38 weeks pregnant mom in bed

Congratulations! At 38 weeks pregnant, you’re ready to pop. Which means you're very close to meeting your little one! The long wait is almost over as you get ready to say hello to your baby, very soon! Let's talk about how they’re doing and what you can expect as you get ready to welcome them into your arms! 

By now, your belly might be feeling pretty heavy, and those lower back aches may begin to bother you. Feeling a mix of anxiety and excitement? It's totally normal and such a thrilling time!

To ease your mind and get you ready, let’s dive into what’s happening at 38 weeks pregnant,  learn more about what to expect for yourself and your pregnancy. In this article we discuss: 

38 weeks pregnant mom sits on couch

At 38 weeks pregnant, mothers can expect a mix of emotions, from eagerness to meet their little one to potential anxiety about labor and delivery. In this crucial final stretch, it's essential to stay attuned to your body's signals, follow your healthcare provider's guidance, and make the necessary preparations for the impending arrival of your bundle of joy. Here’s what you should know about your baby at this time.

What’s Happening This Week?

Your baby is getting plumper as more fat is deposited under the skin. The reproductive system is now fully formed. If you are having a boy, the testes have probably descended into the scrotum as this occurs around week 32 to 36.1 Among girls, the uterine circumference increases from about 20 mm to just under 60 mm, and the width increases from less than 10mm to just over 20mm between weeks 19 and 38.2

Your little one has tiny toenails now, and the brain continues to grow to the point where it weighs 14 ounces (nearly 400 grams).3

On average, a baby weighs about 6.75 pounds (3.1 kilogrammes) and measures 19.6 inches (49.5 centimetres) from head to toe.4

Help Your Baby Develop at Week 38 of Pregnancy

Your baby’s brain has grown so much that it weighs 14 ounces by week 38.5 Continue to support your baby’s brain development by eating a healthy, balanced diet.

What Can You Expect at 38 Weeks Pregnant?

You may experience diarrhoea in the last few weeks of pregnancy. It’s a normal indication that labor is coming.6 

Here’s what you can do to ensure the continued health of your pregnancy:

  • Drink plenty of water to replace the fluids you lose from any watery bowel movements.

  • See your doctor. While most people will recover from diarrhoea after a few days, you may need to get a prescription if it doesn’t clear up.

You might also start to feel “the lightning crotch,” a sharp and painful sensation in the vaginal area, or increased pressure in the pelvic area.7 It occurs as your baby bumps into sensitive nerves in your pelvis.8 Don’t be alarmed when it happens. It’s not unusual to experience such a symptom at this stage of your pregnancy. Stay off your feet as much as possible to help relieve the pressure and discomfort.

What Can You Do to Support Your Pregnancy?

It’s true that your baby’s brain develops rapidly during pregnancy. But it’s still not fully developed, even after they are born. Your baby’s brain at birth is about 25% of an adult’s brain weight and will continue to grow to about 75% in the first 2 years.9 8

Continue to eat a healthy, balanced diet rich in DHA and other essential nutrients like iron, zinc, copper, choline, and folate to support a baby’s brain development.10 Taking care of your baby’s brain development effectively supports their IQ and EQ development, which eventually helps your child become future-ready.

Talk to your partner or close family members about how present and engaged you want them to be during and after the birth. The more they participate, the stronger the attachment they build with the baby.

At 38 weeks pregnant, you’re ready to deliver soon! Do you have questions? Get free advice, promotions, and support from our community at the Enfamama A+ Club  Try out the newest products and FREE samples here!

Frequently Asked Questions

You’re probably full of anticipation for the arrival of your little one, while also feeling some anxiety about the unknown. Here, we gather a few commonly asked questions from mothers who have gone through the same experience.

1. When is the ideal week for my baby to be born?11

A pregnancy is considered full-term at 39 weeks, but women may give birth sooner or later than the scheduled term. Doctors, typically, encourage staying pregnant until the 39th or 40th week or advise to wait for labor to occur naturally, unless they foresee complications. Some parents choose to induce labor or schedule a C-section birth earlier at the hospital. However, there are risks to these options, which may affect a baby’s health. It’s best to consult your doctor to decide what’s best for you and your baby’s health.

2. What 38 weeks pregnant signs of labor should I look out for?12

Some women may deliver when they are 38 weeks pregnant, so it’s important to be tuned to your baby and your body. Watch out for true signs of labor, which include:

  1. contractions that occur about four times in an hour that gradually increase in frequency and intensity,

  2. growing pain and pressure in your vagina,

  3. and more painful lower back pain.

Head to the hospital if you feel any of these symptoms as you may be in labor.

3. When should I go to the hospital?12

Aside from heading to the hospital when you suspect you are in labor and ready to deliver, you should seek immediate medical attention if you feel reduced baby movements and /or experience bleeding, rough breathing, swelling, vision changes, and headaches.


Related articles:

  1. Choosing the Best Hospital in Singapore to Deliver Your Baby

  2. 7 tips for best baby naming in Singapore

  3. Baby Nursery Room Checklist: Preparing Baby’s Nursery

  4. Pregnancy Exercises That Ease Your Labour


Expert Resource:
Dr. Veena Angle
MBBS, MD (Medical Doctor),
CMPP (Certified Medical Publication Professional), Singapore

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  2. Uterus Development. Retrieved 29 May 2017 from, https://embryology.med.unsw.edu.au/embryology/index.php/Uterus_Developme...

  3. Fetal development: The 3rd trimester. (2014, July 11). Retrieved April 12, 2017, from, http://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/pregnancy-week-by-week/in-de...

  4. Curtis, G. B., & Schuler, J. (2016). Your Pregnancy Week by Week (8th ed.). Philadelphia, PA: Da Capo Press.

  5. Stage of Fetal Development- Third Trimester, Louisiana Department of Health. Retrieved February 2, 2024, https://ldh.la.gov/page/stages-of-fetal-development-third-trimester

  6. Signs and Symptoms of Labour. (n.d.). Retrieved April 16, 2017 from, http://www.nhsdirect.wales.nhs.uk/doityourself/pregnancy/SignsAndStagesL...

  7. Brusie, C. (2016, February 29). How to Identify Lightning Crotch Pain During Pregnancy. Retrieved April 16, 2017 from, http://www.healthline.com/health/pregnancy/lightning-crotch#1

  8. Rost, C. (2007). Relieving Pelvic Pain During and After Pregnancy: How Women Can Heal Chronic Pelvic Instability. Alameda: Hunter House.

  9. Dobbing J, Sands J. Quantitative growth and development of human brain. Arch Dis Child. 1973; 48: 757-767.

  10. Georgieff, M. K. (2007) Nutrition and the developing brain: nutrient priorities and measurement. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 85(2): 614S-620S.

  11. Healthy pregnancy, Retrieved January 11, 2023 from, https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/pregnancy-week-by-week/basics/healthy-pregnancy/hlv-20049471

  12. Are you in labor, Retrieved January 11, 2023, from, https://kidshealth.org/en/parents/true-labor.html