You’ve reached the thirty-eighth week of pregnancy and are within the touching distance of the day you finally meet your baby. Right now, your baby will weigh around 7 pounds and the extra weight you’re carrying will be taking its toll on certain parts of your body.
A lot of women are ready to for the pregnancy to be over at 38 weeks, but it’s still not a good idea to opt for an electively induced pregnancy or C-section, as the baby is still in the very final stages of development. An electively induced birth is not recommended until week 39, and the extra week can make a big difference to the pregnancy. If you are feeling overwhelmed at 38 weeks pregnant, we hope this article can answer any questions and ease any concerns you may have.
38 Weeks Pregnancy Symptoms
In the final weeks of pregnancy, your baby is still growing, and hormone levels are fluctuating wildly throughout your system. This all has an effect on your body and can lead to numerous symptoms. The most common signs of pregnancy at week 38 are:
- Frequent Urination
The increased urge to urinate experienced throughout pregnancy is largely down to the increase in human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG) in your system. At 38 weeks pregnant, the size of your uterus is also a factor. The baby is now full-term, and the uterus has expanded to as big as it will get, this puts pressure on your bladder, particularly in the latter stages of pregnancy when your baby starts to move down into the pelvis.
A common and unpleasant pregnancy symptom at 38 weeks is diarrhea. It can be a result of many factors, including changes in diet, higher water intake, and prenatal supplement reactions. To ease symptoms of diarrhea, try adding starchy foods, vegetables, lean meats, and live culture yogurts to your diet. It’s also best to avoid simple high sugar drinks, too, as they can increase your water retention and exacerbate symptoms.
- Leaking Breasts
Colostrum is a precursor to breast milk that is rich in antibodies and nutrients and is the first food that your baby will enjoy in the outside world (normally, real milk isn’t produced until the third day after delivery. Pregnant women begin producing colostrum as early as the first trimester, but it is not common to start experiencing leaking breasts until the third trimester. This is a very common 38-weeks pregnant symptom.
- Nesting Instinct
A strange, but welcome pregnancy symptom at 38 weeks instinct is a burst of energy that occurs due to the increased adrenaline coursing through your system and is a natural instinct that helps you prepare for your baby’s arrival. This innate desire to get everything ready typically arises in week 38 or 39 of the pregnancy and is otherwise known as the nesting instinct.
Your Body at Week 38
At 38 weeks pregnant, your belly is sporting a nice baby bump and you’ll, no doubt, be wearing it with pride. Bumps vary in size, depending on the woman, and there is no standard size that your belly should be after being pregnant for 38 weeks. Your weight gain, too, will differ to other pregnant women, but an average weight woman will gain around 30 pounds throughout the duration of the pregnancy.
In the latter stages of pregnancy, a lot of women start to experience itchiness around their belly. This is caused by the skin stretching and expanding to accommodate the growth of the uterus. As the skin stretches it decreases its ability to retain moisture and becomes dry. This dryness leads to itchy feelings across your belly, and sometimes on your buttocks too.
If your water breaks this week, it usually means you are ready for labor. Water breaking happens when the amniotic sac ruptures and liquids start to leak out of it. You should contact a medical professional immediately if you notice this 38-weeks pregnant symptom.
Baby Size at Week 38
The fetus at 38 weeks is around the same size as a watermelon. It will weigh in the region of 3 to 3.5 kg and measure between 45 and 55 cm.
This week, your baby will also start shedding lanugo, the tiny hairs that covered it throughout the pregnancy to keep it warm. Its lungs are strengthening, vocal cords are fully developed, and it continues to practice breathing by inhaling the amniotic fluid that surrounds it in the womb.
Week 38 Pregnant Ultrasound
You’ll likely have an appointment with your obstetrician this week, and they will check that your baby is in the correct position for delivery. If your medical practitioner observes any abnormalities or concerns, they may perform a week 38 ultrasound as part of a BPP test, or biophysical profile. This test monitors the heart rate of your baby over a period of time, among other things.
How does your stomach feel at 38 weeks pregnant?
The biggest change in your stomach at 38 weeks pregnant is the increased pressure that occurs in your lower abdomen as a result of your baby moving downwards into the pelvis. This can cause an uncomfortable feeling from now until the end of the pregnancy.
What to expect at 38 weeks pregnant?
Some of the pregnancy symptoms at week 38 include insomnia, frequent urination, leaky breasts, itchy belly, and diarrhea.
How do you feel at 38 weeks pregnant?
The weight that you have put on throughout pregnancy, along with a sizeable baby bump, can make many women feel uncomfortable in their bodies at 38 weeks pregnant. If you are experiencing this, it might be a good idea to purchase some new clothes that make you feel good about yourself.
What does your stomach look like at 38 weeks pregnant?
Your baby is the same size as a small watermelon at 38 weeks pregnant, and your womb and stomach have to accommodate for its size. It’s likely, therefore, that you will have a large and impressive baby bump at this stage.
Tips for Week 38 of Pregnancy
- Wear Comfortable Clothing
Your clothing choices at 38 weeks pregnant can make a big difference to your overall happiness and comfort. Wearing looser and cool clothing will help ease the discomfort of some of the signs of pregnancy at week 38.
- Get Plenty of Rest
The final weeks of pregnancy are incredibly taxing on your body, both mentally and physically. Try to get plenty of rest at every possible opportunity to keep your strength up.
- Pack a Hospital Bag
Your baby could arrive any minute now and, when it does, you won’t have to time to worry about what to bring with you to the hospital. It’s wise to have a bag prepped already so that you have everything ready.