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38 Weeks Pregnant
Updated on
June 9, 2023

38 Weeks Pregnant

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38 Weeks Pregnant.
38 Weeks Pregnant

At 38 weeks pregnant, and both you and baby are preparing for labor, and you may be feeling a wide range of emotions. You probably have some questions about what to expect during labor and from your hospital stay. We’re here to help. Read on for a comprehensive look at week 38 of pregnancy.

How Many Months Is 37 Weeks Pregnant?

38 weeks pregnant in months is nine months pregnant, which is part of the third trimester of pregnancy.

Your Baby at 38 Weeks

Full term is just around the corner! Your baby’s brains and lungs are continuing to develop, but other organs are pretty much set. Find out what’s happening with your baby at 38 weeks.

  • Almost there: Your pregnancy will hit full term next week (you’re so close), which means your baby’s brain and lungs are just about ready to fully function on the outside. Fun fact: baby’s brain and lungs are the only major organs that continue to develop into childhood and beyond. All their other internal systems are good to go.
  • Voice: Your baby’s vocal cords have fully developed so they can be ready to communicate with you once they’re born (like those first cries when they come out!).
  • Big head: Babies are known for their adorably huge heads, which are a result of all the brain power baby develops in utero. At this point your baby’s head has about the same circumference as their abdomen.

How Big Is Baby at 38 Weeks?

Your baby is 19.6 inches long and weighs about 6.8 pounds this week. That’s about the size of a bowling pin.

💛 Congratulations 💛

Only two weeks left!

38 Weeks Pregnant Ultrasound


Fun Fact

By the end of pregnancy, your placenta produces more estrogen every day than in a year when you aren’t pregnant.

Your Body at 38 Weeks Pregnant

You’ve probably hit your total pregnancy weight gain goal for the 40 weeks, or you’re pretty darn close to it by now. You’re probably so over even talking about weight!

Your doctor or midwife will continue to check you out each week from now until you deliver. There may be some visual checks of your belly size (fundal height) to keep tabs on your baby and your amniotic fluid level. If anything seems like it needs an extra check, your doctor could order an ultrasound either by itself or as part of a biophysical profile, in which baby’s movement, breathing, muscle tone, heart rate and amniotic fluid are evaluated. While it might feel like just another test, a biophysical profile can help you and your care provider feel confident that your baby is doing well as they wait for their birthday. “A biophysical profile is like an insurance policy that the baby will be good for the next 5-7 days,” says Fadwah Hallaby, a nurse midwife at Midwife360.

38 Weeks Pregnant Symptoms

With the birth of your baby coming so soon, you may find yourself experiencing a wide range of emotions—from excitement to anxiety—as well as physical strains. Here’s what you may be experiencing at 38 weeks pregnant.


At this stage in your pregnancy, mild swelling is very common. But if you experience sudden swelling in your hands, feet, ankles and/or face, call your healthcare provider because it could be a sign of preeclampsia, a serious pregnancy condition. If you’re dealing with normal, mild swelling, taking some time to take care of you can help. “To start, drink plenty of water, decrease long periods of standing, elevate your legs, reduce your salt intake and wear compression socks,”says Venus Standard, a nurse midwife and assistant professor at the University of North Carolina School of Medicine. You can also try relaxing in a bath, going swimming and making sure you’re keeping your diet as rich and varied as you can.


Anxiety is also normal in late pregnancy and postpartum. Sometimes your brain feels like it’s running in overdrive, so much so that you may feel stressed or have trouble sleeping. Find an understanding friend or two to talk to about what you’re feeling, and start a few habits (like drinking a favorite decaf tea or listening to a calming tune) that will help you unwind. If it feels serious, talk to your doctor about it.


You may be feeling Braxton Hicks contractions, a tightening or cramping feeling across your pregnant belly. For now, the contractions are sporadic, but when you’re in labor, they’ll happen with increasing frequency and intensity.

Back pain

A sore back is pretty standard when you’re 38 weeks pregnant. Your posture has changed significantly to accommodate your not-so-little passenger, and you’re carrying around extra weight. Be aware that back pain also can be a sign you’ll go into labor soon.


Feeling a little queasy? It could be due to the fact that baby’s crowding your digestive system. In some cases, tummy troubles can also be a sign of early labor.

Vaginal discharge

You might have an increase in regular discharge or you might notice the mucus plug comes out as your cervix starts to dilate in prep for delivery. A watery “discharge” could be amniotic fluid, so call your healthcare provider right away if that’s what you’re noticing.

