By the 38th week, the baby has grown and will be ready to be born anytime in the next 14 days or earlier. Unlike the previous weeks when the belly continued to grow progressively, you will experience a slowdown in the belly growth. If the baby has already dropped to the pelvis, have the hospital bag well packed and be ready to go to the hospital. The journey has been long and now you will be closing the journey and starting a whole new chapter at delivery.
Baby’s growth and development in week thirty eight
The baby has steadily grown since conception and is now about 6.5-7 lbs. After the 37th week, amniotic fluid started declining and will continue decimating until the baby is born. However, it will only decrease at a rate that the baby does not put the baby to harm.
Even though the space available in the uterus is very limited, the baby will still be trying to stay active by sucking the thumb, smiling, moving hands and legs. The heart will also keep beating to supply other parts of the body with blood and other nutrients.
The baby’s bones have continued to harden and are drawing additional calcium from nutrients. This will continue even after delivery to keep strengthening the skull, legs, ribs, backbone, and other parts. Most of the parts are fully developed and ready for delivery and growth outside the uterus.
Changes to expect in Mom’s body during week 38
When you hit the 38th week, the waiting game is on. This is the time to keep watching because signs of labor can come knocking any moment and you head to the labor ward immediately. The false labor pains will become a reality from this week more than any other moment in the previous weeks. If they keep coming and going when you change resting and sleeping position, the contractions are false. The contractions assist the body preparing for true labor, thin, soften, and open the cervix.
If you have had a baby before, the cervix will dilate with about 1-2 centimeters before labor can begin. A bloody show will also be evident towards the labor to help you tell when true labor commences.
When you visit the hospital for the 38th-week clinic, an examination will be done to establish the rate of changes in the cervix. In particular, the doctor will check for of the cervix (effacement), the opening of the cervix (dilation) and location of the baby (station).
Swollen ankle and feet have become a common occurrence in the last few weeks. The huge uterus is exerting a lot of pressure on the veins of the legs causing poor blood circulation. Though average swelling is okay, it is important to check a doctor if the symptoms become severe. You should particularly notify the doctor of blood pressure causes blurred vision, severe nausea, and sharp upper abdominal pain.
Since the first trimester, the breasts have been increasing in size, becoming tender and additional bumps showing near the nipple. In the last weeks, milk may start leaking in preparation for breastfeeding. If you find this disturbing, consider using breast pads so that the milk does not spoil other clothes.
Packing the hospital delivery bag
Because the delivery day is around the corner, you should prepare the delivery bag if you have not done so by now. Many first-time moms might be unsure of what to include in the bag. The items should include everything that you will require the few days you will be in labor. The following are the main items that the bag should include;
- Robe or cover clothing you can wear when getting into the labor room.
- Warm socks and slippers you can use with ease in the maternity hospital.
- Massage oil or lotion to use when away from home.
- Your favorite lips balm because everything could get tense and lips become very dry.
- Ample snacks and drinks in case you will deliver late and need to eat something.
- A watch that is easy to use for timing during the time you will be in the hospital and especially labor.
- You might need a video recorder and a camera to capture the moment.
- You may want to pack a favorite magazine or book to read when you are away in case you need to take a day or two.
- Personal toiletries including toothbrush, hair brushes, toothpaste, soap, and washing towel among others.
- Nursing pads and breast pads.
- Clothes to change when leaving for home.
- Initial baby’s clothes that she/he will wear within the first few days.
- Enough cash and loaded credit card that you can use to buy additional things that you had not planned for.
- Do not fail to carry your smartphone, wall charger, and an external power pack incases you forget to power the phone. This might be the only gadget you can use to notify the partner about delivery.
Things to do during the 38th week
- Review the content of the hospital bag to ensure that everything is included. If you are unsure of the items to include, consider talking to your doctor.
- Keep checking for signs of true labor anytime from now and if you are unsure of the contractions, call your doctor immediately.
- As you wait for labor to come, this is a great moment to treat yourself well whether at home or at a nearby spa. Make sure not to go very far because you do not want labor to arrive when you are very far away from the hospital.
- Take the right foods that supply you with the right nutrients for all the energy needed during the labor period.
- Have a list of numbers of people that you should talk to first after delivery. For example, though you definitely have the number of your partner, you might also need to inform your mom, sister, and workplace colleagues.
- You might want to take a last top class portrait when pregnant before delivering. A good way to do this is having a professional make the photo.
- Talk and enjoy special moments with your kid because this might be the last moments you will be talking to him/her before delivery.
- Keep buying new baby items and adding them to the bundle of joy’s room because he/she will keep outgrowing every piece of clothing faster than you think.