Pregnancy

Thirty-eighth week of pregnancy

Welcome to week 38! Your due date is only 2 weeks away, and labor could begin at any time. If you’re expecting twins, you can finally hold them in your arms this week.

Weight and length at 38 weeks

Month 9th month
Gestational age from 37+0 to 37+6
Length of the fetus (*) 48.6cm
Weight of the fetus (*) 2966 grams
Weight gain (**) +14.5kg
Moms group March 2023

 

How many months is 38 weeks pregnant?

At week 38 you are in the middle of the ninth month of gestation and there are about 2 weeks left until delivery . To know the exact correspondence between months and weeks of pregnancy you can use our conversion table .

38 per week: frequent symptoms

How your body changes

Joy and pain!

In recent weeks, you may feel slight jerks going from the vagina to the legs, due to the pressure exerted by the baby’s head on the nerves in the pelvis .

Furthermore, the weight of the uterus and the greater curvature of the back could cause inflammation of the sciatic nerve, characterized by a sharp and stinging pain in the buttocks area, which can affect the entire back area of ​​the leg.

Try not to despair and focus on the immense joy that awaits you: it’s very close now to hug your baby! In the meantime, to relieve these symptoms, avoid spending too much time standing or sitting and sleep on your side (if the left side is sore, the right side is fine too), with your legs bent and a pillow between your knees.

If, on the other hand, you are among the lucky mothers who feel fit, you may wonder if you can have sex with your partner or if there is some risk instead. Don’t worry: in the absence of contraindications from the gynecologist, sexual activity can continue without risk even  in the last weeks of pregnancy .

Preparatory contractions

From this week on, Braxton Hicks contractions may become painful and felt in the lower back and lower abdomen , but will ease with walking, changing positions , or taking a hot bath .

The difference between these preparatory contractions and those that herald labor is that the  real contractions :

  • they have a regular rhythm
  • over time they become more and more painful , longer and closer together
  • they do not disappear with heat or by changing position .

If you fear that you may not be able to recognize real contractions, don’t worry and trust your instincts and your body. In any case, if you have any doubts , do not hesitate to contact your gynecologist or midwife .

When to go to the hospital?

In general, it is recommended to go to the facility chosen to give birth when:

  • the contractions increase in intensity , have started for at least an hour and occur at regular intervals of five minutes ;
  • the water broke and the vaginal-rectal swab performed in the previous weeks had a positive result . In this case, in fact, it is necessary to start antibiotic prophylaxis against beta-haemolytic streptococcus immediately .

If, on the other hand , the result of the swab was negative , there is no rush and it is possible to prepare the last few things or take a shower before reaching the birthplace.

Instead, it is necessary to go to the emergency room immediately, to rule out the presence of complications, if:

  • profuse bleeding (similar to menstruation) or intense and violent pains in the abdomen are observed ;
  • foul-smelling discharge dark or streaked with green or brown, appears ;
  • you experience excessive and sudden swelling , especially in the area of ​​the face or around the eyes ;
  • you feel a reduction in the baby’s movements (you should feel at least 10 fetal movements in 12 hours ).

How the child grows

It is about 48.5 centimeters long , the size of a chard , and weighs almost 3 kilograms .

Growth slows down

Your baby is still growing, but this week, he’s only gaining about 30 grams a day . Your gynecologist or midwife could make an estimate of your weight , although these will only be indicative values. In general, know that birth weight also depends a lot on gender: boys , in fact, generally weigh about 150-200 grams more than girls.

Almost full term

If your baby were born at 38 weeks it would be considered full term , even if full maturity is only reached at 39 weeks .

These days, the brain is continuing to develop and is able to control the circulatory, digestive and respiratory systems, while the lungs continue to produce the surfactant that will allow them to expand after birth. Meanwhile, the respiratory movements are more and more regular. If you were to deliver this week, however, your baby would likely need a few hours to achieve a normal breathing pattern .

Twins are coming!

If you’re expecting twins , it’s finally time to hug them! Usually , in fact, if labor does not start spontaneously, it is induced no later than the 38th week .

Do you know that…

Your amniotic fluid has been depleting for a few weeks now and is comparable to about 4-5 cups at this stage of pregnancy . Despite this, if you were to “break your water”, it will seem like a lot!

For the dad

Ask your midwife how you can help your partner cope better with labor. A simple back rub or a damp cloth on the forehead between contractions can be of great relief.

Checks and exams to do

Between the 38th and 40th week, your gynecologist will prescribe a complete urine test to check your health.

Click here to see the exams to be done between the 34th and 38th week of gestation .

Advice from the 38th week of pregnancy

  • If possible, try to spend time in the water . It will help ease the weight of your belly and fight swelling in your legs .
  • Symptoms such as nausea and diarrhea are quite common in the last days of pregnancy and could indicate that the time of delivery is near. To counteract them, try to eat light and frequent meals and drink often . If diarrhea lasts longer than 48 hours or is accompanied by fever , contact your gynecologist.
  • In case of dark circles , wet two cotton pads with rose water , apply them on the eyes and leave them on for about ten minutes .
  • Start thinking about how to plan for when you get back from the hospital . One suggestion is to schedule some help with the housework and to cook some ready meals to keep in the freezer.
  • Did you know that music can help you better bear the  pain of contractions ? If you haven’t already, create a  playlist to listen to during labor.

Kathryn Barlow is an OB/GYN doctor, which is the medical specialty that deals with the care of women's reproductive health, including pregnancy and childbirth.

Obstetricians provide care to women during pregnancy, labor, and delivery, while gynecologists focus on the health of the female reproductive system, including the ovaries, uterus, vagina, and breasts. OB/GYN doctors are trained to provide medical and surgical care for a wide range of conditions related to women's reproductive health.

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