What to Expect when You’re 38 Weeks Pregnant
From the end of week 38, your pregnancy will be considered “full term”. You are now very close to your due date and your baby could be making his or her first appearance in the “outside world” anytime in the next two or three weeks!
Late Pregnancy Symptoms
It’s likely that you’re feeling sluggish and tired by Week 38 of pregnancy. The fact is, your body is working really hard to prepare you for labor, delivery, and motherhood. This process does cause some uncomfortable symptoms. The major ones are:
Edema: Swollen feet and ankles from fluid build up.
Bloody show: A sign of the cervix dilating.
Diarrhea: Your body making more room for Baby and “clearing out” in preparation for labor.
Incontinence: Caused by pressure on the bladder and decreased sensitivity (you don’t KNOW when you need to GO!)
Leaky nipples: Your breasts are preparing for nursing and are already making colostrum.
Braxton Hicks Contractions: Your uterus “practicing” for labor.
Early Signs of Labor
In the past, many doctors induced labor at 38 weeks. But the latest research suggests that the closer you go to 40 weeks, the better. That said, Baby will arrive when he or she is good and ready and you won’t get much say.
A lot of the late pregnancy symptoms have the potential to trick you into thinking that you’re going into labor when you may actually carry for another two or three weeks. However, there are a few sure symptoms of pregnancy coming to an end and labor beginning. Look out for:
The Mucous Plug
Throughout your pregnancy, you’ve had this little “plug” in your cervix. Leading up to the start of labor, you may pass this thick glob of mucous, which can be a sign that your cervix is becoming more dilated and labor will begin in the next couple of days.
The sac of amniotic fluid that has nurtured your baby throughout your pregnancy may rupture and a flood of water will come from your vagina. Depending on how dilated you are, this may be closely followed by contractions or you may still have a day or two to wait. Contact your professionals as soon as this happens. Be aware that not all women’s waters break without assistance.
You’ll be able to tell the difference between real contractions and Braxton Hicks because they come at regular intervals and you can not ease or stop them by changing positions or walking around. If you think you’re having real contractions, get out a timer and measure the intervals between them.
Ask for Help whenever you need it!
If you’re ever in any doubt about whether what you’re experiencing is a normal symptom of late pregnancy or the beginnings of labor, it doesn’t hurt to check with your professionals.
To Do List
Fill the Freezer:
If you’ve got the energy, work with your partner to stock the freezer with a few nutritional casseroles and meals – the neonatal stage of parenting is exhausting and you’ll be glad not to have to worry about cooking after Baby arrives. If you’re too tired and uncomfortable to cook right now, put out a plea to friends and family – they’re probably looking for a way to help you out.
And, of course, try and relax and rest as much as you can!
Have you packed your hospital bag yet?
From now on, you might find that you’re rushing for the delivery room at any moment! Some babies are just so keen to say Hello to the world. If you’re wondering what you’ll need, our handy hospital bag checklist is packed with helpful pointers.
Buy som nursing clothes:
In no time at all, you’ll be breastfeeding your newborn. Have you invested in some comfortable and practical nursing clothes?
Useful Links and Pregnancy Articles
You can’t really plan for the perfect delivery – every woman labors differently and there are so many unknowns! But, knowledge is preparedness. So, to help you prepare for what’s ahead, we take a close look at labor and delivery.
From the end of Week 38 on, you could go into labor at any time (but hopefully you’ll keep that baby safely inside for another 3 weeks!). In this article, we look at signs of false labor and the sure signs that labor is actually beginning.
The final weeks of pregnancy can really drag. It feels like forever since those magical 1st pregnancy symptoms. You’re bone tired but you can’t sleep. And the signs of pregnancy symptoms are playing havoc with your bodily functions, your emotions, and your mind! You’re continuously checking the pregnancy due date calculator to see how much longer you have to go. Sound like you? Don’t worry, you’re not alone. We’ve got some practical advice on getting through the last month of pregnancy in one (well, soon to be two!) piece.