Just a few more days left for the big day to arrive! By now your baby is officially full term. But, remember your little one can arrive anytime now, so always look out for the contractions. It feels special, doesn’t it! When you and your partner took the big step, did you ever imagine that both of your lives will change in a matter of nine months?
38th Week of Pregnancy: Changes, Symptoms, Food & Care
This is indeed an experience of a lifetime for many women, and you should not miss out on any moment of this special journey. Read on to have a thorough idea of what you are going to expect this week.
What to expect on the 38th Week of Pregnancy?
- Urination frequency tends to increase.
- Development of vocal cords of infant starts.
- Discharge of the mucous plug.
- Increase in Braxton-Hicks contractions.
Expected Changes in your Body
The countdown has begun! Just two more weeks to go unless your little champ decides to arrive late. With your baby dropping into your pelvis, you’ll be able to breathe easily, but your trips to the washroom will increase as your little one’s head will put immense pressure on the bladder.
You should stock up on your nursing pads to protect your clothes as your breasts are bigger and fuller and leaking colostrum (pre-milk). Colostrum is rich in protein which will provide all the antibodies that are required to protect your baby. Even if you don’t consider breastfeeding, you will have to deal with colostrum.
- Your baby is about the size of a rhubarb by now- about 20 inches in length and weighing 7 pounds.
- Lanugo, the fine hair that has protected your baby’s body for months, is starting to shed this week.
- Vernix, the creamy waxy substance that was protecting your champ’s skin from the amniotic fluid is gradually starting to dissolve.
- Your little one has either blue, grey, or brown eyes now. The color or the shade will change once being exposed to the sunlight. In a year, you’ll be able to know their original color.
- The lungs are stronger and the vocal cords are developed. Get ready to control those cries!
- Most of the vernix and lanugo gets deposited in the baby’s intestines to form meconium. Meconium is the greenish-black, tarry substance that is the first bowel movement of your baby after he/she has been born. It also comprises dead cells, amniotic fluid, and liver, pancreas, and gallbladder waste products of your baby.
- He/she is continuing to accumulate fat and optimize his/her brain and nervous system.
- Your baby’s growth rate is gradually reducing.
Increase in the frequency in urination
You might feel diabetic but it isn’t the reason behind your frequent visits to the washroom. It’s your baby’s head which is in your pelvis putting pressure on your bladder. Constrain yourself from having caffeine or any other carbonated drinks, but make sure you continue having juices and water.
Even though you have to visit the washroom too often, drinking a lot of water will help in deducting the accumulated waste and liquids from the body. Keeping yourself hydrated is very important now.
Heavy vaginal discharge is inevitable now and the mucous plug may even pass. The mucous plug is like a cork barrier that seals the opening to the uterus during pregnancy.
It protects the baby from any impact from the outside world until your body is ready to give birth. The discharge of the mucous plug means that your cervix is dilating and softening and opening up to give birth.
Vaginal discharge with blood
Don’t worry if you see a tinge of blood in your discharge. The blood signifies that the blood vessels in the cervix have broken down because of dilation and effacement. This just signifies that the infant is arriving!
Mother nature is preparing your body for childbirth and if you are having diarrhea (loose bowel movements) this week, then it is sure that labor is around the corner! Keep drinking ample amount of water and skip oily and fatty foods now.
Are your stretch marks drying up the skin on your belly and making it itchy? Apply some Vitamin E oil on the belly or put on some lotion to keep your skin moisturized and cope with the itchiness.
Swelling in feet and ankles
Swollen feet and ankles are going to trouble you this week too. When you are buying knee or thigh-length tops or dresses, make sure they aren’t too tight. Keep your legs in an elevated platform and make sure you aren’t standing or sitting in the same position for a long time.
Trouble in sleeping
As the week is progressing and the due date is arriving, your mind is getting clouded with stress and the thoughts of labor.
Do not read about labor or delivery on your phone or computer. Don’t do unnecessary screen-time. Before going to bed, read a book or your favorite magazine, or you can listen to some calm music. This will make sure that you get some sleep. Optimism is the key!
Your breasts are bigger and fuller by now and have been leaking colostrum for a couple of weeks now. Even if you find no traces of colostrum, there is nothing to worry about. You’ll still be able to breastfeed.
Your energy levels are on a roll this week. Either you’ll feel extremely exhausted or you’ll feel a sudden gush of energy. This sudden increase in energy levels is known as nesting instinct. You’ll be cleaning up your house and redecorating it to welcome your baby.
Enjoy the moment but do not overindulge yourself into cleaning as that will make you exhausted. Save your energy for the big day!
The so-called practice contractions will be getting more intense now. Try and do breathing exercises and drink water as much as you can. Make sure to not confuse contractions with Braxton-Hicks contractions.
Tips for a healthy pregnancy this week
Switch to postpartum meals
Cooking or spending time in the kitchen is the last thing you would want to do this week. You will be spending more time in the washroom than your bedroom or kitchen. To make sure that you don’t have to have cereals for dinner, make sure you stock up your fridge with easy to go food which will just require heating and nothing else.
You can include soups, stews, and small meatloaves in your freezer. Have fruits and veggies always at home. If you haven’t had a cheat day for a long time, now is the time!
Make sure your hospital bag is ready
Make sure you haven’t missed anything while packing your bag. Pack comfortable breathable clothes and make sure you have everything else that you’d prefer in the labor room- music, snacks, etc. If you are expecting twins, get the checklist prepared!
