— Time to experience more frequent and intense Braxton Hicks contractions!
Pack your bag and keep them ready near the door. If you are a first-time mother-to-be, then no need to worry about what to pack. Search online, and you will find a checklist of things that need to be packed. Women who have planned for homebirth need to pack a small bag.
For most women, these last weeks of pregnancy will be so hard. You may experience Braxton Hicks contractions more frequently and even intensely. Even you can have sex during this period. Unless your water has broken, you can safely have intercourse. Some studies proved that sex and nipple stimulation are natural methods to induce labor.
This week, many things are still happening with you and your baby. Learn about what to expect during these final weeks and at the maternity center.
Symptoms experienced by a 38 weeks pregnant woman:
The level of discomfort that you experience will increase this week because of the size and weight of your baby, putting increased pressure upon the internal organs. Also, the pregnancy hormone relaxin will even relax the joints between the bones around the pelvic region, thus making the back pain even worse.
Here are the signs of true labor that you experience during pregnancy week 38:
Unfortunately, no one can exactly predict when your labor will begin. You may deliver the baby exactly on your due date, or the baby may even decide to stay in your womb until pregnancy week 41 or 42. Here are the common labor signs that most 38 weeks pregnant women experience:
- You may experience Braxton Hicks contractions that are more intense, strike more often, and get closer together. Also, there is a great chance that these Braxton Hicks contractions may even become real contractions.
- Increased vaginal discharge is also a pregnancy symptom you experience during pregnancy week 38. Dilation of the cervix leads to the discharge of the mucus plug, particularly during the last few weeks of pregnancy. This sign indicates that you are very near to real labor.
- Cervix starts to ripen. Braxton Hicks contractions that you experience during those previous weeks can cause the cervix to soften, thin, or even dilate a little bit. Though the cervical dilation starts, there is no urgency to visit the hospital until it has dilated to 4 centimeters. This indicates that labor is very near. When you are near the due date, your obstetrician performs a vaginal examination to determine whether the cervix has started to dilate or efface yet.
- Water breaking is also an indication of true labor signs. This breakage happens with the rupturing of the amniotic sac. If you notice this, immediately call your doctor or midwife. Even if you notice any contractions after water breaking, your doctor will try to induce the labor. Without any protection of the amniotic sac, your baby is at higher risk of getting an infection.
Physical changes that occur in a 38-week pregnant woman:
When you are 38 weeks pregnant, your belly will pretty much appear the same as the previous week. During the 38th week of pregnancy, you might gain weight between 25-30 pounds.
Your breasts may become even more significant and notice a colostrum discharge from the nipples. If they are not bigger or leaky, don’t worry. You won’t experience any difficulty breastfeeding.
You may also observe increased swelling of the feet and ankles. If the condition is more intense, try to have some support. You can use the hose. Remember that the tops are not too tight if you use thigh- or knee-high stockings. You can wear them before the swelling starts.
Fetal changes that occur in a 38-week pregnant woman:
When you are 38 weeks pregnant, the baby is about 21.25 inches in length and up to 6.8 pounds. The baby’s weight may also depend on whether it is a boy or girl.
The level of amniotic fluid is steadily decreasing. Don’t worry; your baby has enough amniotic fluid for proper protection and cushioning.
Though space may be getting tight, the baby still tries to kick and move around. The baby’s internal organs are almost well developed, and the baby is perfectly ready to live in the outside world.
The baby’s intestines are releasing a substance called meconium. It is a waste product released from the pancreas, liver, and gall bladder. This substance is removed after the birth, but if the birth is delayed, then there is a great chance to expel this substance into the amniotic fluid, which will be extremely dangerous for the baby.
By this week, the baby’s reflexes will become even stronger. When you put light closer to your belly, the baby quickly turns towards it. This reflex is generally called an orienting response.
Your baby has fully developed hair on his/her head by this week. Usually, the baby’s head and abdominal circumference are the same sizes.
With more fat deposition, the baby’s body becomes plumper and less wrinkled. Besides being the size of a newborn baby, they are also the weight of a light laptop computer.
What care should be taken by a 38 weeks pregnant woman?
- Avoid sitting or standing for long hours.
- Wear low-heeled shoes.
- Whenever you sit, make sure to keep support on your back.
Several positions can help to avoid most discomforts during pregnancy week 38:
- Semi-sitting helps gravity in getting your baby along and through the pelvis.
- Side-lying eliminates the weight and pressure of the uterus on the major blood vessels and the perineum.
- I was squatting aids to open the pelvis and helps gravity. This upright squat position is perfect for giving birth and is considered by most women.
Have a wonderful journey of pregnancy!! Go on to know more about the exciting things during pregnancy week 39…