Pregnancy Week By Week : 38 Weeks Pregnant - What To Expect

It is just two more weeks, and your pregnancy journey will give way to motherhood. The excitement is palpable in your home and among your ea...

It is just two more weeks, and your pregnancy journey will give way to motherhood. The excitement is palpable in your home and among your eagerly waiting relatives. But most importantly you are feeling thrilled at the prospect of seeing your baby for the first time in less than 14 days. You have already established a bond with your little one, and your leaky breasts are signaling the best phase of your life. You must have taken all the tests available online to guess whether you'll have a little prince or a gorgeous princess (in case you haven't known already). So now let's find out all that your baby is up to this week and how your body is responding to the baby.

38 Weeks Pregnant

Baby Development

Shedding all the cheesy coating

Remember the cheesy wax-like coating that was covering your baby's skin all this while? Yes. Commonly referred to as vernix, this coating is gradually shedding away this week and the next. However, there may be some left when your baby is born, but it will all go away pretty soon.

Vocal cords are ready for cooing and crying

The vocal cords have developed and matured (as matured it can be for a newborn). So your baby is in a position to wail and cry when it needs something after arriving into the world. As soon as your baby sees the light of day, you will hear its first cry, thanks to well-developed vocal cords.

Lungs are producing surfactant

Ah, this is interesting. Lungs are a pair of organs that will continue developing till your baby completes its term and inhales its first breath of air. During week 38 of your pregnancy, your baby's little lungs are busy producing surfactant. This substance prevents the air sacs from sticking to one another once your baby breathes for the first time in the world outside.

Fine tuning brain activities

The brain cells are ever growing and multiplying so that your baby is equipped with all the brain activities required once it is born. As the days get nearer, there is increased fine-tuning that occurs. The nervous system is making progress and interacting with the brain cells to prepare for birth.

Size of your baby

Your baby is still adding fat to its little chubby body and this will also continue until birth. It has grown quite big and your uterus does not have a lot of space now for it to hang around. The tiny one is over 7 pounds and a good 20 inches from head to toe. It is almost the size of a fleshy ripe ash gourd or winter melon.

38 Weeks Pregnant Baby Size

Body Changes & Common Symptoms

Breasts are producing colostrum: The pre-cursor of breast milk, colostrum is your baby's first dose of immunization. By this week, or maybe from sometime before for some women, the breasts start producing this light yellowish fluid. This has important antibodies to immune your baby from several germs and infections as soon as it makes its way into the world. Make sure your baby receives this liquid gold to strengthen its immune system and keep harm at bay.

Baby dropping into the pelvis: Your lower portion will feel heavier than ever as the baby gradually prepares for the birthing process. The head would have dropped to the pelvis last week and this week the body is taking the position to squeeze its way through the birth canal into the world outside. The pelvis would have moved in front from the back. If you touch the area between your belly button and the end of your lower abdomen, you may feel your baby's head.

Cervical dilation and ripening: As explained in the previous week, the cervix needs to dilate a good 10 inches before the baby can pass through the birth canal. Your doctor will check the dilation every week from now to gauge when your baby is due. The dilation can take place over weeks and months or can happen suddenly within a day. The ripening of the cervix is also a critical aspect of the birthing process. It has to be thin enough to allow for your baby to move along the birth canal and pushed out.

Sudden contractions: Be extra alert about any contractions you feel this week. If you have a few contractions and they stop, maybe it's a false alarm. But still, it is a good idea to call on your practitioner immediately. If the contractions start and continue making appearances every few minutes and keep getting sharper each time, it is time to go to the hospital. You are in labor and your baby will be born anytime soon.

Health Tips

  • Don't wear yourself out: It is good to clean your house, disinfect it and keep your baby's nursery ready. But while doing all these things don't get over ambitious and wear yourself out. You will need to preserve your strength to push and finally deliver your baby. Take rest in between, drink water, and sleep whenever there is a hint that you may be sleepy.
  • Light walking is good: A little walking for 10 to 15 minutes is good, especially as you near the due date. Active muscles will be helpful in pushing out the baby. There will be a lot of pain involved but strong muscles will help in a faster delivery.
  • Enjoy light reading: There will be a lot of anxiety pangs that may keep you sleepless at night. To combat such feelings, indulge in some light reading that will clear your mind and fill it with positive thoughts.
  • Sleep early: Sleep is still quite evasive at nights. So it's a good idea to hit the sack earlier so that you can slowly fall asleep by the time it is really late. Remember, your body has and still will go through a lot of stress and activities. So it will need a lot of rest to recover. But once your baby is born, rest will be a distant dream. So while the little one is still snuggled inside of you, enjoy long periods of sleep and rest.

Make sure your maternity kit is packed. The call to rush to the hospital may come anytime soon. The countdown has already begun. Happy motherhood!

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