Imagine this – You are enjoying a leisurely day when a most unexpected shiver runs up and down your legs. Is that a cause for concern? Well, not really.
Most mothers will swear that they have felt the same sensation more than once during the 38th week of their pregnancy. At 38 weeks, with the pregnancy progressing to its last stage, your baby is probably now sitting pretty low in your pelvis area. The placement makes it but impossible to not bump into some sensitive nerves. Other than dealing with these new symptoms, at 38 weeks most mothers start to show symptoms of labor.
To make those last few moments easier for you read on as we tell everything you need to know about the 38th week of pregnancy.
The Size of Your Baby at 38 Weeks
At 38 weeks of pregnancy, your baby is about 19.6 inches long. The circumference of your baby’s head should be the same as your abdomen. A baby’s average weight at the 38th week of pregnancy is usually 3kg.
Exactly How Many Months are 38 Weeks?
38 weeks of pregnancy, when converted into months, usually converts to eight months and about two weeks.
Pregnancy Symptoms at 38 Weeks of Pregnancy
At 38 weeks of pregnancy, your body is getting prepared for the big day. This process usually affects your body in various ways. Some of the symptoms that a mother shows at 38 weeks of pregnancy are:
#1 Braxton Hicks Contractions:
Contractions have always been a part and parcel of pregnancy. At 38 weeks, they just can’t be avoided. In this crucial period, you might notice yourself having pregnancy cramps or tightening of your belly. In case your contractions are not painful enough and stop hurting after switching position, they are still practising contractions. These practice contractions are known as Braxton Hicks.
#2 Sleeping Trouble:
Most mothers suffer from a sense of anxiousness during this period. Bringing a new life into the world along with the change in lifestyle and added responsibilities, make many lose their sleep. To top it off, the aches and pains don’t really help. You might find yourself perpetually tired during this period.
#3 Increase in Vaginal Discharge:
As your pregnancy advances, you might notice yourself releasing thick globs of mucus like substance. This substance is known as the mucus plug, and one should not be too alarmed about it. It is usually released when your cervix starts dilating in preparation for labor.
#4 Sensitive Belly:
The fact that your belly is huge at the 38th week of pregnancy, is nothing but the mere truth. The stretching makes your belly more sensitive than usual. At this point of pregnancy, it is best to invest in heavy-duty moisturizers. Getting plenty of fluids also helps. Rashes are not common during this period, and therefore should be reported to your doctor at the earliest.
#5 Swelling of your Feet and Ankles:
Most mothers will swear that swollen ankles are both a boon and bane during pregnancy. While the sensation itself is discomforting, it does let you sit back and relax during this crucial period. To keep yourself active, you could go for regular walking. This will help in proper blood circulation and reduce the swelling.
#6 Anxiety and Stress:
Pregnancy is certainly not a cakewalk. For most mothers, it’s a long arduous journey that takes a lot of time and patience to get used to. In the final moments, when your labor could come any day, being impatient to deliver is only normal. Especially so if you had a complicated pregnancy or are pregnant with twins. To keep your mind diverted, it is best to do things that make you happy. These are the final moments before your newborn arrives, so enjoy it to the fullest.
Signs of Labor at 38 Weeks of Pregnancy
Now that you are at the final stages of your pregnancy, your body will start showing certain signs of labor. Some of these signs include:
#1 Vaginal Discharge:
As mentioned above, your body at this point will start discharging mucus plug. This mucus plug could have a tinge of blood in it. However, it is nothing you should be concerned about. The discharge of mucus is usually a sign that your cervix is getting ready to deliver your baby.Suffering from diarrhoea: As tiring as it sounds, diarrhoea is an unavoidable part of pregnancy. The
#2 Suffering from Diarrhoea:
As tiring as it sounds, diarrhoea is an unavoidable part of pregnancy. The labor hormones present in your body are the main culprits behind it. Having diarrhoea is usually a sign that you could have your labor pretty soon.
#3 Feeling Nauseous:
While it is not a certified sign of labour, many mothers swear that they feel lightheaded before going into labor.
Contractions have been a part of pregnancy since time immemorial. At 38 weeks of pregnancy, you might feel them more frequently. However, if you are experiencing contractions at regular intervals and they are not stopping, then it is likely that you are going into labor. On the other hand, if you are feeling painful contractions at closer than five minutes, you need to go to the hospital at the earliest.
