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Week 38 of Pregnancy: All You Need to Know

Baby Development|Body and Life Changes|Your Doctor Visits|Health and Safety
Week 38 of Pregnancy: All You Need to Know

Baby Development

How is my baby growing?

Welcome to the 38th week of your pregnancy! Your baby is in full term. From a tiny seed, your baby is now the size of a watermelon. With an estimated weight of 6 ¼ to 7 ½ pounds (2.8 to 3.4 kg) and height of 17 and 20 inches (43.2 to 50.8 cm) long, your child is ready to be born.

In week 38 of pregnancy baby development, the tiny hairs (lanugo) covering your baby throughout the early stages of your pregnancy, will have mostly disappeared by now. Your baby will also continue to store its first poop (meconium). Meconium is a green slimy substance that contains all the particles your baby took in during their stay in the womb.

Most of your baby’s organs are developed and functioning well. The brain and lungs, on the other hand, aren’t completely mature yet, but will be ready to function well after birth. These two vital organs will continue to grow to cater to your baby’s needs.

Body and Life Changes

How is my body changing?

During week 38 of pregnancy baby development, you might start to feel more pressure in your pelvis area. This is caused by your baby moving itself to the correct birthing position.

Due to the excess bodily fluids that accumulate in your tissues and joints, your hands, feet, ankles, and legs will swell up. During week 38 of pregnancy baby development, swelling in some parts of your body will be more prominent as it helps prepare you for delivery. If you notice that the swelling of your body is not normal, contact your doctor immediately, as this can be an indication of preeclampsia.

You might find it difficult to move, sit, sleep, and stand at this point in your pregnancy. Because you are just two weeks away from your due date, signs of labor will most likely be felt. Mild menstruation-like cramps might be noticed, as well as back pains. Always remember that if these signs are making you extremely uncomfortable, call for an ambulance, and inform your medical provider as soon as possible.

What should I be concerned about?

Similar to the past week, you must be aware of your child’s birthing position. You must confirm your baby’s position at week 38 of pregnancy baby development because you might be giving birth at any time. Contact your doctor, and ask for help in repositioning your baby if necessary.

Preeclampsia is another disease that you might acquire this week. It is a common disease of pregnant women that is caused by high blood pressure and damage to certain organs like the liver and kidneys.

Sudden and excessive swelling of the legs, feet, ankles, hands, and face might point to preeclampsia.

According to a study, 36.7% of all maternal deaths in the Philippines are caused by hypertensive diseases, with preeclampsia making up 22.5% of the number. Some women may experience mild cases of preeclampsia, but if not treated instantly, it may cause fatal complications for both the mother and the baby.

In case you experience symptoms of preeclampsia, do not hesitate to call your doctor for treatment.

Your Doctor Visits

What should I tell my doctor?

At 38 weeks of pregnancy baby development, you should inform your doctor about the changes in your body and the sensations you are currently feeling. With this, your doctor will know if you are undergoing labor or not.

You may go into labor between 38 weeks and your due date, but you can easily determine if you’re about to give birth through the following signs:

  • Contractions with regular intervals
  • Passing of the mucus plug
  • Back pains
  • Feeling of defecating with ongoing contraction
  • Water breaking

What tests should I know about?

Before giving birth, there are tests that you should get done to ensure the safety of both you and your baby. Some of these tests can be done in your doctor’s clinic, or at the hospital.

Your doctor might give you the usual ultrasound to check whether the baby is in the correct orientation before delivery. In week 38 of pregnancy baby development, you also might undergo a blood and urine test to detect if you’re at risk of preeclampsia.

You can also get a Fetal Non-Stress Test (NST), to monitor the heartbeat of your baby. The non-stress test is performed if the baby is not moving as frequently as usual (10 movements for 1 hour) and if you are going through a high-risk pregnancy.

Be sure to ask your medical provider before engaging in any kind of test to know if it is safe for you and the baby.

Health and Safety

What should I know about being healthy and safe while pregnant?

You are almost there! Only a few more days before you meet your little one. To prepare for it, here are things you need to do:

  • Eat healthy. Eating nutritious food during your pregnancy will not only help your baby to grow strong and healthy, but it will also help you increase the production of breast milk which contains all the nutrients your child needs.
  • Pack your hospital bag. Every necessity you might need must be in that hospital bag so that you and your partner won’t have to stress about going home to get your belongings.
  • Talk to your doctor and your partner about your pregnancy plan. This makes giving birth less stressful. Knowing the things you have to do, the places you have to be, the people you need to call, find, and see during labor and delivery will greatly help lessen your worries.
  • Enjoy your time with your partner. After you give birth, spending time with your partner will be challenging. While you’re pregnant, make time to create memories with your partner.

You have reached week 38 of pregnancy baby development. The countdown begins for the big day.

Hello Health Group does not offer any advice, diagnosis, or medical treatment.

Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

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Written by Mayvilyn Cabigao Updated May 09, 2020
Medically reviewed by Jobelle Ann Dela Cruz Bigalbal, M.D.