You at 38 weeks pregnant
Your breasts might be leaking colostrum.
You might be experiencing more Braxton Hicks contractions. Although these can at times feel uncomfortable, they’re actually helping to prepare your uterus and cervix for labour and birth.
The placenta is about 17-18 cm across and can weigh up to 1 kg. It processes about 12 litres of blood an hour. If you have a vaginal birth, the placenta will be delivered after your baby. This is usually in the first half hour after your baby is born, although it might be longer.
It’s recommended that you have an oxytocin injection after the baby’s birth to prevent too much bleeding.
If everything’s going smoothly, you’re not likely to need any more scans after 20 weeks.
But your doctor or midwife might suggest extra scans if you:
- are having twins or more
- have a medical condition like gestational diabetes or pre-eclampsia
- have had problems in previous pregnancies.
Your health professional might also want another scan to check whether your baby is growing healthily, whether your baby is lying in a breech position or where the placenta is.
Child car seats
If you haven’t had a child car seat fitted yet, do this now.
It’s illegal for any baby or child under the age of 7 years to travel in a car without an approved child car seat. This includes driving home from the hospital or birth centre. Your newborn will need to be seated in a properly fastened, adjusted and approved rear-facing child car seat.
Your baby when you’re 38 weeks pregnant
A baby born this week is considered to be born at term:
- Your baby is about 35 cm from head to bottom and, on average, weighs about 3.2 kg.
- Most of the lanugo – the fine covering of hair on your baby’s body – has fallen out. But your baby still has a fair bit of vernix – a white, creamy substance that protects your baby’s skin from the amniotic fluid.
- Your baby’s bowel is full of meconium, a dark green, tar-like substance, which will come out in the first few poos. Your baby’s poos will range from black to green to yellow as your baby starts to drink milk.