Your Baby is the size of a


Many women find it helpful to mentally rehearse for childbirth. Why not set aside some time to go over the breathing and relaxation techniques you’ve decided to adopt for labor and delivery? There’s also a good chance that your little one has now reached their birth weight!

Week 38

Length : 49.7 cm

Weight : 3 kg

Week 38
Length : 49.7 cm
Weight : 3 kg

Your Baby is the size of a


Many women find it helpful to mentally rehearse for childbirth. Why not set aside some time to go over the breathing and relaxation techniques you’ve decided to adopt for labor and delivery? There’s also a good chance that your little one has now reached their birth weight!

By week 38, your little one has probably reached their birth weight. Most babies weigh between six to eight pounds when they are born, with boys usually being longer and heavier than girls.

All of your baby's internal organs are ready to support them in the outside world, though their immune system will continue to develop after birth.

Your little one has developed a healthy amount of baby fat over the past week. Also, their fingernails and toenails have reached the end of their fingers and toes (and they might even need their nails trimmed after birth!).         

Congratulations! You've reached the final weeks of your pregnancy (if you haven't delivered already)! Have you noticed any electrical tingles in your legs or vagina? Sometimes, as your baby settles down into your pelvis, they might hit a nerve and cause these tingles. You may also experience a sharp, shooting pain, which may mean your little one rests on your sciatic nerve. Getting some rest and putting your feet up should help!

After experiencing Braxton Hicks contractions for a few weeks, you may be wondering how you'll know when it's time to call your midwife or doctor for real. 

If your contractions become regular and frequent, it's probably a good time to call. Remember the 5-1-1 rule: contractions that are five minutes apart last for one minute for an hour. 

Also, remember that true labor contractions get longer, stronger, and closer together over time. Other valid reasons to call your doctor or midwife include if you notice some brown, pink, or red discharge resembling your mucus plug or if your water breaks. As these signs announce the possible start of labor, they signal you to let your partner, doctor, or midwife know it’s time to go!         

Below is a list of pregnancy symptoms commonly experienced during week 38.

Constipation and/or hemorrhoids: pregnancy isn’t always glowing radiance. As your digestive system slows in response to increased progesterone causing your muscles to relax, you may experience bloating and gas. Pressure from your growing baby can cause hemorrhoids resulting in blood in stool, itching around the anus, or general discomfort. Talk to your doctor about options for relief.

Increased vaginal discharge: as your due date draws nearer, your body will continue to prepare the way for your baby’s delivery. Increased vaginal discharge is normal, and may even contain trace amounts of old blood, especially after sex or a pelvic exam. Talk to your doctor about any concerns so they can rule out any issues.

Stretch marks: there are many skin changes throughout pregnancy, and itchy stretch marks is just one of them! As your baby continues to grow and your body grows to accommodate, your skin may experience stretching, leaving marks and causing discomfort. You can utilize lotions and creams to soothe irritated skin; but stretch marks are largely genetic and not something you should feel guilty for not “preventing”. 

Sweating: increased perspiration can be a result of hormonal changes, or the additional weight and pressure on your body as you carry your growing baby. Stay hydrated to replace any fluids lost. 

Heartburn: as your baby continues to grow and press on internal organs, your digestive system is likely to feel the impact of cramped quarters. This, paired with continuing hormone fluctuations can result in heartburn or indigestion. Talk to your medical care provider about options for relief if you’re feeling too uncomfortable.

Braxton Hicks: also referred to as “practice contractions” Braxton Hicks are your body’s way of preparing for giving birth. They are generally painless, or uncomfortable at most– like subtle period cramps. If you are experiencing severe pain, or the cramping does not stop– seek medical attention.

Interrupted sleep: trouble sleeping? It’s no surprise as midnight bathroom breaks, heartburn, leg cramps, and the stress of your soon-to-come newborn can all make it difficult to get a full night’s rest.

Backaches and/or leg cramps:  aches and pains are an uncomfortable, albeit normal, part of pregnancy. Avoid staying in the same position for too long, stay hydrated, and talk to your doctor about safe pain relief options that may offer some comfort.

Swelling or bloating: some swelling is normal and expected during pregnancy, especially if you are on your feet all day, but it’s best to keep an eye on any sudden changes. Talk to your healthcare provider if you are experiencing swelling, as this could be a warning sign of a dangerous complication called preeclampsia. 

