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Week 38

How Big is the Baby at 38 Weeks Pregnant?

Your baby is rapidly approaching 7 pounds during pregnancy at 38 weeks. The length will remain about 21 inches from now until birth even though you continue to develop during your pregnancy week by week.

Your Baby's Growth and Development

Your baby is still focusing on putting on weight during pregnancy 38 weeks. Did you know that after delivery your healthcare team will conduct an Apgar test on your baby? Many parents become obsessed with the Apgar score their child receives after birth, so it is worth a mention or two.

The Apgar score is simply a way that your doctor can evaluate the overall condition your newborn is in just a few minutes after birth. This score may sometimes be helpful for evaluations that occur later.

An Apgar evaluation is given one minute after birth and then again after five minutes of birth. Your doctor or nurse will make note of the following things:
 
  • Your baby's color after birth (bluish or pink).
  • Your baby's respiration.
  • Your newborn baby's heart rate.
  • Your newborn baby's muscle tone.
  • Your baby's reflexes

The one minute score reflects how easily your baby handled the birthing process. A high score generally indicates that your baby will do well in the postpartum period. A low score might indicate that your baby requires observation or further tests to make sure that everything is ok.
The second test is given to measure how well your baby is handling his new environment outside the womb.

Your baby is given a score based on the following parameters:

  • Color - 2 points for pink body, 1 point for close to pink with blue arms or legs, 0 for blue or pale coloring all over.
  • Respiratory - 2 points for a strong cry, 1 point for a slow or weak cry, 0 points for no crying.
  • Heart Rate - 2 points for heart rate greater than 100 beats per minute, 1 point for a heartbeat under 100 beats per minute, 0 points for no heart beat.
  • Muscle Tone-- 2 points for vigorous movement, 1 point for small flexing of the limbs, 0 points if the baby is still.
  • Reflexes - 2 points if your baby cries during the test, 1 if your baby makes a little bit of a fuss, 0 if your baby doesn't make any noise during this exam.
Generally a high score, or a score between 8 and 10, means that your baby is in very good condition. A lower score might necessitate some further testing.

Your Growth and Development

Your belly size will remain pretty constant from 38 weeks pregnant and beyond, though you may notice your belly appears lower than before, particularly if the baby has dropped a bit further into your pelvis.

Changes in You

At 38 weeks pregnant you may start to worry about the labor and delivery process. If you haven't already, you should visit the birthing facility you plan to deliver your baby at so you have time to find out where everything is.
Have you packed your hospital bag by pregnancy week 38? If you haven't you better sit down and do it today.

You could go into spontaneous labor at any point in time as you continue your pregnancy week by week.

Not sure what to pack around pregnancy week 38? There are many schools of thought regarding the hospital bag, but here are some of the more common items that moms to be pack:

  •  Robe or other cover up if you plan on walking during labor.
  •  Slippers or warm socks.
  •  Lotion or massage oil.
  •  Lip balm (your lips will get very chapped during the pushing phase).
  •  Snacks or drinks (in case you deliver at 3 am and find yourself ravenous).
  •  Watch with a second hand (to time your contractions).
  •  Camera and video recorder so you can stop time for a few moments while delivering.
  •  Magazine or book to read.
  •  Personal toiletries such as a brush and toothbrush.
  •  Nursing bras.
  •  Breast pads.
  •  Change of clothes to go home in.

You might also consider packing a change of clothes for your partner sometime during pregnancy weeks 38 and beyond. When packing the clothes you plan to go home in, be sure you pack something that is the right size. You will need to bring clothes that fit you when you were about five months pregnant, as you will not magically lose all the weight you gained simply by giving birth. Your belly will still be a bit round for a while after delivery.















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