At 38 weeks pregnant, you are most likely feeling done. If you could see everything your body is doing to prepare for delivery day, you would understand why you feel the way you do. Both you and baby are changing by the day to ensure a healthy, happy delivery! Here is what you have to look forward to this week.
With only two weeks to go, your body is hard at work! Your pelvis is starting to open, allowing baby to drop into place to prepare for birth. This process creates a comfy space for baby to finish his final touches before entering the world! It also allows you to breathe more easily (with less kicks to the ribs)! Although you may be uncomfortable from the pelvic pressure, just know that it’s completely normal. You may also feel some occasional sharp pain in the pelvic region which is also related to your pelvis spreading. However, if you ever feel like you are in more pain than you should be, trust your instincts and call your doctor.
Your cervix could start dilating (opening) at 38 weeks. Effacement (thinning of the cervix) can also start this week. This is another major way your body is preparing you for delivery! Dilation is measured in centimeters with 1cm being the smallest all the way to 10cm meaning baby is ready to be born! To give you a visual, it’s like your cervix starting at the size of a cheerio and expanding to the size of a donut. The purpose of dilation is to provide an opening from the uterus to the birth canal ensuring a smooth exit route for baby!
Over the next two weeks, you may notice another sign of D-Day! Your body is starting to produce colostrum, defined as “a thin, yellowish liquid that’s the precursor to breastmilk.” The colostrum is what will feed your newborn the first few days of life, providing essential antibodies to keep your baby healthy. This week, you may notice leaky breasts as a result of your colostrum production. Break out those nursing pads if it gets too messy! But if you aren’t experiencing leakage, it’s okay! Not everyone experiences it. You will still be able to produce colostrum once you’ve given birth.
As your baby prepares for birth, he will start to swallow more amniotic fluid, and other stuff floating around in there with him like shed cells, waste products and bile. This will turn into his first bowel movement post birth, called meconium.
His lungs are still developing and producing surfactant, which keeps the sacs in his lungs from sticking to each other after he’s born. His brain and nervous system are continuing to finish up the important development they need to keep him alive in the outside world! At 38 weeks, he is the size of a rhubarb! These next two weeks, your baby will continue to gain weight, adding fat to make him the cuddliest little bundle of joy!
Install your car seat and become familiar with it. Your car seat is going to become a very important and essential part of your (and baby’s) life! Be sure you have read up on car seat safety and protocol, so you can keep your baby safe as can be while riding in the car. You can also take your installed carseat into a CPS tech or to a fire station to verify it is installed correctly.