38 Weeks Pregnant – What Happens When You’re 38 Weeks Pregnant
Your Pregnancy in Week 38
Welcome to your 38th week of pregnancy! Baby will be arriving any very soon. It’s important that you and your doctor have discussed the signs of true labour.
Some of the things you should be looking for, in addition to contractions, include a mucous and blood like discharge. This is usually called “bloody show”, and is a sign that labour is imminent. It should not be confused with heavy bleeding, which always warrants a call to the doctor.
Another symptom for some women is diarrhoea. While it doesn’t always mean labour, it should be noted if it happens when you’re this far along.
38 Weeks Pregnant – Your Body
In addition to knowing the signs of labour, it’s important that you know your doctor’s instructions for how to proceed once you’ve determined that you are, indeed, ready to deliver.
False labour is common, especially among first time mums. So, doctors will generally give you some guidelines to follow to help ensure you’re not running to hospital two or three times before it’s really the right time.
In many cases, doctors will tell you to begin timing contractions as soon as you notice that they are persistent. As you keep track of them, you will notice that they begin to get closer and closer together, though it may take several hours for the contractions to get markedly more frequent. Contractions that get closer and closer together are a good sign that this is the real thing.
Most doctors will advise you not to proceed to hospital until your contractions are five minutes apart. However, this advise can vary based on your distance from the hospital, your particular pregnancy situation, and your doctor’s general practises.
In any case, almost all doctors will advise you to go ahead and proceed to hospital if your water breaks or if there is any bleeding, beyond spotting. Once your water breaks, it’s important that baby be delivered within 24 hours, since the amniotic fluid prevents infection. Bleeding can mean that you’re in an emergency situation.
When you believe it is time to head to hospital, be sure to call ahead. In some cases, your doctor will have you call his office, or answering service, if it’s after hours. In other cases, doctors have you call hospital directly. Be sure you know what’s expected of you when it’s time to go to hospital.
If no one is with you to take you to hospital, do not attempt to drive. In an emergency situation, you should use an ambulance to get to hospital as quickly as possible. Be sure to discuss all the scenarios with your doctor.
38 Weeks Pregnant – Your Baby
Your baby’s weight is likely a little over 3 kg now, and she is about 47-49 cm long. She won’t get much longer between now and birth, but she will continue to gain weight.
Baby may have about an inch of hair now. In addition, she’s starting to get rid of the white goo on her skin (called vernix) that protects it from the amniotic fluid. However, she may still have some on her skin at birth.