38 Weeks Pregnant

Pregnancy Body Changes

By the time you are 38 weeks pregnant, you may be going to the bathroom more than ever. Your bladder is extremely compressed as your baby is pressing on it

As your due date approaches, it is a good idea to familiarize yourself with what to expect in during labor and birth. Do not wait for your water to break, as only 10 percent of women have their water break on its own.

Labor can come in three forms; pre-term labor, false labor, and actual labor.

Pre-labor is the time before actual labor when the body prepares for childbirth.

Prelabor occurs when the baby's head drops down into the pelvis, Braxton Hicks contractions become more frequent, and there is an increase in vaginal discharge.

False labor feels like the real thing but labor contractions are irregular and painful. You may feel them in various parts of your body (such as the back, lower abdomen, and pelvis). You may be experiencing false labor if your contractions stay the same in intensity (that is, they don't get worse) and come in uneven intervals with pain in your lower back vs. your abdomen. The contractions may also stop if you change position.

Actual labor can be determined by contractions that occur at regular intervals and are coming closer together. The contractions start at the top of your uterus and then spread over the entire uterus, through your lower back, and into the pelvis, increasing in intensity. You may feel very strong menstrual-like cramps accompanied by back pain. Your contractions will become stronger and more painful and won't be alleviated by changing position.

Your Baby's Growth and Development

When you are 38 weeks pregnant, your baby can measure anywhere from 19 inches to 21 inches. Your baby weighs about 6 pounds, 6 ounces by now. Fat is still accumulating, although growth is slower now.

Since your baby has had the muscles to suck and swallow amniotic fluid, waste material has been accumulating in his or her intestines. Cells shed from the intestines, dead skin cells, and lanugo hair are some of the waste products that contribute to meconium, a greenish-black substance that constitutes your baby's first bowel movement.

Your baby is now full term, which means that if your baby were born today, he or she would be considered a full-grown baby. Your baby is still growing an ounce a day at 38 weeks pregnant.



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