You’ve made it to 38 weeks, and you’re well into your ninth month of pregnancy! It’s the home stretch, so take a deep breath (if you can). You may feel your baby “dropping” this week, which can offer relief from some of your pregnancy symptoms.
When you’re 38 weeks pregnant your baby should be head down. If your little one is still in the breech position, your doctor or midwife may suggest making changes to your birth plan.
Due to complications that can arise when a breech baby is delivered vaginally, your health care provider may recommend a Cesarean birth (C-section), which is often the safest way to deliver babies who have not turned. Talk to your doctor or midwife about what is right for you and your baby. They may schedule a C-section as early as 39 weeks pregnant.
Here are a few questions to ask your doctor if your baby is still in the breech position at 38 weeks of pregnancy:
- What are the benefits and risks of turning my baby (External Cephalic Version [ECV])?
- Can a chiropractor flip a breech baby?
- What are my options for delivery if my baby remains in the breech position?
- What are the health risks to my baby and me if they are born breech?
Your baby at 38 weeks is the size of a mini watermelon. They’re still packing on the pounds, and most babies will start shedding those tiny hairs covering their bodies (called lanugo) over the next few weeks.
What to Pack in Your Hospital Bag
When you’re this close to your due date and the end of your pregnancy, it’s time to pack your hospital bag. A few hospital bag must-haves: a labor & delivery gown, a good nursing bra, maternity pajamas, and reusable breast pads. Don’t forget to pack an extra cell phone charger (or two) as well. You may also want to pack a few comfort items like an eye mask, pillow, and chapstick to make your stay as comfortable as possible. (Read this blog to learn more about what to pack in your hospital bag.)
Try not to get anxious about forgetting something. Most hospitals and birthing centers have everything you need, like diapers (for your baby – and you!), receiving blankets, mesh undies, toothpaste, soap, shampoo, socks, and more. You may even want to give the hospital a call to find out what they typically provide.
38 Weeks Pregnant Symptoms
Have you noticed a yellowish liquid leaking out of your breasts? Colostrum is the first milk your body produces. This nutrient-rich liquid gold comes in before transitional breast milk (four days to two weeks after birth) and mature breast milk (usually two weeks after birth until you have finished breastfeeding). If you choose to breastfeed, colostrum will be your baby's first meal – the perfect mix of all the proteins and antibodies your newborn needs.
Don’t worry if your nipples aren’t leaking, but if they are, you can collect your colostrum with a syringe or hand pump and store it in the fridge or freezer.
You may feel a big burst of energy and the urge to get everything finished before your baby comes. Whether you’re folding laundry, organizing the nursery, or making freezer meals, try not to overexert yourself.
If you’re feeling the burn (heartburn, that is) it might be because your baby is crowding your digestive system. Things are pretty cramped in there at this point, and your baby is putting a lot of pressure on your organs, which can cause heartburn or acid reflux. Try to avoid spicy foods and other things that might trigger heartburn, like carbonated drinks and fried or greasy foods.
It’s probably hard to get a good night’s rest these days. As your due date approaches, anxiety, as well as aches and pains from your changing body, can make falling (and staying) asleep more difficult. If you’re having trouble falling asleep, use relaxation techniques such as meditation or reading to wind down before bed. Try to stay away from screens for at least an hour before bed.
Braxton Hicks Contractions
You may be feeling more Braxton Hicks contractions as you get closer to your baby's arrival. These practice contractions can be annoying and uncomfortable, but they have a purpose! Your body is using these relatively painless contractions to tone the muscles of your uterus in preparation for delivery.
If your contractions last about 30-70 seconds, come about 5-10 minutes apart, and start to get closer together, contact your doctor or midwife. This may be a sign that labor is starting!
Baby on Board
At 38 weeks, your baby is between 19 and 20 inches long and weighs around 7 pounds. Even though they’re close to making their debut, your little one is still developing.
Under Construction: Eye Color
Right now, your baby’s eyes are blue, gray, or brown, but once they’re exposed to light, they may change color. If you’re curious about what color your baby’s eyes will be, you should be able to determine their permanent eye color by the time they turn one. A general rule of thumb is if your baby is born with dark eyes, they won’t get lighter.
Under Construction: The Lungs
Your baby’s lungs are stronger now (but still maturing) and producing more surfactant, the substance that will keep their air sacs from sticking together when they breathe.
What to Wear This Week
Yep, your belly is still growing even at 38 weeks. We think you’ll love our incredible Grow with Me Maternity & Postpartum Brief. These ultra-lightweight and comfortable maternity undies are soft and stretchy, and they’ll grow with you to adapt to your changing body. The high-rise design also provides coverage for your baby bump or postpartum tummy. Throw a pair (or two) in your go bag.
If you're looking for the perfect nursing bra for after delivery, look no further: our Simply Sublime® Nursing Bra is the best choice for an everyday nursing & maternity bra. Our award-winning design features full-coverage cups with a hook-and-eye closure and the wireless support you need in those first few months of breastfeeding. We recommend grabbing three (one to wash, one to wear, and one to spare).
This information is for educational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice that has been medically reviewed. Please reach out to your midwife or doctor with any questions.