Pregnancy Calendar 38

YOUR PREGNANCY WEEK BY WEEK: WHAT’S HAPPENING IN WEEK 38

At the size of a pumpkinaround 7 pounds and over 20 inchesyour baby keeps plumping up and preparing for birth. Her brain is still growing rapidly and now she can firmly grasp onto things. For you, amongst the many symptoms that have been lingering for months, a new one has likely cropped up: leaky breasts.

Your Body

At 38 weeks pregnant, you may be noticing your bras becoming wet as your breasts get ready to make milk for your baby.

Leaky Breasts

Time to break out those nursing pads you’ve stocked up on. Your breasts are likely a little leaky about now as they prepare to become a milk machine for baby soon.So, what is that stuff leaking out? It’s colostrum, a thin yellowish fluid that many expecting moms tend to see flowing out from their breasts late in the third trimester.Colostrum is the first form of breast milk that’s produced a few weeks before birth. Like the mature breast milk that will come a bit later on, it’s full of infection-fighting antibodies to help protect your newborn against disease. Colostrum also has more protein and lower fat/sugar in it than the milk that your breasts will produce for baby a few days after you deliver.Not seeing any leakage?That’s normal, too. Some women don’t get leaky breasts during pregnancy. But, even if you don’t have leaking colostrum, it’s still being generated in your breasts. If you’d like, you can try gently squeezing your areola to see if you can express a few drops.If your breasts are leaking colostrum, you’ll want to wear nursing pads inside your bra to protect your clothing.

Your Baby

In the 38th week of pregnancy, your baby’s brain and body continue to fine-tune their functioning.

Your baby’s amazing brain growth continues on.

Your little one’s brain development has been in high gear for quite some time, and it’s sure not slowing down now! While still in the womb and well into childhood, your baby’s brain continues to form trillions of neuron connections. These connections help her take in everything that she sees, tastes, touches, hears and smells, which stimulates further brain development. An interesting baby brain tidbit: research suggests a correlation between longer pregnancies and larger brains. So, keep your little bun in the oven as long as you can to give her the best chance for increased brainpower.

Your baby has a firm grasp now.

At this point, your baby has developed a nice, firm grasp with her fingers and better coordination overall. In an ultrasound, moms-to-be may see their baby grab and hold on to the umbilical cord, for instance. Along with this common movement, babies in the 38th week can sometimes be seen doing odd things like licking the uterine wall or cute things like bouncing up and down when her mommy laughs!

Diet and Exercise Tips You Should Follow

To keep you and your baby healthy, follow these tips in week 38:

Get good nutrition to aid good sleep.

Quality sleep is more important for you than ever. So, be sure to get the right nutrition in the right amounts to help get a good night’s sleep. Continue with a healthy, balanced diet filled with lean meats, vegetables, fruits and whole grains and drink plenty of fluids (water and milk are best). Eat your biggest meal before 3 pm. Eat smaller meals at dinner and have a light evening snack an hour or two before bed—crackers with low-fat cheese or apple slices with peanut butter are great options.

Lighten up on exercise and daily chores.

Moving throughout the day is still good (and it’ll help your baby drop lower), but lightening up a bit now with your exercise routine and housework is a good idea. This will allow more time for the rest and sleep you need before baby comes. It’s important that you get as much rest as possible each day. Continue with short walks and stretching, but eliminate unnecessary tasks from your schedule.

Things You Should Do

  • Go into labor as rested and relaxed as possible by practicing daily meditation and other relaxation techniques like guided imagery. This will help keep you and your baby calm, and you can use these techniques during labor to help ease pain and discomfort.
  • If you’re having trouble sleeping, turn on a late night talk show for some entertainment. Laughing can help you relax by suppressing stress hormones. Stressful day at work? Watch a funny movie with your partner tonight.

Words You Should Know

Active Labor:

Part of the first stage of labor when the cervix dilates from three to seven centimeters. Active labor typically lasts anywhere from two to four hours. Contractions during this stage are strong, long (40-60 seconds each) and frequent (three to four minutes apart).

Retained Placenta: A placenta that remains in the uterus for 30 minutes or more after delivery. Sometimes the placenta must be manually removed when this occurs.

Rooming-In: After delivery, this is when a newborn stays in the same room as the mother in a hospital rather than staying the hospital nursery.

Transitional Labor: End of the first stage of labor when the cervix has dilated from eight to ten centimeters. This is the most demanding stage because contractions are very strong, very long and very close together. This stage only lasts a short time.

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