As a woman reaches 38 weeks pregnant, she may be feeling a mix of excitement and apprehension as the due date approaches. While the end is in sight, there are still a few more weeks to go before the baby arrives. In this blog post, we will discuss some of the common pregnancy symptoms at 38 weeks, a checklist of things to keep in mind during this stage of pregnancy, and a look at what the baby is developing.
Your Baby is the Size of a Floppy Sun Hat
Head to Toe
Highlights of the Week
- Your baby is considered full-term and is fully developed and ready for birth.
- The average size of a 38-week fetus is about 19.4-19.8 inches in length and weighs approximately 7.25-7.5 pounds.
- Your baby’s brain continues to develop, and their lungs are almost fully mature.
- The baby’s skin is becoming less transparent and more opaque, producing more fat to regulate body temperature.
- Monitoring for signs of labor and preparing for birth is important at 38 weeks.
- Increased pressure in the pelvic area and frequent bathroom trips may be experienced as the baby descends into the pelvis.
Pregnancy Symptoms in Week 38
At 38 weeks pregnant, a woman may be experiencing a number of symptoms. Some of the most common include Braxton Hicks contractions, increased fatigue, and difficulty sleeping. As the baby continues to grow, it can put pressure on the woman’s bladder, causing frequent urination. Swelling in the feet and ankles may also occur due to the extra fluid in the body. Additionally, the woman may experience heartburn or indigestion as the baby pushes on her stomach.
At 38 weeks pregnant, you may feel more tired than usual. This is due to the added physical strain on your body and hormonal changes that occur during pregnancy. It is important to listen to your body and rest when you need to.
As your due date approaches, you may find it difficult to sleep. This is due to a combination of discomfort and anxiety about giving birth. Try to establish a bedtime routine, such as reading or taking a warm bath, to help you relax and fall asleep.
Swelling, or edema, is common at 38 weeks pregnant. It can occur in your legs, ankles, and feet, and can be caused by fluid buildup in your body. Keeping your legs elevated and wearing comfortable shoes can help reduce swelling.
As your baby descends into your pelvis, you may find yourself needing to use the bathroom more often. This can be particularly inconvenient at night. It is important to stay hydrated, but try to avoid drinking too much fluid before bedtime.
Pregnancy hormones can cause vivid and intense dreams. This can be unsettling, but it is normal and nothing to be concerned about.
Lightning crotch refers to sharp, sudden pain in the pelvic area. It is caused by your baby’s head pressing against nerves in your pelvic region. This can be uncomfortable, but it is a sign that your baby is getting ready to be born.
Different Vaginal Discharge:
As you near your due date, you may notice an increase in vaginal discharge. This can be thin, watery, and pink or brown in color. This is a sign that your body is preparing for labor.
At 38 weeks pregnant, heartburn may become more frequent due to the increased pressure on your digestive system. Try to eat smaller, more frequent meals, and avoid foods that trigger heartburn.
As your skin stretches to accommodate your growing baby, you may experience itching on your belly and other areas. Try to keep your skin moisturized, and avoid scratching to prevent infection.
As your body prepares for breastfeeding, you may experience colostrum leakage from your nipples. This is a thick, yellow fluid that provides your baby with important nutrients.
As your due date approaches, you may experience a strong urge to clean and organize your home, known as the nesting instinct. This is a normal part of preparing for your baby’s arrival.
38 Week Pregnancy Checklist
Keep Track of Any Contractions:
It is important to monitor any contractions you experience, as they may indicate the start of labor. Time the start and end of each contraction and note the length and frequency. If the contractions become more frequent and intense, it may be time to go to the hospital.
Pack Your Hospital Bag and Make Sure It’s Easily Accessible:
Having a packed hospital bag will help ensure that you have everything you need during and after your hospital stay. Make sure to pack essentials such as comfortable clothing, toiletries, and any important documents. Keep your bag in a location that is easily accessible in case you need to leave for the hospital quickly.
Make Sure Your Baby’s Car Seat is Properly Installed:
Your baby will need to be transported in a car seat after birth. Make sure that the car seat is properly installed and fits your baby snugly. You may want to practice putting your baby in and out of the car seat to ensure that you are comfortable with the process.
Plan for Transportation to the Hospital:
Plan how you will get to the hospital when you go into labor. If you have a car, make sure it is in good working order. If you don’t have a car, make arrangements with friends, family, or a taxi service.
Have a Conversation with Your Partner or Birthing Coach About Your Birth Plan:
It is important to discuss your birth plan with your partner or birthing coach, so they know your preferences and can support you during labor and delivery. Consider things like pain management, the use of interventions such as epidurals or forceps, and your preferences for skin-to-skin contact and bonding with your baby.
