Pregnancy Week 38

You have turned all rounded, and desperately waiting for either the cute angel or the little hero to hold him in your hands. Well, be patient as your baby will himself decide his birthday to come out and he will do so once he is fully prepared. Some nagging thoughts must be ruling your mind related to baby and his delivery. You must be swinging in the calmness on one side and sudden panic attacks on the other.

Your baby is entering quite down into your pelvis which may give you lightning bolt sensation in your legs. Being so low in your pelvis, he is bumping on all kinds of nerves there even the most sensitive ones.

Read further to know what else you can expect from this week.

Growth and Development of Baby

Your little one is quite plumped up now. He or she weighs around 6.8 pounds and measures around 19 ½ inches long. Within two more weeks, your baby will make his most awaited arrival.

All the baby’s organs are mature enough to survive in the outside world. As you prepare for ETA, your baby is also getting ready to come out. The vernix and languo has been already shredded into the amniotic fluid. This amniotic fluid is taken in by the baby. Some of this fluid winds into the intestine along with other shred cells and waste products and becomes the baby’s first bowel movement called meconium.

The baby’s lungs are still maturing and continue building up surfactant which prevents sticking of air sacs when the baby breathes through air first time outside womb. Though, you are almost full term but there are little but important changes happening inside. The fat deposition is still on. The brain and nervous system are still fine tuning to be ready for all kinds of stimulations he/she will receive in the outer world.

Do you know what color of your baby’s eye is? Well, you may notice it to be brown, dark blue or any other color, no matter her parents have them or not. However, the baby’s eye color changes months after he/she is born. In the months ahead, your baby gains more pigment. The baby’s eye movements are also matured now with rapid eye movement lasting for about 25 minutes. This activity is coupled with periods of increased activity and fast heart beat.

You may notice a decreased activity in your womb as baby’s movements have slowed down. The reason is quite obvious as baby does not have enough room to move all around. Thus, baby is investing his time more into sleeping and resting. However, if you sense that there is significant slowing of movements or feel as if something is wrong, you must call the doctor immediately.

The baby’s neck muscles are strengthening so that head can be well away from the chest wall. Until now, the amniotic fluid provides the buoyancy which helps your baby to lift or move his head. However, this will be lost just after birth and thus you need to support his head every time you hold him.

Baby Engagement

You are in 38th week! It’s the time when the widest part of the baby enters in the pelvic brim or inlet. This process occurs two weeks before the due date. This is simply a process to prepare your baby for the easy arrival through vagina.

Women who previously had children may experience this engagement hours before labor. There are some physical changes when the baby is engaged. This includes increased ability to breathe, more space for stomach and lungs, your tummy may look lower, etc. All in all, a woman feels lighter and comfortable after engagement. One another benefit of this activity is that women do not gain weight after it. Instead, some of them even lose some pounds after engagement.

Along with this surge of energy and comfortable time, there are lots of more aches and pains. As the baby moves down, you may feel pain in your pelvic bone. Along with that, walking becomes a difficult task now. There is increased pressure on the bladder which aggravates the problem of urination further.

Concluding this, one can say that engagement is the step which should be celebrated but you must be careful not to get too excited or worries about it as your labor may still take two or more weeks.

Apart from the engagement, there are some other terms also which are somehow related to engagement only. You must have heard about “lightening” or “dropping”.

Lightening or dropping is similar to engagement as the baby descents into pelvis but in this it moves down to ischial spines. This gives you relief in shortness of breath and a feeling that baby has been dropped. Apart from this, it increases much pressure on the pelvis and problems like urination, constipation, hemorrhoids and varicose veins are aggravated. Some women even complain about leg swelling.

Engagement and dilation of cervix are the indications of labor which you may or may not realize. However, your doctor would analyze the same through internal examination. However, if your baby’s head is not engaged yet, it does not necessarily means that you will go past your due date.

Some reasons for not engaging of baby till this week:

  • Baby may lie in the posterior position.
  • Some babies have to rotate themselves to put their head on the mother’s left.
  • Pelvic shape in respect to fetal position may cause hindrances in engagement.
  • Pelvis inlet may have too small to allow entrance of the baby. Rickets, any injury or too big baby can be the reasons of this problem.
  • In second time babies, mother’s uterus is apple shaped rather than being a pear shaped. Therefore, in second time mothers, babies engage hours before labor.

Changes in Mother’s Body

Two weeks and counting……..Your baby is all set to live in the outside world. Your body and baby are making some final touches before the big day. These preparations may include baby engagement, dilation of cervix or effacement.

  • Well, with too little time left, you may get some relief from the last weeks issues like breathlessness and a feeling of fullness around your tummy. However, this comfort will be accompanied with other pains and aches. Sleeping becomes extremely difficult as you cannot lie on your stomach and sleeping on back is not at all recommended as this will put unwanted pressure on your major blood vessel. So, better make yourself comfortable while lying to your left side. Keep your upper left up to the knee and support it with a pillow.
  • It’s been weeks that you have seen your feet and legs while standing. Your tummy has grown quite big and it walks before you step ahead. With so big body, your clothes seem unfaithful. You are feeling snug even in your loose maternity clothes.
  • A thin, yellowish liquid, precursor of breast milk, known as colostrum must be leaking from your breasts from this week if not yet happened. This milk contains high protein and low fat and sugar. This is the preparation for breastfeeding. Wear nursing pads to avoid any embarrassing situation. However, if your breasts are not leaking, don’t be concerned as not all women face this condition.
  • Swelling is the problem you may face in this week. Your feet and ankles may merge which is uncomfortable. However, you will lose much of body fluid via urine after delivery and the problem will be solved.
  • You must be having loose bowel movements or diarrhea which is a way to make enough room for the baby to come out. Keep your food light and simple and avoid any spicy and fatty foods. Do not forget drinking at least eight glasses of water every day.

Some Important Tips to Consider

  • Try to keep away from the crowds and sick people. Though, it is not always possible to avoid, any kind of sickness but you can always opt for preventions. Limiting exposures to large crowd will lessen the chances. Ensure that you are in best condition and full of energy before delivery.
  • Go for a massage, prenatal yoga, swimming, meditation or long walks to chill out before you get into labor. No matter how much organized you are, do not leave anything for last minutes.
  • Talk to your friends or relatives who have had their baby recently. Get information about their baby’s pediatrician and mention their name to the doctor. If you are a private patient, you can always mention your preferences for your baby’s doctor.
  • Make sure that you visit your obstetrician weekly as she will analyze you internally to know how far you are from labor. She will also notice some other signs of labor, baby’s position and other possibilities before delivery. Do not miss on that.
  • Make a list of all the contacts and email addresses to be informed when you get the good news so that either your partner or other family members can do so.
  • Make sure that your hospital bag is ready not requiring any last minute changes. Though, there are still two weeks, you must be prepared as if you have to rush to the hospital NOW as you never know what your baby has planned for his arrival.
  • We are sorry for repeating it again but do watch your signs of labor which includes, bloody show, waters break and intense contractions.

Don’t be overwhelmed with what’s happening and have faith in yourself and the God. Prepare and trust your body to be strong enough to deliver your baby safely. Show some confidence and trust in health care professionals and caretakers. Be optimistic and believe that everything will go smooth and fine soon.