As the weeks of your pregnancy draw to a close, you are likely feeling a combination of excitement and anxiety. You have waited nine long months for this moment, and now it is here! When you reach 38 weeks pregnant, it means that in just two short weeks—or even sooner—you will finally meet your little one. This can be a fascinating time as you prepare to introduce your new addition to the world, but there can also be a lot of uncertainty about what to expect over these final few days. In this blog post, we'll look at some common physical changes and symptoms associated with being 38 weeks pregnant. Let's start learning about life when you're 38 weeks pregnant so that soon enough...it's time for the Baby!
The Development of Your Baby at 38 Weeks
As you approach 38 weeks of pregnancy, it's exciting to know that your baby's brain and lungs are almost fully developed and will soon be ready to function outside the womb. Interestingly, these two organs are the only ones that continue to develop throughout childhood and into adulthood. Additionally, your baby's vocal cords are fully formed, allowing them to communicate with you as soon as they're born. You may also notice that your little one's head seems more significant than their abdomen. But don't worry; this simply means that your baby's brain is developing and growing rapidly. As you prepare for the final weeks of pregnancy, it's comforting to know that your baby's organs are mostly set and ready for life outside of the womb.
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As you near the end of your pregnancy, it's likely that you've hit your total weight gain goal or are very close to it. However, your doctor or midwife will continue to monitor your progress through weekly appointments until delivery day. During these appointments, your belly size and amniotic fluid level may be visually checked through a fundal height test. If anything seems off, your care provider may order an ultrasound to evaluate your baby's movement, breathing, muscle tone, heart rate, and amniotic fluid levels. While undergoing a biophysical profile may feel nerve-wracking, it can give you and your doctor peace of mind that your little one is doing well on their journey toward birth. Here are some symptoms you may be experiencing:
During pregnancy, it's common to experience tummy troubles, and feeling queasy is no exception. However, if it seems like your digestive system is feeling more crowded than usual, it could be because your baby is taking up more space inside you. But it's important to note that tummy troubles can also signify early labor. While it's normal to have some discomfort during pregnancy, it's always a good idea to consult with your healthcare provider if you're experiencing any unusual symptoms. They can offer support and guidance to ensure you and your baby stay healthy and happy throughout your pregnancy.
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As you prepare for delivery, your cervix begins to dilate, and you might experience an increase in regular discharge or notice the mucus plug coming out. It's essential to monitor any changes in your vaginal discharge, as a watery discharge could indicate the leaking of amniotic fluid. If you're experiencing this, it's essential to call your healthcare provider right away. While vaginal discharge is normal during pregnancy, it's crucial to distinguish between normal discharge and amniotic fluid leakage to ensure the proper care for both you and your baby. Keep track of any changes, and never hesitate to contact your healthcare provider if you have any concerns.
During pregnancy, it's common to experience mild swelling in your hands, feet, and ankles as your body adjusts to the changes. However, if you notice sudden swelling in your face, it could signal preeclampsia, a serious pregnancy condition. Call your healthcare provider immediately if you experience any sudden and severe swelling. But if you're dealing with everyday, mild swelling, it's important to prioritize self-care. What may help is taking simple steps like drinking a lot of water, reducing long periods of standing, elevating your legs, reducing salt intake, and trying compression socks. Additionally, indulging in some relaxation like bathing, swimming, and maintaining a healthy and varied diet can help ease the symptoms of swelling.
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Stress and Anxiety
It's normal to feel anxious during late pregnancy and after giving birth. Your mind may feel in overdrive, causing stress and difficulty sleeping. Thankfully, there are ways to manage these feelings. Consider confiding in one or two understanding friends who can offer support and a listening ear. Developing a few daily habits, such as drinking a calming tea or listening to soothing music before bed, can also help you unwind. However, if your anxiety feels severe, it's essential to talk to your doctor. Remember that you're not alone, and seeking help is a sign of strength.
Pain in Back
As if the discomforts of pregnancy weren't enough, a sore back can add to your woes. When you're 38 weeks pregnant, it's pretty standard to feel the aches and pains of carrying around an extra bundle of joy. Your posture has changed considerably to accommodate your growing baby, and your back muscles are working harder than ever. But don't despair because a sore back could also be a sign that labor is imminent. So, take it easy and rest when you can, and keep an eye out for other signs that your little one is ready to make their grand entrance.
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As you progress in your pregnancy, you might experience Braxton Hicks contractions, which are common and expected. These contractions can feel like a tightening or cramping sensation that spreads across your pregnant belly. While they may feel uncomfortable, they are usually sporadic and not a cause for concern. However, these contractions will increase in frequency and intensity as you approach labor. Remember to stay hydrated, rest if you are tired, and try different relaxation techniques to manage the discomfort. Discuss any concerns with your healthcare provider to ensure a safe and healthy pregnancy.
What to Expect at 38 Weeks Pregnant
As you approach the 38-week mark, it helps to have a plan in place so you can make informed choices. Relying on your physician's guidance and advice is essential, as they will be able to steer you toward the best practices, tests, and procedures that are appropriately tailored to your circumstances. Preparing yourself with knowledge is key, especially when managing pain while labor progresses. While no one can predict precisely how labor will turn out, ensuring you have a well thought-out birth plan and discussing your preferences with your physician before ever going into labor may give you some sense of security as the date approaches. Pregnancy can be an exciting but unpredictable ride -- but preparation is always half the battle!
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