Keep Your Doctor or Midwife Informed of Any Changes in Your Health:
It is important to keep your doctor or midwife informed of any changes in your health, such as sudden changes in your baby’s movement, vaginal bleeding, or fluid leaks. This can help them identify any potential problems and provide appropriate care.
Get Your House Cleaned:
Cleaning your home before your baby arrives can help you feel more prepared and organized. Make sure to clean high-traffic areas and surfaces, such as the kitchen and bathrooms, and consider hiring a cleaning service if needed.
Look for Late Pregnancy Complications:
It is important to be aware of any potential late pregnancy complications, such as pre-term labor, pre-eclampsia, and gestational diabetes. Talk to your doctor or midwife if you have any concerns, and follow their advice on how to manage any risks.
Learn About Newborn Screening Tests:
Newborn screening tests are done shortly after birth to detect any genetic or metabolic disorders. Talk to your doctor or midwife about the tests available in your area, and make sure you understand what each test is for and what the results mean.
Decide How You Plan on Feeding Your Baby:
It is important to think about how you plan on feeding your baby before they arrive. You may choose to breastfeed, bottle-feed, or use a combination of both. Talk to your doctor or midwife about your options and any concerns you may have.
Plan Post-Birth Meals:
Having meals prepared ahead of time can help you feel less stressed and more focused on bonding with your baby. Consider preparing and freezing meals that are easy to reheat, or arrange for friends or family to bring you meals after your baby is born.
Your 38 Week Pregnant Belly
A 38-week belly is typically large, as the baby continues to grow and take up more space in the uterus. The uterus is now around five inches above the navel, which is why many women experience discomfort or pain in their lower abdominal area. As the uterus expands, it puts pressure on the bladder, which can lead to frequent urination and discomfort. Additionally, the weight of the growing baby can cause discomfort in the lower back and hips.
To take care of your 38-week belly, it’s important to maintain good posture, avoid carrying heavy objects, and engage in light exercise such as walking or prenatal yoga. You may also want to invest in a pregnancy pillow to help support your growing belly while you sleep. Keeping hydrated and eating a healthy, balanced diet can also help minimize discomfort and swelling.
It’s important to listen to your body and seek advice from your doctor or midwife if you experience any concerning symptoms, such as contractions, vaginal bleeding, or fluid leaks. Additionally, you may want to avoid activities that can put unnecessary strain on your belly, such as bending or lifting heavy objects. Finally, make sure to get plenty of rest and take time to relax and recharge, as the final weeks of pregnancy can be physically and emotionally demanding.
Baby Development at 38 Weeks
At 38 weeks pregnant, your baby is considered full-term and is fully developed and ready for birth. The average size of a 38-week fetus is about 19.4-19.8 inches in length and weighs approximately 7.25-7.5 pounds. However, every baby is different, and it’s not uncommon for newborns to be slightly smaller or larger.
At 38 weeks, your baby’s brain continues to develop and their lungs are almost fully mature, which will enable them to breathe and regulate their own body temperature once they are born. The baby’s skin is also becoming less transparent and more opaque, as it begins to produce more fat deposits to regulate body temperature.
Special considerations at 38 weeks include monitoring for signs of labor and preparing for birth. Some women may experience increased pressure in the pelvic area, which can be uncomfortable, and may have to use the bathroom more frequently as the baby continues to descend into the pelvis.
How Many Months is 38 Weeks Pregnant?
38 weeks pregnant is equivalent to 9 months pregnant. The due date is usually around 40 weeks, so 38 weeks is considered the final stretch of pregnancy.
38 weeks pregnant marks an exciting and emotional time for expecting mothers. As the due date approaches, it’s important to be aware of the common pregnancy symptoms and to keep in mind the checklist of things to do before the baby arrives. The baby is fully developed and ready for birth, and the woman’s belly may be quite large and round. Remember to take care of yourself and to talk to your doctor or midwife about any concerns you may have. The end is in sight, and soon you will be holding your new little one in your arms.
Katie Reed is a passionate writer and mother of four vivacious boys from Salt Lake City, Utah. Drawing from her own journey through TTC, pregnancy, and the joys of raising children, she offers a wealth of insight into the world of motherhood. Beyond her heartfelt tales, Katie delights her readers with family-friendly recipes, engaging crafts, and a curated library of printables for both kids and adults. When she’s not penning her experiences, you’ll find her crafting memories with her husband and sons—Dexter, Daniel, Chester, and Wilder.