As pregnancy week 38 arrives you might be asking yourself; 'why hasn't my baby arrived yet' or a myriad of other questions about the delivery of your baby. One major thing to remember is that although full term is considered to have been met one week ago, your baby still has some growing to do – and won't be considered late until after week 41.
The tension is building, your body is aching, and the anticipation of meeting your baby grows with each passing day. Welcome to pregnancy week 38 and what is considered by many experienced mommies to be the beginning of what might be the longest three weeks of your life! You have done a masterful job taking care of you and your baby up until this moment. And trust us when we say that your baby is happy as can be at this moment. They are fully prepared to be born – as they will most likely have turned into the birth position a few weeks ago. Your doctors have checked the baby's location and condition each week and are making sure you are also as prepared and comfortable as possible for the miracle of child birth.
Baby Jane or Joe is doing just fine waiting patiently to meet you once they are born. During week 38, your baby boy or girl weighs approximately 7 pounds and is almost 20 inches long from head to toe. He or she is developing fine and should be a beautiful and healthy newborn baby once they are delivered. Their digestive system is ready for their first bowel movement and to live comfortably outside of the womb. Typically, the baby's eyes are green or blue at birth – but will change color shortly after they are born.
By the time this week has come and gone, the baby will have gained half a pound, and will be located in your lower pelvic region – just waiting for a quick release of hormones to signal the beginning of your delivery. Although it might feel as if your baby is cramped in your lower tummy, don't worry – they are happy as a peach in that nice, warm and protective region.
Speaking of hormones, your body at week 38 is going to be raging with them. Each week you'll be making a quick trip to the doctor's office to be checked for dilation and to check on your vital statistics and those of your baby. These visits are great opportunities to ask any last minute questions that are on your mind. Plus, believe it or not; your OBGYN wants you to be completely at ease and comfortable the last few weeks of pregnancy.
This is why most OB's suggest that mothers 38 weeks or more into their pregnancy take off work and begin their maternity leave. You need to put your feet up, reduce the stress on your back muscles and abdomen muscles. You're going to need these muscles to be strong when those contractions start.
Pregnancy week 38 is the beginning of what many people consider the 'happy time' to deliver. Babies born during this time period typically are very healthy and happy – plus, they are a bit smaller and some moms swear to the fact that smaller babies are easier to birth than big ones (makes sense!). Although there is some truth to this; the reality is that your body is going to give birth to an object much bigger than the body is accustomed to dealing with in that region. During your week 38 visit, make sure you verify with the OB on the pain relief options you can have during your delivery – just so everybody is well prepared for this moment.