38 Weeks Pregnant

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Welcome to the 38th week of your pregnancy! At 38 weeks, your baby is almost ready to meet you, which could be any day now. We'll review everything you need to know about being 38 weeks pregnant, including your baby’s development, symptoms you may notice, and tips for preparing for labor and delivery.

Highlights at 38 Weeks Pregnant

Here are some key points to keep in mind in week 38 of your pregnancy:

  • Your baby is taking up a lot of space in the amniotic sac, and there isn’t much room for rolling or turning.

  • At 38 weeks, your baby may be in a head-down position in preparation for the trip through the birth canal.

  • Get ready for your birth experience by selecting your labor partner, being aware of the signs of labor, and knowing when to go to the hospital.

  • Are you still looking for the perfect baby name? If not, you might like to try our Baby Name Generator, with so many great names to choose from:


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38 Weeks Pregnant: Your Baby's Development

Your little one is close to making their debut yet still using each day developing. Here are some of the developments taking place:

  • In these final few weeks, your baby’s brain is still growing. In fact, your baby’s brain can grow as much as one-third in size between 35 and 39 weeks pregnant. You knew your little one was a genius!

  • Your baby’s liver is nearly fully developed at this time, too.

  • After your baby is born, their first few bowel movements will actually be a substance called meconium. This greenish-black, sticky form of poop starts to build up in the intestines while your baby is still in the uterus, formed from waste materials such as dead skin cells and lanugo, the fine body hair your little one is starting to shed.

  • Even though your estimated due date is still a couple of weeks away, you may start to notice some signs of labor approaching, and your baby could arrive any day now. Only about five percent of pregnancies deliver exactly on the due date.

  • Twins and other multiples are more likely to be born preterm than a single baby, so keep an eye out for signs and symptoms of labor if you’re 38 weeks pregnant with twins.

How Many Months Is 38 Weeks Pregnant?

At 38 weeks pregnant, how far along is that in months? Since pregnancy doesn’t divide neatly into months, you may find the answers vary. At 38 weeks pregnant, you’re generally considered 9 or 10 months pregnant.

Baby’s Size at 38 Weeks Pregnant

At 38 weeks, the average fetus is about the size of a bunch of rhubarb, and their weight could be approaching 7 pounds.

Your Baby: What Does 38 Weeks Pregnant Look Like?

Wondering how your little one might be positioned at 38 weeks? At this stage, your baby may have dropped lower into the pelvis. Here’s a general idea of what your little one might look like:

Your Body at 38 Weeks Pregnant

At 38 weeks pregnant, you may still be gaining weight, believe it or not. If you had a normal body mass index (BMI) before you were pregnant, it’s likely that you’ll put on between half a pound and one pound per week during the third trimester.

To find out more about your estimated weight gain in these final few weeks, take a look at our pregnancy weight gain calculator.

It's possible that your ever-growing belly might be getting in the way of a good night’s sleep (and normal movement) these days, but the end is in sight now!

Some find that getting regular exercise is more difficult at this point. If this is the case for you, you might want to focus on breathing exercises to help get you ready for labor. Not only do these exercises help you relax and de-stress, but they also come in handy to help manage the pain and discomfort of labor.

38 Weeks Pregnant: Your Symptoms

At 38 weeks pregnant, here are some of the symptoms you may be experiencing:

  • Frequent urination. As your baby and uterus grow, they’re putting more pressure on your bladder, so you may need to go to the bathroom more often. Even though those extra bathroom visits are a hassle, keep drinking plenty of water to stay well hydrated.

  • Pelvic pressure. When your baby drops lower into your pelvis, you may feel increased pressure on your bladder and hips. Because your body is producing a hormone called relaxin, which softens the ligaments, muscles, and joints in preparation for childbirth, you might also experience some back or pelvic pain, especially as you get closer to your due date. Try to stay off your feet as much as possible, move slowly and carefully, and soak in a warm bath if you’re feeling uncomfortable.

  • Swollen ankles and feet. Your body will produce and retain more fluid than usual, and as a result, you may notice swelling (known as edema) in your hands and legs. To combat this, try to rest with your feet up, drink more water to help flush out excess fluid, and wear loose clothes and shoes so you feel a little more comfortable. Some find wearing support tights or socks can also help reduce swelling and discomfort. If you notice any sudden swelling in your face or hands, contact your healthcare provider, as this could be a sign of a blood pressure condition called preeclampsia.

  • Nausea. Some slight nausea can crop up again at 38 weeks pregnant or in the following weeks, and it can sometimes be a sign that labor is starting. If you’re feeling queasy, try to eat several smaller meals throughout the day and stick to bland foods like bananas, rice, or toast.

  • Contractions. At 38 weeks pregnant, you may have already felt Braxton Hicks contractions. These “practice contractions” usually occur irregularly and will often stop when you move or change positions. True labor contractions will come regularly, getting closer together over time. They’ll increase in strength and intensity, and they often start from the back and move to the front of your abdomen. What contractions actually feel like can be different for each pregnancy. However, timing your contractions will help you determine whether you’re experiencing the real deal or just more Braxton Hicks.

