You are now 38 weeks pregnant, which is the beginning of week 39.


With around two weeks to go, your baby may be about 49 cm long (19.2 inches) and approximately 3,200 grams in weight (3.2 kg or just over 7lb).

The fine covering of hair on your baby's body (called lanugo) all but disappears now, but their skin is still covered with thick, greasy, white cream called vernix. If your baby is a boy, his testes have now descended from their groin area into his scrotum. Your baby's placenta now covers about one third of the inner surface of your uterus and processes around 12 litres of blood per hour (or 600 pints every 24 hours)!


Physical changes 




Many women experience some form of prelabour for weeks, days or several hours before their labour starts in earnest. Prelabour is essentially feeling some physical signs indicating labour could be starting, such as a 'show', having loose bowel motions, nausea (possibly vomiting), backache, period pain, perhaps the waters breaking or some mild to moderate regular or irregular contractions. During prelabour the cervix softens and ripens, thins out and starts to open or dilate slightly, up to 1 to 3 centimetres or so.


If you have to ask "Is this it?", then it's generally not. However, each woman's body differs and even the most experienced caregivers can get it wrong! Prelabour contractions vary considerably, but are usually further apart, shorter (or longer) in length, and more erratic, than established labour contractions. They are also not usually strong enough to stop you talking or doing normal tasks.


Emotional reactions 


Feeling fed up


Late pregnancy often brings many discomforts and as your baby grows bigger and your belly grows heavier feeling tired of being pregnant, and generally fed up with the whole process are common emotions. Most women come to this point at some stage, with impatience making you feel like you would give almost anything to have your baby born.


It is often said that you need to get to the point of 'having enough' before you can move into physical labour. Perhaps this is Nature's way of making fears of labour pain dissipate, as you yearn for your baby to be with you.


Talk about your feelings with your caregiver and/or partner (if you have one), or with someone else you trust. Sometimes labour does not start until you feel you have resolved your feelings to some degree and are emotionally ready to have your baby.


Feeling ready


Prelabour is the preparation for the labour. The body and the baby beginning, getting ready, for the woman to say YES to the labour, whatever that may bring.


Other considerations 


Newborn screening blood test is a heel-prick test usually offered routinely to babies at about 3 to 5 days after birth. It aims to detect selected disorders so that treatment can commence before the baby shows signs of illness.


Jaundice is a yellowing of the baby's skin and eyes due to a build up of a substance called bilirubin. Up to 50% of newborns become jaundiced, with most just requiring closer observation. A few babies need treatments such as phototherapy.


Boys - care of foreskin. A baby boy's foreskin (or prepuce) is naturally adhered from birth and gradually separates on its own by the time the child is about 2 to 5 years of age. In a few boys it remains attached until puberty (this is not a problem).


Your new baby 


Feeding your baby


Most women make the decision about how they wish to feed their baby well before the birth. Some find this choice easy, others are unsure and may take a wait and see approach. The decision-making process is usually influenced by many factors reflecting the woman's cultural, social and personal beliefs, past experiences, her perception of her body, the society she lives in, her plans to return to work, how her mother fed her babies and sometimes her partner's preferences.


Newborn examinations


Most newborns have several head-to-toe checks performed by various caregivers at different times in the hours, days, weeks and months after birth.


What to expect from your baby's caregivers


As soon as your baby is born the priority of their caregiver is to ensure they have a smooth transition to life. Once this has happened, keeping your baby warm, making sure they have fed and performing expected routine procedures such as weighing, measuring and checking them physically all happen in good time.

Your pregnancy - Week 38

   Third Trimester


  Week 29            Week 41-42 


    Week 30            


    Week 31            


    Week 32            


    Week 33


    Week 34


    Week 35


    Week 36


    Week 37


    Week 38


    Week 39


    Week 40






































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