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38 weeks pregnant

Your baby at 38 weeks

Your baby is the length of a head of rhubarb.

Any day now

Your baby is now considered full-term, even though your official due date is still two weeks away. Eighty-five per cent of babies are born within two weeks of their due date, so you'll probably give birth at some point in the next four weeks.

Surface changes

Your baby is shedding lanugo, the fine hair that's covered the body for months. He or she may have some of it left on the shoulders, forehead and neck at birth. Baby is also losing vernix, the creamy waxy substance that's protected the skin from amniotic fluid.

Waste management

So what happens to the cast-off vernix and lanugo? Some of it ends up in your baby's intestines where it becomes part of the meconium. Meconium is the greenish-black, tarry substance that will make up your baby's first bowel movement after birth. It also consists of dead cells, amniotic fluid and waste products from your baby's liver, pancreas and gallbladder.

Applying the brakes

Your little one's growth rate may be slowing down, but he or she is still making strides. Baby is  probably closing in on 49.5 to 50.8 cm (19.5 to 20 inches) in length and nearing 3.2 kg (7 lb).

Your pregnancy at 38 weeks

Water works

As your baby grows, he or she puts more and more pressure on your bladder. Despite it being squashed flat, you should keep drinking water to stay hydrated.

Get into position

It's time to go over your notes from childbirth class and think about which labour positions you'd prefer. Whether standing, on all fours or sitting in a rocking chair, it's helpful to practise the different positions at home before the big day arrives.

The safe ride home

You need to install a rear-facing car seat so you can safely (and legally) transport your baby home from the hospital. Remember that only 5 per cent of babies are born on their due date, so it's best to get this done well before that time.

Did you know?

Your baby may be moving down (“dropping” or “engaging”) into your pelvis now to get ready for birth. The good news is that you’ll be able to breathe more easily; the “bad” news is that the baby will be lower in your pelvis and pressing against your bladder, so you’ll have more frequent visits to the loo!

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