38 Weeks Pregnant: Your Checklist
- If you haven’t already, install your baby’s car seat so it’s ready to go when it comes to bringing your baby safely home.
- Are you set on your baby’s names? If not, take another look at the Pampers Baby Name Generator for some extra inspiration.
- If you happen to have a prenatal appointment this week, you can discuss your baby feeding options, such as breastfeeding, and find out what resources and support networks are available to you in the hospital and when you’re home with your newborn.
When you’re 38 weeks pregnant, your baby probably weighs about 6.5 to 6.8 pounds and may measure between 19 and 19.5 inches long. He’s now gaining about half a pound each week. Most of the vernix and lanugo that covered his skin have gone. The pregnancy is now full-term, so you should keep an eye out for signs of labor. You might also have symptoms like back pain, swollen ankles, and the urge to urinate more often as your baby “drops.” This week, you are in about the eighth month of pregnancy. You’re nearly at the end of the pregnancy, but there are still many changes taking place as your baby gets ready to meet you. Here’s more on what you might experience as the big day draws near.
Your Baby’s Development
Your baby weighs about 6 pounds, 6 ounces (2,900 grams) now and measures about 13.4 inches (34 cm) in length from crown to rump. Fat is still building, although growth is slower now. You may notice that your weight gain has slowed or stopped.
Watch Your Baby GrowYour baby has been able to suck and swallow amniotic fluid, so waste material has built up in the intestines. Cells shed from the intestines, dead skin cells, and lanugo hair are some of the waste products that make meconium, a greenish-black substance that is your baby’s first bowel movement.
If you’re having a boy, his testicles have dropped into the scrotum, unless he has a condition called undescended testicle. If you’re having a girl, the labia are now completely developed.
Because your baby is engaged in your pelvis, your bladder is very compressed, making frequent bathroom trips a necessity.
If you’re having a boy, have you and your partner made a decision about circumcision? This surgical procedure removes the foreskin of the penis in male babies. For some parents, the decision about whether to circumcise is easy; for others, it’s not. Talk to your health care provider about the issues surrounding circumcision, including pain relief options for the baby.
Pregnancy symptoms at 38 weeks
You may be feeling huge and uncomfortable during these final weeks. Try to take it easy. See a film, read a book that has nothing to do with pregnancy or babies, and catch up with friends. These are all things you’ll find hard to fit in once your baby arrives.
How your life’s changing
- Neither of you will have much time for cooking in the few weeks after your baby’s born, but you could freeze ahead some home-made meals.
- This week you’ll have your last antenatal appointment before your baby’s born, unless you go overdue. So make a list of any last-minute questions you may have for your midwife. You may have questions ranging from how to cope with early labour to what pain relief is available, including tips on natural ways to ease pain.
- Your partner should try to relax, too, and enjoy some activities there won’t be time for after your baby arrives. Some dads-to-be worry about feeling a bit of a spare part while the mum does all the hard work of giving birth. Reassure him that there’s plenty he can do to support you. It may help him to read about what birth partners wish they’d known before the birth.
- If your partner is worried about watching you experience pain, remind yourselves that labour pain is different from normal pain. It isn’t a sign that something is wrong. Instead, it’s a sign that your baby is on her way and that the uterus muscles are working well to help her into the world.
- As for last-minute preparations, collect change for vending machines and make sure that your camera and phones are fully charged. If you have other children, double-check your back-up plans for childcare when labour begins.