Yow! If you feel a lightning bolt-like sensation running up and down your legs (and in your vagina!), don’t freak out. At 38 weeks pregnant, baby’s probably sitting pretty low in your pelvis, which means he or she is bumping into all kinds of nerves down there—including some super-sensitive ones you might not know you had. While you’re dealing with that new discomfort, be on the lookout for signs of labor at week 38 of pregnancy, including contractions that come on stronger, at more regular intervals, and of course, the “bloody show.” The big event could happen any day now—or it might not be for a few weeks. Until then, try to chill.
How Big Is Baby at 38 Weeks Pregnant?
At 38 weeks pregnant, baby is as big as a winter melon. Baby is about 19.6 inches long and his or her head is about the same circumference as the abdomen. Average baby weight at 38 weeks is 6.8 pounds. Sounds a lot like a birth weight, huh?
38 Weeks Pregnant Is How Many Months?
38 weeks pregnant is eight months and about two weeks. You’re about to head down the home stretch of pregnancy.
Common 38 weeks pregnant symptoms have everything to do with being really, really pregnant. You’re big; your baby’s almost ready to arrive, and your body’s getting ready for D-day (that’s delivery day). Here’s how your body is affected:
At 38 weeks pregnant, signs of labor may begin. Some early signs you’ll go into labor soon include:
At 38 weeks pregnant, inducing labor may be medically necessary if you have a complication such as preeclampsia or gestational diabetes, a uterine infection, or a placental problem. Otherwise, if you’re 38 weeks pregnant with twins, or if you’re experiencing bleeding at 38 weeks pregnant, your doctor might say “It’s time!” This can send any mom-to-be who thought she had two more weeks into a panic, but know that everything will be okay. We can never really be 100 percent ready (well, maybe you’re one of those women who makes it to week 42), and you and baby are in good hands while under the care of your OB and the pediatrician.
Remember, at 38 weeks pregnant inducing labor naturally isn’t recommended—baby usually needs a little more time on the inside—and some methods aren’t considered safe. So if you want to try to stimulate labor yourself, check with your doctor first, and wait at least another week for your baby to be “full term.”
Inside your 38 weeks pregnant belly, baby may have about an inch or so of hair already. Baby's slowly shedding that white goo on the skin (remember, that stuff called vernix caseosa?) but you might see some of it at birth.
You’re seeing the OB weekly now, so you’ll have an appointment this week. At these weekly appointments, your doctor will check that baby’s in a head-down position and to see if the head has moved down into the pelvic chamber. Also get ready for a pelvic exam, where your cervix will be checked for dilation (opening) and effacement (thinning)—both signs your body is readying for labor. Unfortunately, there’s no “normal” when it comes to predicting labor based on dilation or effacement; if you’ve started, it could be hours or weeks. But even if you’re not dilated at all, you could still go into labor tomorrow. Ah, the unpredictability of childbirth!
If your doctor wants a more in-depth check on baby, she may order a 38 weeks pregnant ultrasound as part of a biophysical profile. As part of the profile, baby‘s breathing, movement, muscle tone, heart rate, and amniotic fluid will be scored. In some cases, the result of the biophysical profile could make your doctor decide to deliver baby earlier than your due date.
Reminders for the week: