What To Expect When You’re 38 Weeks Pregnant
Your baby is the size of a winter melon!
In The Guide
Week 8 is a huge week for you and baby as you’ll probably get to see your little one on an ultrasound screen!
About the size of a pinto bean or a raisin, the crown-to-rump length of your baby is 1/2 to 3/4 inch (1.4 to 2 cm).
At this point, the eyelids are forming and maturing as well as nerve cells in the retina.
Amazingly enough, the soon-to-be kissable tip of your baby’s tiny nose is now present. And, both the inside and the outside of the ears are beginning to form.
The two valves (aortic and pulmonary) are now distinct in your baby’s heart. Furthermore, branch-like tubes are leading from the throat to the lungs. Part of your baby’s lungs is actually functioning, as well.
Sciatic-Nerve Pain – Sciatica is one of the most common complaints of expecting mothers. Sciatica is the shooting pain you feel from your lower back down the back of each leg (where the nerve runs).
People often describe sciatica as feeling like electricity running through your body. While it’s most common later on in pregnancy, it can occur at any time.
Aside from maintaining good posture through yoga and stretching, there isn’t much you can do to prevent it. Both cold and hot compresses have been known to relieve this uncomfortable feeling.
Miscarriage – As you may know already, the earlier on in the pregnancy you are, the greater the risk to miscarry.
Some common symptoms associated with miscarriage are heavy bleeding, severe cramping, and normal pregnancy symptoms disappearing.
Although sometimes unavoidable because of genetic disorders, the best way to prevent a miscarriage is simply to take care of yourself. Stop bad habits, avoid heavy physical labor, and decrease the stress in your life.
If you can see your baby’s heart rate at week eight, then your risk for miscarriage dramatically falls to nearly 4%.
Acne – There’s a good chance that you’re already experiencing that “pregnancy glow.” Only now it might seem more like a mask of oil on your face.
Acne is incredibly common during pregnancy, especially early on as your body is still learning how to regulate all the extra hormones. To battle acne, remember to wash your face with a mild soap and moisturize your skin to prevent an over-production of unnecessary oils.
Wash your hands often, too, so that any bacteria on your hands doesn’t transfer to your facial skin and produce any bacterial infection.
Folic Acid – Folic acid is the synthetic form of the vitamin B9, which can prevent many birth defects in your unborn baby.
During your pregnancy, the recommended amount of folic acid is a daily dose of 600 to 800 mcg. Not only does folic acid help your baby develop, but it also keeps you protected from certain types of anemia.
Double check the label on your prenatal vitamins. If you’re not getting enough through your prenatal vitamin then taking a supplement is an option.
Be sure not to take more than 1,000 mcg daily as this is too much for your body to handle.
You can proudly say now that you are one month and three weeks pregnant!
If you’re anything like most new moms, then there are probably 1,001 questions whirling around in your head. Now is the time to starting putting pen to paper and jot those questions down.
You’ll likely be visiting your doctor this week for your first prenatal appointment. At this appointment, your doctor will spend a good chunk of time with you and be prepared to answer all your questions.
For this first appointment, be prepared to talk with your doctor about your family’s medical history, your medical history (in detail), and your last period dates.
Also, be ready for a full cervical and breast exam as well as a possible transvaginal ultrasound (see below).
There is a strong possibility that you will have your first ultrasound this week. At this stage of your pregnancy, you’ll most likely be required to have a transvaginal ultrasound.
A transvaginal ultrasound is nothing to be afraid of. This type of ultrasound is completed by gently inserting a lubricated transducer in the shape of a wand into your vagina.
It feels a lot like a tampon. You will actually help the ultrasound technician to insert it the same way you would insert a tampon.
Being that your baby is just a tiny embryo, a transvaginal ultrasound helps the technician to get a much closer look at your baby.
You’ll be able to see that the trunk of your baby’s body is getting much longer and is straightening out from the curved positioning in the prior weeks.
As the arms and legs begin to grown and extend forward, you can spot visible elbows. Although not evident on an ultrasound picture, your baby has tiny notches on both hands and feet that will transform into fingers and toes.
Before you were pregnant, your uterus was about the size of your fist. Now, it’s grown closer to the size of a grapefruit.
Even though your uterus has increased in size, it won’t cause your belly to bulge out just yet. For first time moms especially, it might take a little longer for your pregnant belly to show.
One thing to be aware of is the common sensation of your uterus tightening or contracting. This is quite normal as your uterus does this throughout your entire pregnancy.
It’s also normal not to feel these contractions. If, however, you do feel them and you are bleeding from your vagina at the same time then call your doctor.
Cramping – Although pregnancy exempts you from the annoyances of menstrual cramps, it’s not uncommon to feel cramps nonetheless.
As your uterus expands to accommodate a growing baby, the supporting ligaments can cause cramp-like sensations in your abdomen.
Unless your cramping is severe or is followed by vaginal bleeding, there is nothing to worry about.
Migraines – You might never have experienced migraines before you got pregnant. While they can be annoying and even debilitating, they’re unfortunately a normal pregnancy symptom.
The scoop on migraines is that hormones are the biggest culprit followed by fatigue, stress, and blood sugar drops.
Increased Hunger – There’s a good chance that your stomach isn’t what it used to be.
You might be offended by foods you previously enjoyed and crave foods that you’ve never craved before.
No matter if you’re dealing with morning sickness or not, your appetite might have increased.
This only makes sense as your caloric requirement has also increased. Some women handle hunger and nausea simultaneously by eating small and frequent meals.
Sense of Smell – You might be caught off guard by how much your sense of smell has increased.
One expecting mom said she could smell her straightening iron heating up as she got ready one morning.
You’ll quickly become aware of the smells that you enjoy and the ones that you absolutely can’t stand.
This week’s ultrasound should be able to confirm how many babies you are carrying.
Once you find out that you’ve been nurturing two or more babies, then that might explain the level of fatigue, nausea, or even heartburn that you’ve been feeling.
From here on out, you can take care of yourself accordingly.
Not only will your doctor have some helpful recommendations for you as you carry multiple babies, but you can also keep a running list of questions to aim at your doctor.