Pregnancy- Week 38

How your baby is growing:

If you’re having a boy he is likely larger than a little girl would be at this point. (This sometimes doesn’t occur but usually the difference shows up in the end) The rough estimate for size this week is seven to eight pounds and nineteen to twenty inches, whew that’s getting big! Only three weeks left now if you are one of the few moms-to-be that actually go the full forty or longer. Your baby is now just hanging out, developing its immune system further and practicing breathing amniotic fluid through those nice newly finished lungs. The waxy-coating and fuzzy down layer that covers your baby’s skin continues to shed.

How your body is changing:

You may begin to experience electric buzzes down your legs and/or in your vagina area. They may feel tingly or numb sort of. This caused by that huge baby hitting nerves in your pelvis and is harmless though annoying. However if you experience extended periods of numbness anywhere in the body it is important you call your doctor right away.

Other symptoms you may continue to experience or experience this week include backaches, joint pain, heartburn, indigestion, constipation, increasing Braxton-Hicks contractions, painful kicks, extreme bladder pressure, stretch marks, itchy uncomfortable skin, swollen ankles, fatigue, dry mouth, and/ or mood swings. As usual give your doctor a call if you experience any symptom that is not ordinary. At this point, your doctor is expecting you to call often as labor anxiety hits hard. All you have to do is to hang in there, you really are almost there.

Lastly if you haven’t already begun to do so, you soon will be leaking the Colostrum, mentioned in earlier weeks. To recap, this is usually thick, whitish yellow fluid that leaks from the breasts. It is a highly nutritious pre-milk for your baby in the first weeks of life that is also packed with antibodies to continue to grow your baby’s immune system. It’s nothing to be alarmed about though it may be obnoxious. You can get breast feeding pads, or just use a panty liner in your bra to avoid unsightly wet marks on your clothing.

How your life is changing:

During one of your now weekly appointment with your doctor, it is a good idea to ask some important questions, if you haven’t already.

When do I go to the hospital or call? And how long should I let contractions go on, how far apart should they be? Should I call when contractions start or just when they are a certain amount of time apart?
You should also ask how to time contractions if you don’t know how, as this is important to understanding when to go to the hospital or call your doctor. Rest easy though because the only thing that calling or going in too early will do is result in you having to go through more contractions at the hospital. No big deal, most women are just more comfortable at home. Your doctor can also instruct you on pain management techniques during contractions.
Above all avoid silly methods to induce labor if you are feeling antsy like drinking Castrol oil or jumping up and down even if family members or friends are recommending you do so. These methods will only make you far more miserable. If you baby was ready to come out then it would, and if it needed to come out your doctor would induce you. What is important here is to keep your doctor informed. You’ve been pregnant thirty-eight weeks, you can hold out a few more for your baby’s sake. Once you hit forty weeks you can try some of the methods to help labor occur that actually work rather than just making yourself tired and have the runs.

You may also want to know:

Things to do this week:
Many doctors recommend slowing down this week, if you’ve really been throwing yourself into the “nesting urge” activities around your home. This is to preserve energy for your imminent labor (you’re going to need it) and to reduce the chance you will go into labor before hitting forty weeks. (Remember you are full-term now but babies that stay in the full forty are healthiest) However slowing down doesn’t mean you can’t do a few activities to preserve the memory of your labor.

If you haven’t already taken some pregnancy photos, week thirty-eight can be a great time for this. You don’t have to have a professional, take them yourself. In fact many women are more comfortable in their own home and your partner will get a kick out of getting to play photographer. Just hang a sheet on the wall and get shooting. You don’t have to share these photos with anyone. You could consider taking some for the wall and frame and some for your personal memory stash.