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38 weeks pregnant: What to expect

Your baby at 38 weeks pregnant

Your baby is the length of a stalk of rhubarb (length: 19.5-20 “; weight: 3.1kg).

Any day now. Your baby is now considered to full-term, even though your official due date is still two weeks away. Eighty-five percent of babies are born within two weeks of their due date, so you'll probably give birth sometime in the next four weeks.

Surface changes. Your baby is shedding lanugo, the fine hair that's covered the body for months. He or she may have some of it left on the shoulders, forehead and neck at birth. Baby is also losing vernix, the creamy waxy substance that's protected the skin from amniotic fluid.

Waste management. So what happens to the cast-off vernix and lanugo? Some of it ends up in your baby's intestines where it becomes part of the meconium. Meconium is the greenish-black, tarry substance that will make up your baby's first bowel movement after birth. It also consists of dead cells, amniotic fluid and waste products from your baby's liver, pancreas and gallbladder.

Applying the brakes. Your little one's growth rate may be slowing down, but he or she is still making strides. Baby is probably closing in on 19.5 to 20 inches in length and nearing 7 pounds.

Your pregnancy at 38 weeks

Water works. As your baby grows, she puts more and more pressure on your bladder. Despite it being squashed flat, you should keep drinking water to stay hydrated.

Get into position. It's time to go over your notes from childbirth class and think about which labour positions you'd prefer. Whether standing, on all fours or sitting in a rocking chair, it's helpful to practice the different positions at home before the big day arrives.

The safe ride home. You need to install a rear-facing car seat so you can safely (and legally) transport your baby home from the hospital. Remember that only 5 percent of babies are born on their due date, so it's best to get this done well before that time.


Did you know? Your baby may be moving down (“dropping” or “engaging”) into your pelvis now to get ready for birth. The good news is that you’ll be able to breathe more easily; the “bad” news is that the baby will be lower in your pelvis and pressing against your bladder, so you’ll have more frequent bathroom trips!

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