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Week 38 of Pregnancy: Week by Week Pregnancy Calendar

Your baby is now the size of a jackfruit in length, measuring between nineteen (19) and twenty-one (21) inches from head to heel and weighing about seven (7) pounds. You are in your ninth month of pregnancy. Your pregnancy is considered full term.

Your Baby

Your baby is still two weeks away from your estimated due date but could be born any day now during week 38 of pregnancy or beyond. All of the internal organs and organ systems including the lungs are fully developed. Layers of fat continue to deposit under the skin, so your baby will gain a few ounces between now and birth. The brain and nervous system continue to fine-tune, a process that will continue after your baby is born. Your baby’s lanugo, downy fine body hair, is pretty much gone, and the vernix continues to disappear. Your body is busy passing antibodies to your baby to protect him or her against illness. The lungs continue to produce surfactant in preparation for breathing.

If you are wondering what color eyes your baby will have, you may not be able to tell at birth. The majority of babies are born with blue and grayish blue eyes. However, those baby blues often gain more pigment in the months after birth, changing to green, hazel, or brown. Melanin—the pigment that gives color to the eyes, skin, and hair—is present in smaller quantities at birth. As your baby develops more melanin, the color of the eyes may darken. If your baby is born with brown or dark eyes, the color is likely to stay the same because your baby already has a lot of melanin. Some babies are also born with different colored eyes, although the phenomenon is rare.

Your Body

Baby Bump at 38 Weeks

Baby Bump at 38 Weeks

During week 38 of pregnancy, your body is gearing up for the labor and birth of your baby. You can expect yourself to experience the same symptoms that you have been including Braxton Hicks contractions, enlarged breasts, leaking colostrum, stretch marks, itchy abdominal skin, PUPP, varicose veins, hemorrhoids, backaches, leg cramps, mild swelling of the feet and ankles, frequent urination, bloating, headaches, heartburn, indigestion, flatulence, constipation, loose joints, pelvic pressure and discomfort, cervical dilation or effacement, and a protruding belly button. You may also find yourself experiencing fatigue, difficulty sleeping, odd dreams, nervousness or anxiety, forgetfulness, clumsiness, and nesting behavior. Ninety-five percent (95%) of babies are born within two weeks of their estimated due date.

If your water breaks or your begin experiencing contractions similar to menstrual cramps, then you are most likely in labor. You may also notice bloody show, which is mucus tinged with a tiny amount of blood, in the toilet or in your underwear. Contact your health care provider as soon as you think that you are in labor. Also contact your health care provider if you experience heavy bleeding or spotting or any other unusual symptoms including any signs of pre-eclampsia. The two most common symptoms of pre-eclampsia are high blood pressure and protein in the urine. Other signs of the life-threatening condition include rapid weight gain, extreme swelling of the face, severe or persistent headaches, double vision or blurred vision, sensitivity to light, temporary loss of vision, intense pain or tenderness in the upper abdomen, and vomiting.

Jackfruit

Baby Is the Size of a Jackfruit
During Week 38 of Pregnancy

Learn about your baby during week 37 of pregnancy or week 39 of pregnancy.

Disclaimer: The information provided in this article is not meant to replace the professional medical advice of your health care provider.

References

38 weeks pregnant: http://www.babyzone.com/pregnancy-week-by-week/38-weeks-pregnant_70918
Curtis, Glade B. & Judith Schuler. 2011. Your pregnancy week by week. 7th edn. Philadelphia: Running Press.
Eye color: http://www.allaboutvision.com/conditions/eye-color.htm
Stone, Joanne & Keith Eddleman, eds. 2003. The pregnancy bible: Your complete guide to pregnancy and early parenthood. Willowdale, Ontario: Firefly Books.
Your pregnancy: 38 weeks: http://www.babycenter.com/6_your-pregnancy-38-weeks_1127.bc
Your pregnancy week by week: Weeks 35-40: http://www.webmd.com/baby/guide/your-pregnancy-week-by-week-weeks-35-40

Image Credits

Baby Bump at 38 Weeks: http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Sheila_38_weeks.jpg
Jackfruit: http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Jack_fruit,_the_national_fruit_of_Bangladesh.jpg

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