At 38 weeks pregnant the anticipation and waiting for baby at this stage can be overwhelming. The key at 38 weeks is trying not to focus too much on when baby is coming!
A normal pregnancy can go up to 42 weeks and in some cases beyond.
Now is the time to enjoy your baby bump, catch up with friends and enjoy a relaxing pregnancy massage.
Are you wondering what to expect at 38 weeks pregnant?
Read on. We hope we can provide the answer, and other things you need to know.
38 weeks pregnant how many months?
People talk about pregnancy in different terms weeks or months. It can be confusing but at 38 weeks pregnant you are into your ninth month of pregnancy! So exciting.
38 weeks pregnant exercise
At 38 weeks pregnant it’s a fantastic idea to do physical activity if you can.
Low impact walking and swimming in late pregnancy will help keep you active, release endorphins and help to get the baby into a good position for birth.
Be sure to drink lots of water when exercising to keep well hydrated.
Some women like to sit on a gym ball and bounce in preparation for labor. This can also help get the baby’s head down and open up the pelvis.
Bouncing on the gym ball can help with early contraction pain as well.
38 weeks pregnancy symptoms
This pregnancy week isn’t very different from previous weeks. You might only notice a little weight gain.
You probably still feel heavy and uncomfortable.
Baby is putting plenty of pressure on your bladder and you need to pee frequently, especially during the night.
Your organs and lungs are probably quite squashed, which makes you feel breathless and could give you heartburn.
Try to rest with your feet up as often as you can. Small frequent meals can help ease the heartburn.
38 weeks pregnant symptoms not to ignore
In this pregnancy week, you’re probably hoping to go into labor.
If you have any of these symptoms, however, it’s important to seek immediate medical assistance:
- Headache with visual disturbances
- Constant pain in abdomen or anywhere else
- Really sudden swelling in your legs, ankles, hands, feet and face
- Mid sternum chest pain
- You feel like your baby is not moving or has reduced movement
- You have vaginal bleeding
- Your water breaking
- Your water breaks. Yellow-green indicates meconium might be in the amniotic fluid.
Contact your healthcare provider or doctor right away if you have any of the above symptoms at 38 weeks pregnant.
38 weeks pregnant pelvic pain and pressure
During pregnancy, your body produces a hormone called relaxin. As the name suggests, this hormone allows your ligaments and muscles to stretch during pregnancy.
Thanks to relaxin and the weight of your baby, you might experience ligament, pelvic and hip pain. You might also feel pressure when your baby engages; this causes the infamous pregnancy waddle.
As the baby moves down and the head engages, the pressure at the front of your symphysis pubis can cause it to separate a little bit. This causes symphis pubic dysfunction and these twinges can be really uncomfortable and debilitating for some women.
Here are some ways to manage the discomfort:
- Wear a quality support garment to keep everything held together. It might also help with the pressure in your hips
- See a chiropractor, for alignment
- Acupuncture, for pain relief and nerve release
- Physiotherapy or yoga, for pain relief
- Massage is always beneficial for relaxation, and to prevent anxiety
- Rest with a pillow in between your legs or knees to support your hips and belly
- Simple pain relief, such as heat or ice packs.
Please see your doctor or care provider if hip and pelvic pain is a concern for you.
For more information be sure to read Pelvic Girdle Pain (PGP) During Pregnancy.
38 weeks pregnant blood on toilet paper
In pregnancy, the cervix is very vascular, meaning it has a large blood supply it. During pregnancy, it’s also more sensitive, so minor changes or touch can cause it to bleed.
Here are a few reasons why you might find blood on the toilet paper when you wipe:
- You are losing your mucus plug and the cervix is thinning or dilating. This is okay at 38 weeks of pregnancy as you are classified as full term after 37 weeks
- You’ve had sex recently and this has caused some spotting
- Hemorrhoids, which are common in pregnancy and can bleed
- Vaginal bleeding, usually with cramping or pain that indicates there is a problem with your placenta or baby.
Whenever you have vaginal bleeding in pregnancy, it needs to be investigated. Contact your health care provider for advice.
38 weeks pregnant white milky discharge
This milky vaginal discharge is called leukorrhea, and it’s quite normal.
At 38 weeks, you might find this fluid increases and you notice it on your underwear or panty liner.
There should be no odor, and there shouldn’t be copious amounts of fluid that soaks through a sanitary pad. If this is the case, it could be a sign of infection or that you’re leaking amniotic fluid from your water breaking.
If you are unsure at any time, discuss it with your midwife or doctor.
Read Discharge During Pregnancy – What’s Normal and What’s Not for more information.
38 weeks pregnant and no signs of labor
Most women won’t see any signs of labor at 38 weeks.
Rest assured. Baby can’t stay in there forever and you’ll meet your little one soon enough.
Hang in there, mama! Your due date is still 2 weeks away.
Even though you can’t see obvious signs of labor, you’d be surprised at the complex interaction of hormones and chemicals taking place – both in your body and in your baby’s.
Your baby will signal to your body when it’s time to be born. So, although you feel super ready to give birth, your baby might still need a few more weeks before those little lungs are ready for life outside your uterus.
Check out What Causes Labor To Start to read more about this fascinating event.
38 weeks pregnant period pain and backache
This pregnancy week you might feel cramping, like period pain, low in your pelvic or groin area. You might also have an ache in your back.
This uncomfortable back pain is usually intermittent, coming and going like contractions over the course of a day or night.
It’s usually a sign thing are starting to change and labor isn’t far away.
Many women can have this for weeks leading up to the actual start of labor. It’s called prelabor and it can be tricky to cope with.
If you have persistent pain that doesn’t get better at all, speak to your doctor or midwife as soon as possible. Pain that doesn’t ease or gets worse should always be investigated.
38 weeks pregnant signs of labor
Here are some other signs that labor might be not far off:
- Period-like cramping, low in pelvis, or backaches
- Mucus plug (a thick glob like substance)
- Your nesting instinct is in overdrive, and you just have a feeling baby is coming soon
- Your bowel movements could change (diarrhea)
- Baby’s head is well engaged (first time mothers). This is also called ‘lightning crotch’ as the baby can be pushing on nerves low in the pelvis
- Some women might have nausea at week 38
- Lots of Braxton Hicks contractions – ‘practice’ contractions or tightening of the belly
- Your water breaks.
There’s more information about signs of labor here.
38 weeks pregnant baby position
Ideally, your baby has assumed a head down position late in the third trimester. This is the easiest way for your baby to be born and also makes a difference to how your labor unfolds.
Most babies find themselves in an anterior position, with their back towards your belly and their chin tucked into their chest.
Some babies are posterior (baby’s back to your back) and this can make labor a little slow to start or progress at first.
You might like to check out Optimal Fetal Positioning – How To Make Birth Easier to find out more about fetal positioning and birth.
The position of your baby can have an impact on your labor and how your contractions feel.
8 Signs Your Baby’s Position Is Affecting Labour provides strategies about how to cope and what to do if fetal positioning is affecting your labor.
38 weeks pregnant baby weight in kg
A baby that arrives at week 38 is full term. Your baby at 38 weeks is about 35 cm (19 inches) from top to bottom and, on average, weighs about 3.2 kg (6.6 pounds).
Most of the lanugo – the fine covering of hair on your baby’s body – has fallen out.
At this stage, your baby is covered in the lovely protective vernix, and if you are giving birth at 38 weeks there will be plenty.
Your baby is fully developed physically, but the brain continues to grow, now and after your baby is born.