Pregnancy Weeks 37 & 38

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Your baby could arrive at any time–and it would not be considered 'early.' Your baby is now 'full-term,' which means he or she is likely to be big and mature enough to survive in the outside world. However, you may still have to wait a few weeks.

Pregnancy weeks 37&38

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Your Pregnancy Week 37

What is happening with your baby at pregnancy week 37?1,2

  • Your pregnancy is considered full-term when it reaches 37 weeks. Your baby is almost ready to be delivered, and you'll meet them in the coming weeks.
  • Meconium – the sticky green substance that will create your baby's first poo after delivery – is now present in your baby's gut (digestive system).
  • It could contain bits of lanugo (fine hair) that were covering your baby earlier in pregnancy.
     

How big is your baby?

Your baby is approximately the length of 2 cucumbers and the weight of 14 baked potatoes.3
 

Your Body1

  • If this is your first pregnancy, your baby moves down at 37 weeks and is ready to be born. When this happens, you may feel more at ease, and you'll probably notice increased pressure in your lower abdomen.
  • If this isn't your first pregnancy, the baby may wait until labor to move down.
  • It's common to experience some leakage from your nipples.
     

Your Pregnancy Week 38

What is happening with your baby when you are 38 weeks pregnant?4,5

  • In their bowels, your infant is storing some sticky green slime (meconium). This comprises everything they eat and drink while in the womb, including amniotic fluid and hair.
  • It will usually come out as the first feces after birth.
  • If your baby does a poo during labor, it could sign of distress, and your baby will need close monitoring.
     

How big is your baby?

  • Your baby is approximately the length of 3 carrots and the weight of 3 butternut squash.4
     

Your Body5

  • Your bladder is very compressed because your baby is engaged in your pelvis, causing frequent bathroom visits.
     

Tips for Tips for making your pregnancy better

Symptoms that labor has started6

Know the signs

There are a number of signals that labor is about to begin, including:

  • tightening or contractions
  • When the mucous plug from your cervix (entrance to your womb, or uterus) falls away, it's called a "show."
  • backache
  • an urge to go to the bathroom brought on by your baby's head pressing against your intestines or your waters breaking
  • It can take a long time to get to the early (latent) stage of labor.
     

If you have any of the following symptoms, contact your doctor or maternity unit:6

  • Your waters have broken.
  • you're experiencing vaginal bleeding
  • Your baby is not moving as much as normal.
     

References:

  1. NHS You and your baby at 37 weeks pregnant. Page last reviewed: 13.10.2021. Available at: https://www.nhs.uk/pregnancy/week-by-week/28-to-40-plus/37-weeks/  Last accessed at: 21.11.2021
  2. Nemours KidsHealth. Parents: Week 37. Available at: https://kidshealth.org/en/parents/week37.html Last accessed at: 21.11.2021
  3. NHS. Start 4 life. Week-by-week guide to pregnancy. Available at: https://www.nhs.uk/start4life/pregnancy/week-by-week/3rd-trimester/week-37/#anchor-tabs Last accessed at: 21.11.2021
  4. NHS. Start 4 life. Week-by-week guide to pregnancy. Available at: https://www.nhs.uk/start4life/pregnancy/week-by-week/3rd-trimester/week-38/#anchor-tabs Last accessed at: 21.11.2021
  5. Nemours KidsHealth. Parents: Week 38. Available at: https://kidshealth.org/en/parents/week38.html Last accessed at: 21.11.2021
  6. NHS. Signs that labour has begun. Page last reviewed: 30 November 2020. Available at: https://www.nhs.uk/pregnancy/labour-and-birth/signs-of-labour/signs-that-labour-has-begun/. Last accessed at: 21.11.2021