Crazy dreams: the stress of anticipating your baby’s arrival and the poor sleep of the third trimester can result in interrupted sleep. While the cause of the more vivid dreams in pregnancy is unknown it may have something to do with that interrupted sleep. Not sleeping as deeply may allow you to remember your dreams more easily. 

Nesting: home sweet home! It’s a natural instinct to want to prepare your living space in anticipation of your baby’s arrival. Enjoy the benefits of a clean and organized home as a result of this symptom!         

All your bags are packed, and you're ready to go...

Many parents find it helpful to mentally rehearse for childbirth. This week, set aside some time to go over the breathing and relaxation techniques you've decided to utilize during labor and delivery. These are the tools by which you'll manage the pain of labor.

If you've been practicing and visualizing and are simply ready for the real thing, try doing something to distract yourself in the meantime, like making a couple playlists of all your favorite songs. Let one playlist's purpose be for relaxation and use another for energy and encouragement. Make the playlists as long as you like, because you never know how long labor will last and the same songs on repeat may become more irritating than helpful. Fill a playlist with old school hits, songs that make you smile no matter what and songs that take you to another place in your mind. Creating these lists will help you take your mind off of your backaches, leg tingles, and intensifying contractions!

Snapping a Pic of Every Moment

Every sleepy smile and happy grunt is worth documenting. Just when you think the last expression your little one made was the cutest thing you've ever seen, they'll out-cute themselves all over again. You'll likely end up with a computer full of blurry, unfocused uploads and one adorable nose crinkle. Investing in professional photos is always a great option, so look into professional photographers now, while you still have a little extra free time, if newborn photos are on your wanted list. Good photographer's schedules fill up early, and newborns don't stay that wonderful newborn size for long.

You will also want to capture personal photos of those first days home, and posed studio photos won't have the same impact as the image of your father cradling his new grandchild for the first time, which someone will inevitably capture with their phone. Consider creating a place online for friends and family members to upload and share these images! Google Drive, Flickr, Facebook, Instagram, and more, offer numerous ways for you to accomplish this.

You can even ask family and friends to help you capture these moments ahead of time! Make sure you provide them with the site page, group, or profile link as soon as possible, as well as any username/password information they'll need (if they'll need it). Doing this now will protect those images - certain, perfect images of certain, perfect moments - from slipping through the cracks at the edge of this street as you grapple for some downtime between newborn feedings, diaper changes, social calls, trips to the supermarket, showers, naps, and so on.

We cannot confirm or deny the fact that any parent who waits until after the birth of her child to reap access to any print-worthy, share-worthy, adorable baby photo captured by friends and family members will fill her grappled downtime managing and sorting text messages and emails of requested and received photos, which they will share if they have enough time. This same parent may also experience annoyance and cogitate thoughts lacking proper emotional maturity when friends or family members get to social media first and post special gasp-causing, aw-inducing photos of their baby. Don't be this parent.

Important Moments to Capture

Some moments you'll absolutely want friends or family members to capture include:

  • the first time you hold your little one
  • the first time your partner holds your little one
  • the trip home (your ride in the wheelchair, your little newborn in the car seat, everyone getting into the car, etc.)
  • the first meeting between siblings and/or grandparents
  • the first bath
  • the first smile (any smile, really)

It's honestly okay to ask your friends and family members, ahead of time, to immediately delete certain photos, like any that show you with a triple chin or accidently capture you delivering a placenta in the background. If you prefer your friends and/or family members not witness something so intimate and special, or have control over images so raw and exposed, that's okay! Only do and ask for what you're comfortable with.

And don't forget to write in your pregnancy journal!

At a Glance

  • Shedding hair: Your baby has most likely shed most of their lanugo (the soft fine hair that covers them in the womb).
  • Watch the swelling: A little swelling is normal, but if you suddenly experience excessive swelling or a sudden weight gain, it’s a good idea to talk to your doctor about the risks of preeclampsia.
  • Sleep sitting-up: As your baby grows to their final birth weight, sleeping propped-up can provide some relief from heartburn or breathing struggles in these final weeks.
  • Celebrate: Take some time to go out with friends and loved ones one last time before the baby arrives!
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3rd Trimester

Louise Broadbridge

Expert Midwife

Hi, my name is Louise, I am a registered senior midwife, founder of Let's Talk Birth and Baby antenatal classes and the face behind instagram's The Honest Midwife. I have taught over 100,000 expectant parents since starting my antenatal classes which have 5* reviews.

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The information on the Your Baby Club website is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always discuss any health concerns with a qualified healthcare provider and carefully review all guidance that comes with any medications or supplements before taking.