The final countdown has 'officially' started as you reach 38 weeks pregnant. In two weeks you'll be holding and hugging your precious little one.
Or in maximum four weeks, if your baby is a slow poke. Give a last-ditch effort to make it through these days, when your body is getting ready for the big moment that you've been waiting for. What's the time left in comparison to these past 8 months? That's it, a blink of an eye.
That being said, it could be hard to keep anxiety under control by pregnancy week 38, which is so close to the end. If you want some relief at 38 weeks pregnant, just pay attention to the next lines, where you'll find very useful advice for these 7 days. At week 38, pregnancy can't catch you unaware!
38 weeks pregnant: Brown, grey or blue?
Inside your womb, the baby is pretty much ready to say “hi!” and make his entrance into the world. By now, he's reached a size of 20 inches or so, while he weighs around 7 pounds (your little one isn't that little anymore!). Besides his unstoppable growth, your future munchkin will experience a significant change in his eyes, which by now are brown, grey or blue. As you may know, this colour is going to change because of the light effect. You won't be able to tell the real colour until he turns, more or less, one year old.
In the process of preparing for life (and labour) at 38 weeks pregnant, your baby will achieve additional milestones, including:
- Growing hair on his head up to an inch long
- Vocal chords have fully developed, so he is now able to cry
- Both lanugo and vernix keep detaching from his body
- Meconium, the baby's first poop, continues to get formed out of amniotic fluid and waste products
- His lungs are almost ready to provide him with a normal breathing ability
- His nervous system keeps expanding and becoming more complex
38 weeks pregnant: The waiting game
Yes, the only thing you want right now is to be done with pregnancy. Week 38 means you are really far along as an expectant mother, but you need to save some patience for this moment. Even if you don't notice it, your body is already getting ready to help your baby out—literally. Step by step, your cervix is dilating, while your pelvis is now accommodating your 'dropping baby'. These days, you should invest your time in doing all the things you won't be able to for the next few months. Being a (probably) impatient 38 weeks pregnant lady, this may be the time to try to read that book that's been sitting on your nightstand, enjoy a movie with your partner, take naps and, basically, rest a lot!
Don't be surprised if you notice any of the following side effects hitting your body (some of them, once again):
- Leaky breasts: colostrum, the 'pre-breast milk', is leaking from your nipples. Try to protect your clothes by wearing nursing pads.
- Frequent urination: as mentioned before, your baby's found his place in your pelvis. That will pressure your bladder, so get ready for constant trips to the toilet.
- Mucous plug: discharge gets more intense, as your cervix starts to dilate.
- Loose bowel movements: Do you remember when you used to feel bloated? Well, having diarrhoea these days is another way to unblock your body and make the imminent labour easier.
- Itchy belly: add this one to the list of annoying symptoms. If you want to soothe it, try to spread vitamin E (in oil form is most effective) on it.
- Energy ups and downs: this week you may experience extreme changes in your energy levels.
- Braxton Hicks Contractions: you probably are already familiar with these preliminary contractions that may get more severe.
Swollen feet and ankles are pretty common by the time you’re 38 weeks pregnant. Knowing this, watch out for additional symptoms, such as weight gain, visual changes, nausea and regular headaches. These could be related to preeclampsia: this is a condition that causes high blood pressure and can even be deadly when it's severe. Don't think about it twice. If you are feeling anything like this, call your practitioner!
38 weeks pregnant: Figure it out!
When you reach pregnancy week 38, it's time for the third to last antenatal appointment! This one should help you resolve every doubt you could have about those pregnancies that last more than 41 weeks. Besides providing you with information, the doctor or midwife will determine how big your uterus is right now. Also, he or she will test your blood pressure and the level of protein in your urine.
As you can see, there's a lot going on at 38 weeks pregnant. Don't be overwhelmed by the moment, because everything will fall into place. Face those pesky side effects with a positive attitude and just think that, before you know it, they'll be gone. On the contrary, your baby will come into your life to lift it to a fantastic new level!