What To Expect When You’re 38 Weeks Pregnant
Your baby is the size of a winter melon!
In The Guide
Starting this week your doctor might be hyper-vigilant about watching for signs of preeclampsia, preterm labor, and gestational diabetes.
Being on the watch doesn’t mean any of these will affect you, but it’s never a bad idea to be cautious.
Know this, let’s jump right into week 24 of your pregnancy!
You baby is weighing in at about 1 1/3 pounds this week. Roughly the size of an ear of corn, he/she is about a foot in length from head-to-feet.
Sodium Intake – The amount of sodium you put in your body plays a big role in whether or not you experience swelling.
Sodium is often found in salt, but it’s hidden in a lot of other foods, as well.
You do need a certain amount of sodium when you’re pregnant, which is about one teaspoon (2,400 mg). But, overdoing it can welcome edema (swelling).
Preeclampsia – Affecting about 5-8% of all pregnancies, preeclampsia is usually spotted early on with symptoms like high blood pressure, protein in the urine, and extreme water retention.
Your doctor will check these things at every visit to keep a close watch. This is one reason why you have to pee in a cup each appointment.
Severe preeclampsia can mean liver failure for mom and less food and oxygen for baby.
You can see now why your doctor is very vigilant about watching for this condition.
Gestational Diabetes – This type of diabetes is reserved for pregnancy as it causes an expecting mom’s blood sugar to become too high.
Much like pregnancy itself, gestational diabetes isn’t permanent. But it does increase the likelihood of developing diabetes in the future.
Although it’s not 100% predictable, there are a few indicators that point to you struggling with this during your pregnancy.
Some of those include your age, health, previous pregnancy conditions, and even ethnicity. You can help to ward off gestational diabetes by embracing a healthy diet and lifestyle.
Officially, you are five months and two weeks pregnant, mama!
If it seems to you like the second trimester just started then consider yourself normal. This middle part of pregnancy usually goes by the quickest.
Just know that you’re nearing the end of your second trimester. The third and final trimester begins at week 28.
Your baby’s face now looks like it will at birth. But, the rest of him/her is still very tiny and has more growth to accomplish.
Even though amniotic fluid surrounds your baby, his/her lungs are learning how to breathe.
The lungs are busy developing a branched cell pattern that essentially absorbs oxygen with each breath. This is all in preparation for your baby’s first independent breath directly after birth.
Your uterus is well above your bellybutton this week. In fact, it’s the size of a soccer ball. Gives a whole new meaning to the term “soccer mom,” doesn’t it?
Your back might feel increasingly sore over the coming weeks. After all, it’s holding up several pounds of extra weight.
It might be time to put on that maternity belt, supportive bra, and full-coverage maternity pants.
They could feel odd at first, but you’ll fall in love with the way they feel soon enough.
Lumpy Breasts – The changes that your breasts have undergone might make you feel like you have an entirely new body.
Many of these changes have happened or are happening in your breasts. As your breasts prepare to nurture a new baby, milk ducts are becoming more enlarged because they’re actually producing a milky substance called colostrum.
It’s not uncommon for a milk duct to get blocked and feel like a lump in your breast. In fact, your breasts might become lumpy altogether.
Applying heat and massage tends to help the duct release the blockage.
Baby Movements – By now, you’ve probably felt your baby move. These movements can range from a feeling like a tiny flutter to a huge swooshing motion in your belly.
You’ll become accustomed to how much your baby moves and how often. You’ll probably learn your baby’s sleep patterns, as well.
In fact, it’s important to pay attention to these movements and even to keep track of them as they are an indication of your baby’s well-being.
While each baby is different, should you notice a change in movement, call your doctor immediately.
Bleeding Gums – During pregnancy, you become more prone to gum disease and tooth decay. In addition to this, your blood volume has increased so much that it’s normal to experience sensitive gums.
This can lead to spitting blood after you brush your teeth. Remember to brush gently and brush often to help out this condition.
Being pregnant with twins or multiples means that you might be slowing down a little bit these days. Your babies are growing by about 5 or 6 ounces a day and are almost a foot in length.
Carrying them can get to be a tough job, which is why you’re doing it. You’ve got the goods, mama!
Still, cut yourself a break and embrace support. Whether the support comes in the form of a good, comfortable bra, maternity belt, help from friends and family, or even just taking more breaks when you are tired, go ahead and accept the help.
You still have several more weeks before delivery, so use your energy wisely.