You start to feel like you are looking like a ripe peach now. Your corners are all round and at this stage, you start to have some doubts that are nagging and creeping. Feelings like if you look very big or very small, bored with carrying the baby and wanting it to be born and questions like “how will the baby come out “ are things that start to bother you. You may be calm one minute and suddenly panic the other minute. You are just 2 weeks away from your due date and you have now come to realize that the baby in you is for real. Try not to get overwhelmed by what is happening around and have faith in your body and that you will be able to deliver your baby safely. Also, keep confidence in your doctor and think positive. Everything will go smoothly and for anything unexpected, there is support designed for you and for your baby. Your pregnancy will soon end now and you are getting closer to your delivery date.
You’re Baby in Week Thirty-Eight
Your baby is now more than 6 pound in weight and is also more than 20 inches long. This may seem to feel very crowded. The placenta is also large now and it measures somewhere between 6 to 8 inches and is also 1 inch thick. The placenta adds another pound to your weight.
Your baby is big now and it needs to keep its elbows and its knees folded or flexed. However, it will still wiggle and bump and this will let you keep a track of its movements. Its heart rate will be 120 to 160 beats per minute at the time of labor and delivery. You will also be able to notice its hiccups now. This happens when your baby inhales the amniotic fluid as it practices to breathe. The hiccups can be vigorous and your partner may be able to see it when your clothes start to move. Your baby’s lungs are fully mature now.
The umbilical cord is around 12 to 39 inches long but will most likely be around 21 inches. It will look like a twisted telephone cord which is moist and white. This attaches the baby to your placenta. In the final weeks of your pregnancy, you will start experiencing contractions if you have still not started to feel them. Doctors still haven’t been able to figure out what causes these contractions. However, you will have many contractions in the weeks and days before you go into labor.
The contractions do not necessarily mean that you will deliver soon. Just like the baby’s body takes time to mature and develop and gets ready to be born, similarly, your body also gets ready and practices for labor. You may start to feel some tightening in the uterus that comes and goes off. It could also be a little painful. Next time when you feel the abdomen getting tight then place your palm on top of the baby’s bump. It will become hard and then soft within some seconds. This will feel like the flexing bicep. When you bring the clenched fist towards the shoulder, the muscle in your arm balls hardens. This is similar to your uterus which is also a large muscle. When the uterus contracts or flexes than it hardens. When it relaxes then it becomes elastic again and thus becomes soft. These contractions that happen in the beginning stages are called Braxton hicks contractions. These do not take you into labor but prepares your body for delivery. The sonographer will be able to see those contractions in ultrasound when the uterine wall starts to thicken. The doctor will also be able to know if you are having contractions seeing your facial expressions.
When you get Braxton hicks contractions then sit down and put your feet up and have glass or two of water. The contractions will slowly subside. The contractions that induce labor do not stop even after one or two hours. Instead, they become long and strong and also start coming more regularly. As the contractions become frequent and increase in intensity, you will notice that you are not able to speak. Once the contractions keep coming at regular intervals and last one minute every five minutes then you need to call your doctor immediately.
If your doctor has questions to know whether you are or not in labor then she may want you to visit her at her office to evaluate your condition. Or she could tell you to get your bag and reach the hospital immediately.