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38 weeks pregnant

Katie de Klee
All you need to know at this pregnancy stage, what changes to expect, and some great tips for the week ahead.
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5 things to look forward to at 38 weeks pregnant:
1.     Your baby could be born any day now.
2.     Giant breasts – but they won’t get any bigger now.
3.     Playing the “hurry up and wait” game.
4.     Having time to make sure everything is ready for your baby.
5.     Your patience will be rewarded soon.
 
How your life will change this week:
Your baby is now officially full-term, and their birthday could be any day now. As you get nearer to giving birth, you might notice that the Braxton Hicks contractions get more intense. Use them as a reminder to practice your breathing techniques and try to remain calm through the pain. Often easier said than done! You may also notice blood in your vaginal discharge – this is a sign that your labour is around the corner. The blood is from blood vessels in your cervix that rupture during dilation, so if you notice it you can probably expect to be meeting your baby pretty soon. Diarrhoea can also be a sign that labour is on its way. You could give birth any day now, but it could also be a few weeks. As much as possible, try to relax until your day comes. This is the perfect time to make sure that everything is as organised as possible for your baby’s arrival.

Your breasts may seem larger than ever, but odds are they won’t grow any more (thank goodness!) They may leak colostrum, which comes before your breast milk and will be your baby’s first meal. Your body is ready to nourish your baby, whenever they decide to arrive.

Your baby’s development this week:
Your baby is continuing to put on layers of fat and their abdomen will now have about the same circumference as their head.  The white protective layer on your baby’s skin, the vernix, will be shedding into the amniotic fluid and be swallowed by your baby. You may see some of it still on your baby’s skin when they are born, the rest will appear as a black substance (known as meconium) in your baby’s first nappy. All of your baby’s organ systems are fully developed, though the lungs will still need a little bit of maturing – sometimes even after birth. And your baby’s brain will still be sharpening up, for the next few decades!

This week’s To Do list:
  • Stock up your fridge and freezer with food for the first weeks after your baby is born.
  • Rub some vitamin E oil into your skin: it will soothe any itchiness.
  • Make sure you’ve packed some nice clothes for your baby in your hospital bag.
If you have 5 minutes… Pregnancy top tip.
Make sure your partner and doctor know that you want to have skin-to-skin contact with your baby immediately after birth – it can really help with breastfeeding, and you’ll want to meet your baby as soon as possible anyway.

Curious about next week?  
Click here to find out what happens next week… And the week after.

Share your thoughts and concerns
Chat with other Moms-to-be in your area or at the same developmental stage as you in BabyGroup Forums.


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