At week 38 your baby is about the size of a pumpkin! Your sweet baby weighs around 7-9.2 pounds and measures around 20.5 inches. As growing continues little by little, your little one is fine tuning all of the skills needed for the outside world.
The lungs continue to breathe in amniotic fluid as they continue to practice and grow. They’re also producing more and more of a substance called surfactant, which will keep the tiny air sacs from sticking together once your child starts breathing air.
The amniotic fluid and cells that are swallowed will make up baby’s first bowel movement, known as meconium. Some of those cells will be the lanugo and vernix, that protective hair and fatty cell protective layer that your child is shedding, but don’t be surprised if baby still has some at delivery.
The brain and nervous system are being fine tuned to prepare for all of the stimuli that your child will encounter in the outside world. With so much to see and do your baby will want to take it all in, but you’ll see plenty of furrowed eyebrows as some of the new stimulus will be quite bewildering.
Baby has most likely dropped into your pelvis and is head down right on top of some pretty sensitive nerves. You might feel a sensation that has aptly been called “lightning crotch.” You’ll feel shooting pains up and down your legs and even inside your vagina. While this is no doubt weird – especially in public – it is pretty much a rite of passage into parenthood.
While baby is preparing for the big debut, your body is preparing for delivery as well. You may experience more of those Braxton-Hicks contractions while your body braces for the real deal. If you experience a blood-tinged vaginal discharge, commonly known as the bloody show, baby’s arrival will be very soon. You’ll likely have difficulty sleeping, swollen feet and ankles, and an itchy stretched out belly as baby spends the last of their days in your womb.
If you have the energy, this is the perfect time to prepare some plan-ahead meals. Stock your freezer with plenty of heat and serve options that you (or your partner) can whip up with ease. As much as you’d love to juggle a newborn baby, a clean house, and possibly even entertaining and caring for other kids, you’re going to be exhausted. You will relish a 3-minute shower by yourself (but don’t count on it). A little preparation will go a long way.
Don’t be afraid to ask for help either. As much as you’d love to flaunt your independence, it’ll pay off to accept a little help. There will be days when no one is available to watch the baby so you can get a couple more hours of sleep, so take it while you can. You’ll have plenty of time to show off your Super Mom status, so when family and friends offer, you should jump at the opportunity.
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