38 Weeks Pregnant
Your Pregnancy Week by Week
Your Baby at 38 WeeksSize: 19.61 inches (49.8 cm) - crown to heel
Weight: 6.80 pounds (3083 grams)
Take it off baby! Because your baby has finalized just about everything else, this week he or she will begin shedding the lanugo (fine hair) and Vernix (white, cheesy coating) from their skin into the amniotic fluid. The skin-saving properties of these two will no longer be needed outside of their watery home, but it's still normal for some babies to have some lingering at delivery. And speaking of water, your baby is breathing in amniotic fluid and continuing to secrete surfactant which will help the lungs stretch for expansion with air after birth.
About the size of a leek, your baby should be close to his or her final delivery length and still packing on pounds so that you can find a few precious hand or elbow dimples at birth. Digestive contents from the amniotic fluid are mixing with secretions from the stomach in the intestines to create your baby's first bowel movement, which is known as meconium. This dark black, tarry stool is present in every baby and will probably be around for your first diaper-changing experience.
Mom at 38 Weeks PregnantThe days of your pregnancy is nearing a close. For some women, they are sad about no longer carrying their baby with them inside, but there is a new excitement for the unknown as you look forward to meeting your little one. Your body is continuing to change right now, and you may find that you have aches and pains in places you never had them before.
Your signature pregnancy waddle is front and center as you do your best to sit down and get up - which usually requires a bit of assistance. Even getting your shoes on can feel like the biggest task of your day.
But there is still a ray of hope. About this week, you should find yourself with a sudden surge of energy. This long-awaited boost will allow your nesting instinct to really kick into high gear as you prepare for baby. Preparing your baby's clothes, room and other items almost becomes an obsession - you will want to do everything possible to get ready before your baby arrives. Just make sure to pace yourself and do a few things at a time and rest in between.
Leaking Milk. Your breasts are larger than they have ever been before. Your areolas, or the dark part surrounding the nipple has also gotten much larger as well. And now, even with all those changes, you may notice that you are starting to leak colostrum. Colostrum is the first milk produced for your baby. Full of fat, protein, and immune supporting antibodies this first milk can start weeks before for some women, and then others never leak a drop. If leaking is a problem, just use breast pads to absorb the moisture.
Labor Symptoms. Anytime is a good time for delivery now - so be on the watch for those early symptoms of labor, like:
- Bloody discharge
- A sudden gush of fluid from the vagina
- Regular contractions
- Cervical changes (as your doctor reports)
A pound here, a pound there. By now, you should be right on that 25 to 35 pound weight mark. Your baby is gaining ½ pound per week right now, so you can expect to gain about a pound at each doctors' visit.
Unless you are sure that you will have an endless supply of energy and time after your baby is born, this is the time to stock your freezer with quick, easy meals that can be served in a flash. Holding your baby with one arm and trying to cook with another is a feat not every mother than overcome - resulting in cold cereal or toaster waffles for main courses. Instead, think ahead and prepare casseroles, meatloaf, soups, and other items your family likes so all you will have to do is heat and eat.