Use our pregnancy calendar to see what’s happening in your pregnancy each week.
Get ready to give birth! Here’s what you can expect from week thirty eight of your pregnancy.
Fully developed and ready to make an appearance
Is breathing regularly, just like they will once born
Is actual baby sized. A whole baby. Inside you. Right now.
Look out for labour symptoms – you’ll be meeting your little one within the next four weeks!
Probably ache. A lot. Whether it’s your pelvis, your back or every single bone of your body, there’s a lot of baby in there.
May lose weight. For the first time in about thirty eight weeks!
Week Thirty Eight
A whopping 85% of babies are born within two weeks of their due date, meaning at 38 weeks you’re in prime baby time. Just over 13% of babies are born this week so it’s time to brush up on your ‘recognising labour’ skills. For me, this week signals the start of the stressful game known as ‘Labour or Third Trimester?’ because a lot of the symptoms of early labour are also things you’ll naturally deal with in late pregnancy.
Let’s go through some early labour signs:
Frequent bathroom trips: whether it’s for nausea, diarrhoea or just a more frequent urge to wee, increased time in the bathroom can signal early labour. As your baby drops into position there’s more pressure on your bowels and bladder which can cause this urge. However, there’s also a theory that your body naturally clears itself out prior to labour. Whichever it is, it’s nice to lose a couple of pounds prior to delivery
A lower or smaller bump: also known as lightening, the baby’s lower position can make your bump seem smaller or just sit lower. The reason for this is that your baby’s head is now positioned within your pelvis so there’s less baby in your bump. I didn’t notice that my bump dropped either time, but I did notice that it became easier to breathe, when the baby drops that little bit lower, your lungs get a little more room to expand with each breath… something that’s more than welcome.
Insomnia or disrupted sleep: it’s not known why early labour disturbs your sleep but many women report either insomnia or sleep disruptions just prior to labour. It could be the lack of comfort due to your baby’s size, it could be your mind constantly ticking over about going in to labour. Do your best to rest whenever possible, even if you’re not sleeping, rest is better than nothing!
Increased discharge: mmmm mmmm, it’s as delicious as it sounds. Prior to labour you’ll find increased vaginal discharge and you may even find bits of your mucus plug. As your cervix thins and starts to dilate, you may find bits of thick mucus when you go to the toilet. Clear, white, slightly pink or brown tinged, it’s perfectly normal if not marginally gross
More Braxton Hicks: more of those practice contractions getting you ready for the real thing. Just remember, Braxton Hicks should be (fairly) painless and irregular. If they start to get increasingly painful or move into regular timings then the chances are you’ve moved on to contractions. A definite sign of labour!!
Back & pelvic pain: lower back pain and/or pelvic pain similar to period pains are a good sign that your body is preparing for labour. Look out for waves of back pain, this could be contractions showing themselves as ‘back labour’. Unfortunately you may find that your back and pelvic aches and pains are here to stay until your baby is born. There’s a lot of pressure currently on the nerves and muscles around that area and very little you can do to relieve that beyond giving birth
Other fun things this week: The waiting game has begun leaving you stuck between making plans and sitting at home alone and bored, especially if you’ve finished work this week (here’s how I felt going on maternity leave the first time round!). Your baby could be here today or in a month’s time meaning you’ll spend most of that month saying things like ‘next time I see you, I may not be pregnant’ before repeating it the next time you see them. Ahhhhh the fun of the waiting game. It’s at times like this I get envious of those with scheduled c-sections which usually occur either this week or next in order to beat the odds of labour naturally starting otherwise. But as annoying as the waiting game is, there’s something rather special about not knowing. At least, that’s what I try and convince myself.
Missed a week? Catch up on week thirty seven
Fancy sneaking ahead? Here’s week thirty nine