pregnancy week 38

Now the 38-week-old baby is ready to live outside the womb. Although the official deadline is 40 weeks, almost 85% of children are born two weeks before or two weeks after their due date. Therefore, delivery can take place at any time.

The 37th week of pregnancy is over, and soon the mother will reach the final stage where the wait will end. Week 38 also has several important changes and it is normal to have doubts about what happens to my pregnancy and my baby from day to day? For your peace of mind, your baby is ready to be born and live outside the womb. Now, if you ask yourself, 38 weeks, how many months are they? The answer is that this period covers almost 9 months. Therefore, a pregnancy of 38 weeks is in the final phase to reach term.

Baby weight and size

At this stage, the weight of the 38-week fetus can normally range from 3,000 to 3,200 grams and its size, from head to toe, is between 48 and 50 cm. Likewise, if the due date is extended one or two more weeks, the baby will be able to accumulate more reserves until the moment of birth.

For this reason, the size and weight of the baby is an aspect that usually evolves differently in each child, so some may be born at term weighing 2,700 or 3,800 g and measuring more than 50 cm; especially boys, who usually weigh more than girls.

The relevant changes in week 38

As delivery approaches, the fetus increases hormone production; which helps to stabilize, after birth, both glucose and blood pressure levels.

With a pregnancy of 38 weeks, the reflexes and all the organic functions of the baby are already formed. Likewise, now he has hair, thicker and longer; and his nails are already past the end of his fingers.

In relation to the musculoskeletal system. At 38 weeks of pregnancy, the fetus, although it remains with its limbs flexed, has developed muscle tone. Whereas with the increase in subcutaneous fat, your skin is now soft and smooth ; either flushed or whitish.

Regarding vernix caseosa, a layer of fat present on your skin, this tends to melt a little and remains floating in the amniotic fluid; so the child’s skin will now be able to feel the water that surrounds it.

On the other hand, nature has showered the baby’s lungs with all the advantages to function without any problems after birth. Therefore, in this crucial week, they start their natural production of cortisone ; which will allow the alveoli to expand with the child’s first breath.

baby movements

In 96% of cases, at week 38 of pregnancy, the baby’s movements indicate that it is preparing for birth and its change of position in the uterus is evidence of this. Therefore, the child fits its head between the pelvic bones, to gain access to the birth canal; which favors vaginal delivery.

This change in position usually occurs in the last weeks of gestation. However, there are some pregnancies of non-new mothers in which the fetus fits into the birth canal just as birth contractions begin. Therefore, in these cases there is no need to worry too much if at week 38 of pregnancy the baby still does not adopt the ideal position.

38 weeks pregnant, labor symptoms and risks

Gestation ends at the time of delivery. In some women this occurs in the 38th week of pregnancy; that is, when there are two weeks left for the official deadline. According to experts, from week 37 to 40, the baby is considered ready to be born; since the development of it has culminated. For this reason, it is called a full-term baby, because it will be born within the established date.

However, in some mothers, labor could last until week 42 (9 and a half months), in which case it is a post-term pregnancy. The opposite happens with 10% of women, who can give birth before 37 weeks of pregnancy; which could cause some complication, especially if the child has not completed all of her lung development.

In a 38-week ultrasound it can be clearly seen that in some cases the diameter of the fetal skull can reach 10 cm. This size is the size reached by the uterine orifice through contractions; which could indicate that in the 38th week of pregnancy the probability of delivery is greater.

Although a delivery at 38 weeks may represent a 3% risk in terms of respiratory problems, experts say that the baby can survive without serious complications.

Also, to ensure that everything is fine with the mother and child, the doctor may perform an exam to assess whether there is enough amniotic fluid; or analyze by means of an ultrasound, if the placenta is still capable of covering its supply functions.

If any irregularity occurs, such as detecting the calcified placenta or its detachment within the uterus, with the consequent bleeding; the case becomes a medical emergency. In this situation, if the elective cesarean delivery had been planned, now this surgery should be performed immediately.

Regardless of whether the mother decides to have a vaginal or cesarean delivery, it is essential that in the last few weeks she conserves all her energy reserves for that moment and resting is essential for this. For this reason, it is convenient to have pregnancy pillows at hand, since they provide maximum comfort in this period, when the weight of the belly makes it difficult to find a suitable resting position.

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