What Changes are Occurring With Your Body?
At 38 weeks pregnant, you may experience some swelling in your feet. which is a normal part of pregnancy, especially towards the end. However, if you experience severe or sudden swelling in your hands, face, 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), also known as preeclampsia or toxemia.
How Big is Your Baby at 38 Weeks?
Babies sizes vary around the last several weeks of pregnancy, but at 38 weeks pregnant your baby is probably 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).
What Is Happening With Your Baby during Pregnancy Week 38?
Your baby is continuing to grow, but the vast majority of the organs are mature and fully functioning. The only exceptions are your baby’s brain and lungs. These two organs can function outside of the womb at this point, although they will continue to mature during childhood. You may wonder 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 could 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)
- Breech positioning
Tips for Making Your Pregnancy Better
If your health care provider thinks your baby is in a breech position, you may need another sonogram for confirmation. This can give you one last look at your baby before delivery. Some women may also have non-stress tests performed during the last weeks of pregnancy. 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 will 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 feel overwhelming, they can also provide an opportunity to bond with your baby. Many mothers actually enjoy this time because they can hear their baby’s heartbeat.
Tips for Mom’s Partner:
Have you packed your bag for the hospital? If not, you may want to go ahead and get that taken care of because your baby could be arriving at any moment. Many fathers like to get their new 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 may want to pack it with your bag. You may also want to 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.
Want to Know More?
- Creating Your Birth Plan
- Cord Blood Banking – Your Three Choices Explained
- Breastfeeding Essentials for Moms, by Moms