Pregnancy Week by Week – Week 38

Only Two Weeks of Pregnancy to Go

Your baby is now growing by leaps and bounds with just two weeks to go. She may have dropped into your pelvis to prepare for birth.

You are in the final stretches of your pregnancy in Week 38. It is important to get some rest and prepare for your baby’s arrival. One way you can do that is to slow down your work schedule if you are working outside the home. Here are some other things you should know about Week 38 of pregnancy:

What is happening with Your Baby?

In week 38, your baby is still growing at a rapid pace. He may be nearly 37-38 cm in length (about 15 inches) and as much as 3,100 grams (or 6 1/2 pounds.)

If you are expecting a boy, his testicles will likely be fully descended by Week 38. If you are expecting a girl, her labia will be fully developed at this stage of pregnancy.

Typically, in the last few weeks of your pregnancy, your baby will have dropped into your pelvis and may even be engaged. Your provider may also use the expression “zero station” if your baby is fully engaged at this time.

What is happening with You?

Are you experiencing more frequent Braxton-Hicks contractions as you close in on your due date? It is not unusual to feel more and more of these infrequent contractions as your uterus prepares for the big day of labor. Remember that Braxton-Hicks contractions do not change in intensity or frequency over time as true labor contractions do. You will notice even more episodes of pre-labor contractions if this is your second or later baby.

You might even find that you lose a pound or so in these last weeks of pregnancy, even as your baby is gaining weight!

Your body is also getting ready to feed your baby so it is common to see more colostrum (which looks like whitish-yellowish leakage from your breasts) in Week 38 of pregnancy. Even if your baby comes early this week, your breastmilk will have additional protein and antibodies made just for your baby’s needs.

To Do List:

1. Slow down your work schedule to rest before labor begins.

2. Continue your healthy diet and taking prenatal vitamins.

3. Consider preparing meals ahead to freeze for after the baby comes.

4. Have a phone list ready and handy with names of friends, family, breastfeeding resources, pediatrician, etc. so that you will have easy access to postpartum support.

5. Pack your labor bags.

6. Review possible signs of labor to distinguish from Braxton-Hicks contractions.

Find out what happens in Week 39.