38 Weeks

Week Thirty Eight: Development is complete

 

  
You are 38 weeks pregnant. 

  • Baby is about 20 inches and weighs about 7.5 pounds. 
  • The soft down, which covered the body throughout the pregnancy, is now disappearing.
  • The body fat is continuing to build up, baby putting on about 1oz a day.
  • The wrinkled skin is becoming ‘baby’ smooth.
  • The baby may have reached its final birth position.
  • Most babies are born head first with only about 3 percent coming out feet first.
  • About one in eight births are caesarean.

Development is complete, baby’s main job is to gain weight. The body continues laying on the fat stores at a rate of about an ounce a day, that will help regulate his or her body temperature after birth. The amniotic fluid, this is approximately equal to 4 or 5 cups. It doesn’t sound like much, but just wait until your water breaks, it will feel like much more.

Baby may have a full head of hair now, an inch or more long, but some babies are born with only peach fuzz. Speaking of hair, most of the downy coat of lanugo that covered your baby for weeks has disappeared, but you may see some on the upper back and shoulders when he or she arrives. Almost gone has most of the vernix caseosa, the whitish substance that also covered baby.

Your baby will swallow the lanugo and exterior coating, along with other secretions, and store them in their bowels. These will become your infant’s first bowel movement, a blackish waste called meconium. Your child’s intestines are accumulating lots of meconium. About 30% of babies move their bowels before birth. Usually this is a sign that the baby is under some stress and can cause pneumonia if the baby inhales any amniotic fluid with meconium in it. If there are signs of meconium in the amniotic fluid at birth your care provider will make sure that the baby’s throat and lungs are suctioned thoroughly.

This week, your baby weighs around seven and a half pounds and measures about 20 inches head to toe. You are almost at the end of your pregnancy. Your weight should not increase much from this point.

No change this week. I was hoping for progress but little one isn’t quite ready yet. We’ll check again next week and potentially schedule an induction depending on the amount of progress or lack there of.

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