Your Pregnancy Week 38

Reviewed by James Brann, MD
Learn about
your symptoms and changes during the 38th week of pregnancy.

Your Baby

During pregnancy week 38 your baby is rapidly closing in on 6.8 pounds and likely measures 19.6 inches or more. While your baby will likely continue to put on some weight in the upcoming weeks your baby may or may not increase in length as you continue your pregnancy.

Changes in Your Growing Baby

Your baby is still focusing quite a bit on weight gain. Shortly after delivery your baby's healthcare team will conduct what is called an Apgar test. This test is often something new parents obsess about, so it is worth covering briefly.

By 38 weeks pregnant you should be familiar with the Apgar Score Test. The Apgar test is nothing more than a measure of your baby's overall health and well being shortly after delivery. This score may help your doctor evaluate your baby's health some time after delivery or make important decisions regarding your baby's care immediately after delivery.
The Apgar evaluations is given twice, once a minute after birth and again after five minutes have passed. Here are some items your healthcare provider looks for when scoring:
  • The color of your baby's skin (Pink or bluish for example).
  • The rate of respiration of your baby.
  • Your baby's heart rate.
  • Your newborn baby's muscle tone and reflexes.
  • Your baby's overall reflexes.
The one minute test can give your doctors some idea of how well your baby faired during delivery. The next test is a sign of how well your baby is adapting to life outside the womb. A low score does not necessarily mean something is wrong with your baby, but may mean that your baby should be observed for a short period of time or may need additional tests to ensure that your newborn baby is doing well after delivery.

Your baby's score is based on several parameters. Here are some guidelines for determining your baby's Apgar:
  • Color - Pink babies are generally assigned a total score of 2 points, while 1 point is assigned babies close to pink and 0 assigned to babies that are blue or pale.
  • Respiration - Your baby is assigned 2 points if she comes out crying strongly, 1 point if your baby is crying but weakly and 0 points if your baby is not crying at all.
  • Heart Rate - Your baby is assigned 2 points if her heart rate is more than 100 beats every minutes, 1 point if her heartbeat is under 100 beats each minute and 0 points for no heartbeat.
  • Muscle Tone - Your baby is assigned 2 points if moving about vigorously, 1 point if your baby is flexing her limbs gently and 0 points if she remains still.
  • Reflexes - During the reflex test your baby will get 2 points for crying during the test, 1 point if your baby fusses briefly and 0 points if she remains silent during her exam.

Most babies will receive a score ranging from 8 to 10 meaning your baby is in good shape.

Your Body's Development

You are probably larger than ever before, though your belly may be sitting a bit lower than before. This will definitely be the case if your baby has dropped into your pelvis.

Changes in Your Body

You may start worrying again about the labor process. Keep in mind that you could start labor at any point in time. You should be ready to go armed with your hospital bag. What will you need to take with you? That varies from woman to woman. Some good items to have however may include a robe, slippers or warm socks, lip balm, a change of clothes, personal toiletries, a magazine and nursing pads.

Video: What to Expect from the 38th Week of Pregnancy



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