced they can initiate their own labor by trying natural methods. This may be true in some cases but not all. Don’t try anything that will harm your baby and your body
As much as you want to continue, cooking will be the last thing on your mind once you baby has made his arrival. For first-time mommies, taking a three-minute shower will be more tempting than fixing a quick meal. Stock your freezer now with packaged homemade food for having simple heat-and-serve options later. Use the energy you get from your nesting instinct to plan ahead and cook meals ahead of time. Label them by writing the name and the preparation date so you are not left wondering. Good food items that can last in your freezer for at least three months are soups, casseroles and stews.
What to Expect During Week 38
By this time, your breasts may be larger than they have ever been. They may also be leaking colostrum. Don’t worry if they are not, as it is not a sign that you won’t be able to breastfeed once your baby is born.
Braxton Hicks Contractions
By this week, these false alarms and practice contractions may have gotten more intense. They offer a good time to practice your visualization and breathing that you learned during your childbirth classes.
It is fine for expectant mums to stay up all night and end up snoozing in the daytime. This is because your mind is crowded with so many thoughts and anxieties that you have trouble sleeping. Avoid surfing the web and limit screen time before going to bed. Grabbing some low-tech entertainment, such as a book, is helpful to put your racing mind to rest for encouraging sleep.
Be prepared to observe the passing of your mucous plug. This is just a clear glob of mucous that has been successfully corking your cervix throughout the pregnancy. Although a mucous plug can indicate that labor is near, some women take days or even weeks to deliver their baby after it has passed.
Several pregnant females endure diarrhea when the baby is about to emerge. Be prepared for the big day and stick to consuming lots of water and light snacking. Avoid fiber-rich foods and anything too fatty. Include toasts and broths in your diet for avoiding an upset tummy before your delivery.
Looking for ways to soothe an itchy tummy? Massage it with generous amounts of vitamin E oil. Some experts also recommend using Vitamin E capsules during and after pregnancy to help you take care of your skin and nails. Vitamin E supplements are also great for sore nipples, in case you are planning to breastfeed.
Tips for Week 38
- Formulate a list of contact details including phone numbers and email addresses of people you want to notify in case of an emergency. Put it up somewhere you can access it easily. You will have little time to look for it when labor approaches.
- If you have trouble differentiating real contractions from false alarms, check if the contractions stop when you move around or change your positions. If they are consistent and regular, that means you are in labor.
Find out what to expect during the week 39 of pregnancy.