Real Baby Bumps at 38 Weeks Pregnant

38 weeks pregnant belly @sabellas.littleworld

38 weeks 4 days pregnant @eleanorjadore

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38 weeks pregnant baby @kcruz012

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38 weeks pregnant belly baby girl @ptrainershonda

38 weeks pregnant baby position @keepdriving

Pregnancy Symptoms Coming up in Week 39

While some babies do come during the week 38, it’s wise to plan on still being pregnant next week. During week 39 your baby will be considered full term and you can expect to feel very, very pregnant. With minor swelling, fatigue and frequent urination, you’ll want to prioritize rest as much as possible.

Commonly Asked Questions About 38 Weeks Pregnant

As baby’s arrival approaches, you may have questions about the nuts and bolts of the whole process. What should you expect? What will your body do in labor? Let’s dive in.

How does your cervix change during labor?

One of the biggest signs of labor is changes to the cervix. During your late-pregnancy OB visits, your doctor will do pelvic exams to check how much your cervix is dilating and effacing, to get a sense of whether or not it’s prepping for delivery. So what exactly does that mean?

Dilation: Cervical dilation, or opening, needs to happen before you can birth your baby vaginally. Your cervix starts at zero centimeters, or completely closed, and as your uterus contracts during labor, it pulls the cervix open more and more until the opening is ten centimeters—about the size of a bagel. Even before you got pregnant, you probably heard “ten centimeters” as an important milestone in childbirth.

Effacing: While your cervix is dilating, it is also thinning, or effacing. Effacement is measured by a percentage, with 0% being completely firm and 100% being completely paper thin.

For a vaginal birth, your cervix will be ten centimeters dilated and 100% effaced. Having those measurements is usually the signal it’s safe to push!

When can I start breastfeeding?

This is pretty much the first thing that happens right after labor. You can even start breastfeeding while you’re delivering your placenta, if you want. So long as there are no health concerns, your baby will be placed on your chest and can start eating colostrum, or pre-milk right away. In the first day or two, baby will cry often to be fed colostrum; their sucking will encourage your breast milk to come in. Breastfeeding can be tricky and will take practice to get right. Ask the lactation consultants at your hospital for guidance.

What happens before we leave the hospital?


  • Blood test: A small heel prick is used to gather a blood sample right after birth. You might not even notice it. What they’re testing for varies from state to state, but includes many rare but detectable conditions. (Find your specific state screening list here.)
  • Hearing test: Usually the baby is taken to a separate room for a hearing test. This may be one of two types of tests: one that measures the hearing nerve’s response to sound, or one that measures the echo when specific sounds are played in baby’s ear.
  • Screening for congenital heart defects: For this, a sensor is placed on baby’s skin for a couple minutes to measure how much oxygen is in their blood.


Make sure you have baby’s name picked out, because you’ll fill out the form that will become your baby’s birth certificate and social security card before you leave.


If you’re having a boy and decide to have them circumcised, this can also happen before you leave the hospital, but be sure to read up on how this can impact your baby and your breastfeeding relationship before you make your choice.

When can baby and I go home?

If you have a vaginal delivery, you will probably be discharged within 48 hours, so long as all is well with you and your baby. If you have a c-section, you’ll be discharged within three to four days, so the hospital can watch to make sure you’re recovering well.

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Recommended Products for 38 Weeks Pregnant

It’s almost time. And just when you think you’ve done all there is to do, we have some last-minute suggestions.

  • It’s all about postpartum prep now. A sitz bath and a postpartum herb bath can help sooth you after you bring baby home.
  • Mesh undies are so 24-hours postpartum. Grab some disposable undies for the first week so you don’t have to worry about leaking on your bed sheets or adjusting your pad over and over.
  • While nothing beats rest, good nutrition, and lots of help when it comes to long-term postpartum healing, medicated witch hazel healing foam can come in handy when things are feeling stingy in the days right after you give birth.

38 Weeks Pregnant Checklist

  • Go to your week 38 prenatal visit.
  • Get your house cleaned and cross one more thing off of your list.
  • Get a low-maintenance haircut.
  • Finalize your childcare plan and transition timeline.
  • Check with your health insurance provider to see how to add your baby to your plan after you deliver.


  • Fadwah Hallaby, a nurse midwife at Midwife360
  • Venus Standard, a nurse midwife and assistant professor at the University of North Carolina School of Medicine

Babylist Staff


Babylist editors and writers are parents themselves and have years of experience writing and researching, coming from media outlets like Motherly, the SF Chronicle, the New York Times and the Daily Beast, and the fields of early childhood education and publishing. We research and test hundreds of products, survey real Babylist parents and consult reviews in order to recommend the best products and gear for your growing family.

This information is provided for educational and entertainment purposes only. We do not accept any responsibility for any liability, loss or risk, personal or otherwise, incurred as a consequence, directly or indirectly, from any information or advice contained here. Babylist may earn compensation from affiliate links in this content. Learn more about how we write Babylist content and review products, as well as the Babylist Health Advisory Board.