How Big Is a Pregnant Belly at 38 Weeks?

You’re nearly at the end of your pregnancy, and your uterus will finish expanding this month. At the start of your pregnancy, your uterus could have weighed around 2 ounces, and now, it may weigh about 2½ pounds.

What Does 38 Weeks Pregnant Look Like?

For a general idea of what your belly might look like at 38 weeks pregnant, take a look at the image below.

38 Weeks Pregnant: Things to Consider

As your due date approaches, here are a few things to consider:

  • Have you considered your options for pain relief during your labor? If you haven’t, reach out to your healthcare provider. Pain relief drugs are typically either analgesic, which usually lessens but doesn’t stop the pain, or anesthetic, which stops you from feeling any pain. One well-known pain relief option is the epidural, but your healthcare provider is the best person to ask about what could be right for you. If you’ve taken a childbirth class, you may have also learned about comfort techniques like the Lamaze, Bradley, and Read methods. Consider all your options and talk over your preferences with your provider.

  • You may want to choose a birth partner to be with you throughout your labor and delivery. This person can be your spouse, partner, family member, friend, or even a trained professional, like a doula. Your birth partner can support you emotionally and provide encouragement. They can also give practical assistance like timing contractions or offering a soothing massage, for example. Medical studies show that those who have continuous labor support usually have shorter labor and require less pain medication. But, no matter what, you won’t be experiencing it alone when the big day comes. Your hospital or birthing center team will be with you every step of the way.

  • Confirm your hospital or birth center’s policies on eating and drinking during labor. If you know you’ll be having a cesarean section, you’ll need to fast and/or restrict your food intake before surgery. Your healthcare provider will be able to give you more information on how long you’ll need to fast. For a vaginal delivery, it may be possible to have small amounts of clear liquids during labor (think ice chips!), but you may not be allowed to eat solid foods. Check with your provider or hospital staff in advance to be sure.

  • Congratulations—you’ve come so far! Your pregnancy is considered full-term at the start of 39 weeks. Learn all about full-term pregnancy and what terms like “early-term,” “full-term,” “late-term,” and “post-term” mean.

  • If you’re considering breastfeeding your baby, you might like to research lactation consultants in your area. A lactation consultant can help you get started and navigate any possible challenges associated with breastfeeding your baby, such as getting the proper latch or dealing with sore nipples. Your hospital or birthing center may have a lactation consultant on staff, and your healthcare provider may also be able to recommend someone.

  • Consider taking some time this week to read up on the postpartum period. Knowing ahead of time what might occur could help you feel more prepared for those first weeks and months. We’ve collected some articles here that you may find interesting:

38 Weeks Pregnant: Questions for Your Healthcare Provider

Here are some questions you might like to ask your healthcare provider at 38 weeks:

  • Is there anything I can do from here on out to prepare for labor?

  • Is it safe to have sex during the final weeks of my pregnancy?

  • What is recommended if my baby is in a breech position?

  • Under what conditions might it be necessary to induce labor, and how common is inducing labor at 38 weeks pregnant?

  • Who should I call if I think I may be in labor? Should I call ASAP or wait for something specific?

  • Can I still breastfeed if I’ve had breast implants or other breast surgery?

  • How soon can I start breastfeeding after giving birth?

  • If things go well, how soon after I give birth am I likely to be discharged from the hospital?

38 Weeks Pregnant: Your Checklist

  • If you haven’t already had it, ask your healthcare provider when you will have the Group B strep test. This routine test checks whether you carry the GBS bacteria so your provider can give you the appropriate course of treatment if the test result is positive and you plan to give birth vaginally.

  • You may have already started packing your hospital bag, but you might not have been able to pack things you’re still using, like your phone charger and toothbrush. Make a list of these items or go through our downloadable hospital bag checklist, so you or your partner can throw the last few items in the bag before you go to the hospital.

  • If you haven’t done so already, have your baby’s car seat installed so it’s ready to bring your baby home safe and sound.

  • As your due date nears, you may want to check out our free online childbirth education classes —there are nine videos you can watch anytime.

  • Check out the best baby gear as selected by Pampers Parents. If you’re planning to breastfeed, you may be interested in products like the best nursing bras and the best breast pumps; if you plan to formula feed, you might like to check out Pampers Parents reviews of the best baby formulas.

  • Take some time to pamper and care for yourself—you may not have this kind of “spare time” for a while once your baby is born. For example, you might want to do things like getting a haircut or going for a pampering pedicure.

  • Sign up for even more weekly pregnancy tips:

How We Wrote This Article The information in this article is based on the expert advice found in trusted medical and government sources, such as the American Academy of Pediatrics and the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. You can find a full list of sources used for this article below. The content on this page should not replace professional medical advice. Always consult medical professionals for full diagnosis and treatment.