At 38 weeks pregnant to 40 weeks pregnant your baby is considered full term. The baby's lungs are mature and are able to function on their own. During this month the baby gains about a half a pound a week. The baby usually drops into a head-down position. By the end of the month 9, the baby weighs 6 to 9 pounds and is 19 to 21 inches long.
Your belly button may be protruding. Your breathing should be easier once the baby drops but you'll have to urinate much more frequently because of the pressure on your bladder. The swelling of your ankles and feet will possibly increase.
Your cervix will dilate and thin out (efface) as it prepares for birth. You may be very uncomfortable because of the pressure and weight of the the baby. Now is the time to get extra rest.
After the 36th week of your pregnancy, you should visit your health care provider once a week for prenatal care check-ups. You may not gain any weight at all this month, or as little as one or two pounds. You should plan on whether you are going to breast-feed or bottle-feed your baby.
You'll also want to start making your plans for labor and delivery. If you begin having contractions, time them.
You are in labor if your contractions:
* Become worse as you move around
* Happen more than five times an hour
* Are regular or evenly spaced apart (every 10 minutes, for example)
* Last for 30 to 70 seconds
Call your health care provider if you think you're in labor.
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