Pregnancy Week 38: What Changes are Occurring With Your Body?
You may begin to experience some swelling in your feet. This can be a normal part of pregnancy, especially towards the end. However, if you experience excessive swelling in your hands or face or severe and sudden swelling in your feet and/or ankles, you should contact your health care provider. This could be a sign that you are developing a condition called pregnancy induced hypertension (PIH). You may also hear the names preeclampsia or toxemia. All three of these terms are synonymous for the same condition.
Pregnancy Week 38: How Big is Your Baby?
Babies sizes vary around the last several weeks of pregnancy, but most likely your baby is between 17 and 20 inches (43.2 to 50.8 cm) long and weighs 6 ¼ to 7 ½ pounds (2.8 to 3.4 kg).*
Pregnancy Week 38: What is Happening With Your Baby?
Your baby is continuing to grow, but the vast majority of his/her organs are mature and fully functioning. The only exceptions are his/her brain and lungs. These two organs are at a point that they will function outside of the womb, but will also continue to mature during childhood.
You may have an idea of what your baby will look like. Maybe you want your baby to have Aunt Ellen’s red hair, your partner’s green eyes, or your father’s long legs. You most likely will not be able to tell right away what color of eyes your baby will have unless they are brown. If they are brown there is a good chance they will stay that way. However, if your baby’s eyes are gray or blue, they can stay that way or turn green, hazel, or brown. Normally this occurs by the time your baby is nine months old.*
What Should You Plan for This Week?
Your healthcare provider should discuss the following information with you if it has not already been covered:
- Who to call when you think you are in labor and when the call should be made
- Early labor completed at home
- Any medical problems
- Pregnancy induced hypertension (PIH)
- Gestational diabetes
- Intrauterine growth restriction (IUGR)
- Decreased fetal movements
- Breech positioning
Pregnancy Week 38: Tips for Making Your Pregnancy Better
If your health care provider thinks that your baby is in a breech position, he/she may order another sonogram for confirmation. This can give you one last look at your baby before he/she enters the world. Some women may have to spend the last several weeks of their pregnancy having non-stress tests performed. A non-stress test can be performed at your health care provider’s office or in a hospital setting.
You will be asked to lie down, and a fetal monitor will be attached to your abdomen. You are asked to push a button every time you feel your baby move, and the monitor records your baby’s heartbeat. While having these kinds of tests can be overwhelming, they can also provide an opportunity to form additional bonding between mother and child. Many mothers actually come to the point that they enjoy this time, because they can hear their child’s heartbeat.
Pregnancy Week 38: Tips for Mom’s Partner:
Have you packed your bag for the hospital? If not, you might want to go ahead and get that taken care of, because the baby could be arriving at any moment. Many fathers like to get their son or daughter a special gift. It could be a toy, first football, doll, book, or stuffed animal.
If you are planning on this you want to go ahead and pack it with your bag. You might want to also think about getting your partner a special gift. This can be a great way to remind her how much you love and appreciate her. Remember these do not necessarily have to be extravagant or expensive gifts, just something to show that you care.