38 Weeks Pregnant
At 38 weeks, you may be getting uncomfortable. Just remember there is an amazing prize at the end of this journey. Since labor can start at any time now, use this week to tie up any loose ends you need to before your baby comes. Make sure your hospital bag is packed and you have preregistered for the hospital.
What’s happening with your body?
With only two more weeks to go until your due date, you may have developed increased swelling in your feet and ankles. At this point, even if your baby has dropped, you may be feeling heavy and tired. You might have gained anywhere from 25 to 40 pounds and a large a percentage of it is concentrated in your abdomen, which can mean back pain.
On the bring side, your body is busy getting ready for labor. There are a few things to be on the lookout for, which indicate that labor is right around the corner. For example, a short time before labor, you might notice a blood-tinged vaginal discharge, which is referred to as the bloody show. The mucus is usually pink or brown, and it’s a sign your cervix is starting to dilate. It could still be a while, but at least you know things are starting to happen.
During week 38, the nesting instinct may also kick in if it hasn’t already. Nesting is the urge that may develop to get everything ready for your baby. You might get a sudden increase in energy, and before you know it, you’re organizing your baby’s closet or cooking for a month. Although not all women develop this last-minute frenzy before their baby comes, if you do, don’t go overboard. You want to save some energy for labor.
What’s happening with your baby?
Your baby is pretty much ready for life on the outside. Her organs are mature, and she is developing better motor skills. Her little home is getting a bit cramped, so she cannot move around very much, but she’ll still stretch and kick. Her kicks and jabs are pretty strong these days as her muscles get stronger. She is close to what she’ll weigh at birth, but will continue to develop fat.
Although it may vary, your baby may have a full head of hair at this point. Don’t get too attached to the color because your baby’s hair color and texture can change. Another thing that changes is eye color. Many babies are born with blue-grey eyes. But that color may not be here to stay. By about six months, you’ll know your baby’s permanent eye color.
Your little one’s vocal cords are fully developed, which means you’ll hear his first cries loud and clear. He continues to suck his thumb, swallow amniotic fluid and “practice breathing”, which are many of the things he’ll do in the first few minutes after he is born.
Thing to keep in mind:
Within a short time of your baby’s birth, it will be time to feed her. Before your little one arrives, you may want to decide if you are going to breastfeed or formula feed.
Doctors recommend babies are breastfed for the first year of their life. Breastmilk contains all the nutrition your baby needs for the first six months of his life, such as vitamins, minerals and antibodies that protect your baby from diseases.
Although it may seem like it would come naturally, breastfeeding is not always easy. Some babies have trouble learning to latch on, or you may not produce enough milk. You can also develop cracked and painful nipples, which can make breastfeeding uncomfortable.
Fortunately, many problems associated with breastfeeding can be corrected. The important thing is to get help. Your healthcare provider or a lactation specialist can provide tips for overcoming obstacles to breastfeeding. For instance, frequently pumping may increase your milk supply. If your baby is not quite getting the hang of latching on, try repositioning yourself or your baby to see if she latches on any easier. Keep trying different techniques until you find one that works.
If you cannot breastfeed for whatever reason or choose not do, formula feeding does not mean your baby will be less healthy. You have not failed as a parent if you use formula. Try not to feel pressure from anyone to breastfeed. It’s your choice and feeding your baby formula is nothing to feel guilty about.