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Week 38

Week 38

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Two more weeks to go, and you're probably ready to have that baby! He or she is now nearing seven pounds in weight, and is less than 20 inches long. While the growth is slowing down a bit, your baby is still gaining fat for life outside your uterus. Your baby could safely be born now, and would likely be as healthy as a full term baby.

The fetus has developed most of the antibodies he or she needs to protect against infection and disease. Your baby is starting to accumulate a lot of meconium the first bowel movement. The creamy, white coating called vernix that formed to protect your baby's skin from fluid is now disappearing. The lanugo downy hair that also protects the skin is also going away as your baby prepares to be born.

At this point, you're probably not gaining much more weight. You are, however, feeling more uncomfortable, and constipation, heartburn and indigestion continue to bother you. You may be eating very light meals now, as any food might cause you uncomfortable indigestion or heartburn. This is due to the baby pressing so hard against your organs. You'll find your urinary incontinence may worsen, as well as ankle and foot swelling.

You're still seeing your doctor once a week, and each time he or she will check for signs that your body is ready for labor. Your cervix will begin to dilate, and the baby will have dropped much lower in the womb. Your physician will check the baby's position, and inquire about any early labor signs when you go in for your appointment.

Right now, you should be focusing on resting as much as possible. Any time now, you could have a newborn to take care of, and you won't be getting much sleep when that happens! Take this week to relax, and catch up on any reading you want to do before your baby comes.

You should have your hospital bag packed, so that you're ready to go any time baby decides its time. False labor contractions can trick you into thinking you're in labor, but they differ from true labor contractions. False contractions are quite painful, and can be felt in your lower abdomen, pelvis and back. However, if you change position they will often stop. True labor contractions will begin in your uterus, and then spread through your back and pelvis. No matter how many times you change position, true labor contractions will not stop.


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