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Track Your Baby's Development Week By Week
Track Your Baby's Development Week By Week
..where little means a lot

Note: The length, weight and size mentioned below are only a guideline, as these vary from baby to baby and from one pregnancy to another.

What is going on with your baby during week 38?

  • Your baby now weighs anywhere between 6-8 pounds and measures at about 14 inches from crown to rump. (Notably, boys tend to be heavier than girls).
  • Baby's organs have matured and are ready for life outside the uterus.
  • This month your baby has worked on managing the complicated tasks of breathing, digesting, keeping the right heart rate and eating.

Week 38 Fetus

Changes in you at this stage Week 38

  • Swelling in your legs and ankles is normal during this time but not in your hands or face.
  • Your digestive system remains slowed this month because of the hormones unless your baby drops into your pelvis (lightening).
  • Your uterus will complete its expansion; at term it will extend from your pubic area to the bottom of your rib cage.

Good to Know in Week 38


  • Big babies do happen to small people.
  • It is very common to have a bowel movement or to urinate while having a contraction or pushing.
  • Neither you nor your baby will feel a thing when the cord is clamped.
  • Your vagina is going to be traumatized for a few weeks if you deliver vaginally. Lochia is a mixture of blood, mucus, and placenta leftovers that your body will expel for about 6 weeks post delivery.

Symptoms after the Birth:

  • Fatigue you experience now will be intense because of the physical and emotional changes you went and are going through. Hemorrhoids caused by the strain of pushing. Frequent urination as your body needs to rid itself of all the extra fluid. Plus your bladder may have trouble emptying fully because it became stretched out
  • Cramps and contractions occur for a few weeks especially if you are breastfeeding. Your uterus is returning to its normal size over a period of 6 weeks.
  • Hair loss will persist until your hormones normalize.
  • You may not always make it to the bathroom. After a vaginal birth especially and a big baby the changes to your bladder and pelvic floor muscles are the causes.

Wholesome Advice in Week 38

  • Your postpartum period may be the only time in your life when you will be happy to have your mother in-law around to help out. Accept any help that is offered because you will need it.
  • The truth is it is very confusing for many first-time pregnant women to know when they are in labor or when labor is starting. Don't feel embarrassed if you have to check with your doctor often.

Your actions can impact your baby's growth at this stage

Your Labor Bag

Now is probably the right time to pack a basic kit for the birth and afterwards.

You will need:

  • Nightdresses with front opening
  • Maternity bras
  • Breast pads
  • Sanitary towels
  • Toiletries - toothbrush & toothpaste, brush & comb, face cream, shower gel, shampoo, make-up, mirror, perfume
  • Clothes to come home in

Your Baby will need:

  • Nappies
  • Blanket
  • Suitable Clothes - 2-3 sets
  • Car seat - you must fit a suitable baby seat to the car in which you are bringing your baby home

The Extras

  • An extra pillow
  • A thick pair of socks
  • A hot water bottle for pain relief
  • Massage oil
  • A box of tissues

Learn to recognize the real thing

True labor is defined as regular painful contractions that cause cervical dilation. Often it can be difficult for you to tell if you are in true labor. Signs of true labor are:

  • After timing the contractions, you notice them coming consistently and closer in pace.
  • Each contraction lasts anywhere from 30 to 70 seconds and gets longer.
  • Your contractions do not ebb even after you change your activity.
  • The contractions start in your lower back and radiate to the front.
  • Your water breaks.

Usually once you find that you have been having painful contractions that seem to occur every 5 minutes for 2-3 hours it is fair to consider yourself in labor. However this doesn't mean you are ready to deliver. There are still many hours before you would be offered an epidural.

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Common Concerns in in Week 38

How will I know when my ‘water’ sac breaks?

  • Many women don't even realize that it has happened because it can be very unobvious. What you may feel is a warm trickle of liquid. You could also hear a pop sound and feel a gush or a trickle. You may get confused between ‘water’ breaking and your bladder. The wise thing to do is to put on a sanitary pad and lie down for 20 mins or so. When you stand up and you feel another trickle or gush then chances are your ‘water’ did break.

How will I know if the head has engaged?

The most obvious change you will notice is your bump looking lower than it did and the kicks you felt in the ribs are less. You may need to pee more often. Also termed lightening, your doctor will confirm this event by an external examination.

Weekly Nutrition advice in Week 38

  • During the last few weeks of pregnancy you should build on the preceding months of healthy eating so that you are prepared for the rigors of labor.
  • Vitamin K is needed for blood clotting prevent hemorrhaging and help to heal the placental site. It is derived naturally from the mother's gut and supplemented from foods such as broccoli, beans, spinach, avocado, cabbage, cauliflower, lettuce.
  • An infant depends on its mother for vitamin K, before birth via the placenta and after birth through breast milk. (Babies may be given vitamin K orally at birth).
  • Zinc is another important mineral required for hormone production and healing after birth.

Energy Production

  • To maintain energy level, you need to keep your blood sugar level constant by eating complex carbohydrates, which break down gradually and release sugar content slowly.
  • Eat lots of vegetables, grains and pulses to stock up on complex carbohydrates during the two weeks before birth.
  • Additionally, enzymes are needed; these are dependant on vitamins and minerals.
  • Enzyme deficiency will prevent you from maximizing your energy potential. To convert glucose into energy you need: The B group (B1, B2, B4, B6, B12)
  • Sources: meat, poultry, milk, eggs, vegetables, pulses, nuts, wholegrains.
  • B vitamins include folate. Sources: broccoli, spinach, wheatgerm, seeds, nuts
  • Vitamin C. Sources: citrus fruits, blackcurrants, tomatoes, broccoli Iron. Sources: prunes, nuts, pumpkin seeds, apricots Choline. Sources: eggs, fish, Soya beans, wholegrains, nuts, pulses Calcium & Magnesium. Sources: cheese, milk, beans, nuts, raisins Chromium. Sources: potatoes, wholemeal bread, eggs, chicken Co-enzyme Q10. Sources: meat, fish, eggs, Soya beans, spinach, broccoli, alfalfa

Disclaimer: Information contained on this Web site is intended solely to make available general summarized information to the public. It should not be substituted for medical advice. It is your responsibility to consult with your pediatrician and/or health care provider before acting on any advice on this web site. While OEM endeavors to provide up-to-date and accurate information, it is not liable for any advice whatsoever rendered nor is it liable for the completeness or timeliness of any information on this site.

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