How Your Baby Grows Inside You: Week 38
Have you maintained a pregnancy week by week chart? It will be fun for you to compare now that your baby now weighs over 3 kilos and is almost 20 inches long. Her/his organs have matured and are ready for life outside the womb. The placenta has generated extra glycogen and this has been stored in your baby’s liver. This will help sustain energy needs in the first two days while your milk supply builds up.
You may notice that your baby moves much lesser now and instead of full-fledged kicks or body movements, you can only feel jabs and prods. Your baby’s head is now expected to be fixed, locked or engaged in the pelvis.
Signs and Symptoms
Your energy levels are now at an all time low and you might be feeling extremely lethargic. Rest as much as you can and indulge in your favourite things, just don’t forget to continue your prenatal exercises.
As your baby’s head gets locked into the pelvis, you might experience sharp shooting pains in the vagina.
It is a good idea to start massaging your nipples from this week. If you have flat or inverted nipples, a gentle massage in the last couple of weeks will help the nipples form and make breastfeeding easier.
This is also a good time to shop for nursing bras if you haven’t already. Your breast size is not going to change anymore and you should be able to get the correct size.
Many mums-to-be don’t feel like wearing a bra towards the end of pregnancy as they feel too big and uneasy. Wear maternity camisoles if bras make you uncomfortable or try wearing nursing bras made in stretchy cotton material.
You might feel like just getting over and done with delivery since you’re heavy and probably uncomfortable. If you live in a warm climate and are expecting your baby in summer, the last few weeks can be pretty unbearable. Practice patience, as it is best that labour starts spontaneously with least intervention. This will also ensure an easier birth experience as your baby will be a willing participant in the process!
Many people might call you to enquire if you’ve gone into labor yet. This can be very annoying since you are also waiting anxiously for labor to begin. Just reassure yourself that everything will happen in due time, and will happen well.
Your doctor is monitoring your pregnancy week by week for the last couple of visits. If your baby has grown rapidly, your doctor may consider doing an induction to speed up delivery. An induction is done by application of a gel directly on the cervix to help the cervix soften and dilate. If this does not work, then your doctor might start an IV with pitocin which is the synthetic form of oxytocin.
Oxytocin is the natural hormone produced by the body that helps the uterus contract during labor. You might want to discuss some natural methods of inducing labour with your doctor before attempting the pharmacological ones. Some natural methods include nipple stimulation and intercourse.
Old Wives Tales
It is believed that if an expecting mum has an unexplained urge to clean and arrange things around her, then she is due very soon. This is just a myth. You might be arranging or preparing for your baby’s arrival weeks before your due date but your baby will come only when s/he is ready!
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