Take a stroll
Walking is the easiest exercise during pregnancy. Walking can benefit you during pregnancy in a way by making your baby’s head easily enter the pelvis, which will make labor bearable. Taking walks can also lead to contractions, so make sure you are ready always and have everything near your reach.
Learn about distractions
There are various courses offered by hospitals and birth centers to teach pregnant women how to deal with labor and contractions. Relaxing, meditating, and visualizing strategies like imaging a cervix to that of a blooming flower are also helpful in contractions. Maybe, you can start deciding on cool names for your little one.
Some women are relaxed and listen to music — from opera to hard rock; whatever keeps your mind off the pain — and some watch TV or movies or play handheld video games. It is always important to hold the suffering in perspective to make labor easier. Happiness and positiveness can allow you to remain relaxed. Tell yourself that the discomfort of each contraction is bringing you closer to your infant. It will hardly last!
Wear breathable clothes
Your pregnancy hormones are back! These hormones can result in your body heating up and are responsible for extreme sweating. Wear loose, light clothing to remain calm, drink lots of water and crank up the AC, or keep your windows open. A sprinkling of talc-free powder may also lead to moisture retention, and it can also help to avoid a heat rash beneath all the sweat.
Squatting effectively promotes labor as it improves the gap in the pelvic and allows the kid more room to fall. Don’t worry — this doesn’t mean that when these contractions tend to happen you head to an open field to do squats. But only get to engage in your exercise regimen now, and when the time arrives you can be a better squatter – in a hospital or a nursing home.
Have foods that accelerate labor
Whenever you’re past your due date, you are generally prepared to buy something or consume something so that you can receive a million-dollar price (your baby) sooner. However, there hardly is the existence of miracle meals that can soothe labor.
Foods such as aubergine, balsamic vinegar, and something hot are part of the “can’t harm, might be useful.” There is no proof that all of these characteristics are labor-inducing, however many moms swear by them.
The good news can arrive any time now and make sure your hospital bag, birth plan, and everything else are ready to head to the hospital as soon as the water breaks or you enter into labor. Hold on to the excitement and don’t utilize all your energy in nesting.
Get as much sleep as you can without stressing much about the due date. Everything will be fine. Enjoy the last few days of your pregnancy to the fullest keeping in mind both yours and the baby’s health!
Here are Some Important Frequently Asked Questions Where you can take ideas in 38th Week of Pregnancy
What will happen if my mucous plug gets discharged early?
There is no reason to panic if your mucous plug gets discharged weeks before the due date. It may be a couple of weeks until labor starts. And even after you are unplugged, your baby is always healthy.
What should I do to treat my diarrhea?
Stay away from foods that only exacerbate the problem: dried fruit, spicy and fatty products, and milk, especially if you are intolerant to lactose. For years it’s recommended for the so-called BRAT diet (banana, rice, applesauce, and toast) because it’s gentle in your digestive system.
My belly is itching a lot. What should I do?
Here a few tips you can follow to make sure the itchiness stops:
—Don’t scratch: Tempting as it can be, scratching away just creates further pain in your belly.
–Moisturise: The scratching may be momentarily prevented with a sweet, moderate, fragrant free moisturizer; apply it regularly and liberally.
–Apply some anti-itch cream: Your mother’s pink calamine lotion is particularly strong for chickenpox and can be of great help now.
–Vitamin E oil: This helps a lot and is also works great on the sore nipple after pregnancy.
–Using a humidifier in the bedroom: It will help keep the skin from drying out – but it can also disperse germs and cause reactions when misused. Follow the directions to ensure the longevity of the product.
Consider taking the consolation that while this is one of the particularly irritating signs of pregnancy it is completely temporary, so once you have your kid you can avoid itching.
Should I be worried if my ankles and feet are swollen all the time?
Though it is not swelling (especially when you attempt to cram into your shoes at the end of the day, when puffiness is at its maximum), it is harmless and fully natural to swell the ankles and legs induced by edema. Also, it’s not necessarily evidenced that one out of four fortunate pregnant women will not have a major swelling. However, please contact the doctor if the hands or face stay puffy or if the swelling lasts for more than a week at a time (i.e. does not change overnight).
Excessive swelling can be a precursor of preeclampsia — but in addition to a variety of other signs (e.g. elevated blood pressure, rapid weight rise, and urinary protein) it is present. There’s little to think about whether the blood pressure and urine are regular (they are tested at a prenatal appointment.)
How to get over my insomnia?
You may get shut-off sooner than you thought, but between some anxieties you might have about your baby’s conception, the disruption of your sleep, and your flipping and turning all night long, it’s no wonder you sound like you aren’t even sleeping. A few suggestions should you have trouble sleeping:
Do some work: If you do not sleep for 20 or 30 minutes after trying to nod, take on a small task (think to recharge your mobile for 15 minutes, don’t scrub your toilet), and then try again. By that point, you might be exhausted enough to get the rest.
Do not stress on the hours of sleep: Although most people sleep for nearly eight hours, some people do better, and some require more. So, ask yourself how you feel about the hours you are sleeping through your pregnancy rather than only looking for a particular number. You might be having enough rest because you are not overly exhausted.
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Mother of Two children. I’m a former teacher with a background in child development and a passion for Good parenting. I understand child development and know how to develop activities to help children learn and grow. Spare time, I enjoy spending time with my family, reading, and volunteering in my community.