Week Thirty-eight of Your Pregnancy

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Week 38 Info

WEEK 38

Your baby weighs about 6 to 7 pounds and she's over 19 inches long.  Her organs have matured and are ready for life outside the womb.  Her lungs are continuing to mature and if you looked at her with ultrasound you could see her breathing movements as she moves amniotic fluid in and out of her lungs.

You may be experiencing shooting pains down your legs or inside your vagina.  As the baby settles deeper into your pelvis she may be hitting and stretching nerves.  You will continue to feel intermittent Braxton-Hicks contractions, especially if you've overdone it or not had enough water that day.  These differ from true labor contractions in that they tend to be shorter and irregular.  Often, Braxton-Hicks involve only parts of the uterus.  True labor pains tend to be progressive in strength and duration and involve the whole uterus.  If you aren't sure whether it's labor yet, then it probably isn't.  Keep in mind the 5-1-1 rule‚Äö√Ѭ∂‚Äö√Ѭ∂Call you practitioner if you are unsure or if you experience heavy bleeding, leaking watery discharge or decreased fetal movement.

Mild swelling in feet and ankles, called dependant edema, is very normal and due to water retention and gravity.  Continue to watch for early signs of preeclampsia which include excessive or sudden swelling of your hands and face, severe or persistent headaches, visual changes such as double vision or intense upper abdominal pain.  Call your practitioner right away if you experience any of these symptoms.

The next couple of weeks are a waiting game.  Labor can occur at any time.  Stock up on baby supplies and catch up on your "baby how to" reading.  Try to keep busy to pass the time but make sure to get plenty of rest.  Make plans with your partner for some uninterrupted time together before your new family member arrives.

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