#5 A backache:
A sore back is common during pregnancy. However, if you start feeling intense back pain at 38 weeks of pregnancy, it could be a sign of labor. Let your doctor know at the earliest if you are undergoing this symptom.
#6 Breaking of Your Water:
If you notice water running down your legs, it usually means that your amniotic sac has ruptured. Once it does, labor takes place quickly, so do let your doctor know about it as soon as your water breaks.
While in most cases inducing labor is not necessary, it becomes essential if it’s a complicated pregnancy. Even in cases where a mother is expecting twins or if someone is having excessive bleeding, the doctor might hurry with the delivery process. Though it can send any mother into a panic, it is best to know that everything will be okay and there is nothing to be worried about.
At 38 weeks of pregnancy you might be impatient to see the face of your baby, however, your baby still needs some time inside your womb. It is best to not stimulate labor by yourself. Wait for your baby to be full term or seek your doctor’s advice for labor before you do anything.
Wellness and Nutrition at 38 Weeks of Pregnancy
As your body changes considerably during the 9th month of Pregnancy, there are a few things that you need to keep in mind regarding your nutritional needs. Rapid weight gain during this crucial period will affect your digestive system. It is of paramount importance that you maintain a balanced and nutritious diet, as you did throughout your pregnancy. The only difference would be that your serving size will increase during this period.
- Fiber: Include food that is rich in fibre like vegetables and fruits. You can also indulge in things like whole grain bread, cereals, and dates among other things.
- Iron: Food items such as chicken, eggs, lentils, broccoli, and spinach are great sources of iron. Dried fruits like prunes and raisins are also rich in iron and should be a part of your diet.
- Calcium: At this stage of your pregnancy, you might suffer from calcium retention. It is because of this, it is important for you to eat foods that are rich in calcium. Some of these food items are dairy products, almonds and oatmeal.
- Vitamin C: Foods that are rich in vitamin C are an important part of the pregnancy diet. Citrus fruits, strawberries, tomatoes, and cauliflower are just some of the many items you can eat to intake vitamin C.
- Folic Acid: Folic acid forms an important part of any pregnant woman’s diet. It is known to avoid birth defects such as spina bifida. Green leafy vegetables and legumes are a great source of it.
- Vitamin A: You can include things like carrots, sweet potato, and spinach for your daily requirement of vitamin A.
Food Items to Avoid at the 38th Week of Pregnancy
The food items that you have avoided throughout your pregnancy, should be omitted from your diet even now. Some of these things include:
- Caffeine: Avoid if possible. At the most, do not exceed the 200 mg mark. Also keep a check on your chocolate intake, as that too could contain caffeine.
- Alcohol: Linked to varied birth defects, alcohol is one thing that should be avoided at any cost during pregnancy.
- Raw Sea Food: Any seafood that is served raw like sushi should be avoided. Oysters also fall under this category.
- Tobacco: Just like alcohol, tobacco should be avoided at any cost. It is a major impediment to your child’s growth and development.
Supplements That You Should Take During the 9th Month of Pregnancy
Often times, doctors advise expecting mothers supplements in case their nutritional needs are not being met through their diet. Some of these supplements include:
- Calcium Supplement: Mothers who are lactose intolerant are often prescribed these supplements to meet their daily requirements of calcium.
- Multivitamin And Multimineral Supplement: These supplements help your body to get the required vitamins and minerals that you need during this stage pregnancy.
- Folic Acid Supplement: Most doctors prescribe folic acid supplement, as they are important to produce healthy red blood cells. They are also known to prevent varied birth defects.
- Iron Supplement: Both doctors and experts swear by these supplements, as pregnant women need sufficient amount of iron, especially during the first and third trimester.
As an expecting mother, you must have heard that a mother’s diet is absolutely essential. Well, it is said for a good reason. What you consume during these crucial months is going to affect your baby. As you are eating for two, it is your responsibility to provide the best to your baby. By doing so you ensure that not only your baby is healthy, but also that you are strong enough for delivery. So, eat healthily and stay safe.
What was your 38th week of pregnancy like? Do let us know along with your feedback in the comment section.