Pregnancy 38 weeks - Baby movement, Pain Labor Signs

Pregnancy 38 weeks - Symptoms, Baby movement, Back Pain, Labor Signs, and What to expect

At 38 weeks of pregnancy, your baby is considered to be full-term while your estimated due date is still two weeks away. The baby is ready to be born now. Most babies are born within two weeks of their due date. It might be possible that you're going to deliver your baby some time in the next four weeks. All the very best for a happy delivery. Be strong and confident. We're here with detailed information about pregnancy at 38 weeks. Read this article to know more about pregnancy at 38 weeks.

Pregnancy 38 weeks - Baby movement, Pain Labor Signs

38 weeks pregnant

At 38 weeks pregnant, the lanugo, fine downy hair that covered your baby's body for warmth starts falling off in preparation for delivery. But your baby still has a bit of vernix which protects your baby's skin from the amniotic fluid. The Baby's lungs are still maturing and producing more surfactant (A substance that prevents the air sacs in the lungs from sticking with each other once the baby starts to breathe). The baby's brain is still growing. All the other organs of the baby are now matured and fully functioning. After the baby is born, his/her first bowel movements will be a substance called Meconium which starts to build up in the baby's intestines while he's/she's still in the womb. Meconium is formed from waste materials such as Lanugo and dead skin cells. 

Pregnancy 38 weeks symptoms

When you are 38 weeks pregnant you may notice some of the symptoms which are very common at 38 weeks of pregnancy. Some of the most common pregnancy 38 weeks symptoms are described below :

Frequent urination

At 38 weeks as your baby grows and the baby's head drops down into the pelvis it puts more pressure on your bladder and gives it less space to store urine which is one of the main causes of frequent urination at this stage. The pregnancy hormone HCG (Human Chorionic Gonadotropin) increases the blood flow to your pelvic area and to your kidneys which is also one of the reasons for frequent urination at 38 weeks. But despite being frequent urination you have to drink plenty of water to keep yourself hydrated. Your body and your baby need a regular supply of fluids during pregnancy. Dehydration during pregnancy can also lead to Urinary Tract infections. To avoid all such problems keep yourself hydrated throughout your pregnancy.

Braxton Hicks Contractions

Braxton Hicks Contractions are the irregular and infrequent contraction that can be first felt during mid-pregnancy. As pregnancy progresses these contractions also increase in frequency and strength. When you get closer to your due date these practice contractions become more intense and frequent. These contractions start as an uncomfortable painless tightening at the top of the uterine muscles and spread downwards. They usually last long for a few seconds and can be subsided by changing positions. 

Itchy Belly or Butt

As your abdomen is expanding during pregnancy the skin of the belly also expands and it becomes moisture-deprived which leads to dry skin that causes itchiness. And if your butt is also expanding along with your belly then you'll feel itchiness in your butt too. Don't scratch your skin as it can cause more irritation. Apply moisturizer, Vitamin-E oil, or any other lotion which is suggested by your doctor. 

Edema (Swelling in Feet, Arms and Ankles)

Swelling in feet and ankles during pregnancy is known as Edema which is a very common symptom experienced by many pregnant women especially in the third trimester of pregnancy. When your body fluids accumulate in your tissues and increases to nurtures you and your baby it causes more pressure and increased blood flow of your growing uterus on the pelvic veins. This causes swelling in the ankles, feet, and arms during pregnancy. Weight gain during pregnancy is also a reason for swelling in the feet, arms, and ankles. To avoid swelling try to wear comfortable shoes or slippers. Avoid long periods of standing and sitting. Drink plenty of water and try to sleep on your left side. Also, do some pregnancy-appropriate exercises.  


Most pregnant women experience insomnia during pregnancy, especially in the third trimester. If you're also experiencing insomnia during pregnancy don't get worried it can't hurt you or your baby. Some of the factors such as pregnancy heartburn, leg cramping, back pain, frequent urination, feeling uncomfortable with the growing bump, and hormonal changes can cause trouble sleeping. Do some pregnancy appropriate exercises daily and avoid caffeine. Try to eat dinner earlier and make a bedtime routine. 

Mucous Plug

Mucous Plug is a sticky cork barrier that seals the cervix (The opening to the uterus) during pregnancy. It protects your baby from the outside world along with an amniotic sac while you are pregnant. When you lose your mucus plug it is a sign that your cervix is dilating or thinning to prepare your body for childbirth. 

Leaky Breasts

It might be possible that your breasts start leaking a thin and yellowish fluid which is called Colostrum at 38 weeks of pregnancy. Colostrum is the first milk your baby will get that contains more protein, less fat, and sugar.  It is full of antibodies that protect your child from germs and infections. It's easy for a baby to digest colostrum in the first few days after birth. If the flow of the colostrum is more then wear nursing pads inside your bra. If your breasts are not leaking colostrum yet then don't get worried. 

Pelvic Pain or Back pain

Your baby drops lower into your pelvis for delivery, as a result, you'll feel more pressure in your pelvis, bladder, and hips. Your body is also producing a hormone called Relaxin which is helpful in softening the muscles, ligaments, and joints in preparation for childbirth, as a result, causing back pain or pelvic pain especially when you get closer to your estimated due date. 


Nausea is a pregnancy symptom which is very common in the first trimester of pregnancy but some woman also experiences nausea at the last stage of their pregnancy. It can sometimes also be an early sign of labor. 

Nesting instinct

At 38 weeks of pregnancy, you may experience a change in your energy levels. Sometimes you may feel exhausted while some time full of energy. 

Pregnancy 38 weeks labor sign

Even though your estimated date is still a few weeks away but it might be possible that you may notice some signs of labor approaching. Some of the labor signs at 38 weeks of pregnancy are described below :

Losing Mucus Plug

Losing Mucus Plug is a sign that the cervix is softening and thinning for delivery. Your mucus plug always discharges before you deliver. To avoid infection never pull out your mucous plug. Some women lose their mucus plug weeks before labor begins while some lose it just before the labor starts. This process varies from person to person. 

Bloody show

Bloody show is a vaginal discharge tinged brown or pink with blood. When the blood vessels in the cervix rupture it begins to efface and dilate. It signifies that the cervix is now thinning and opening up for delivery. The process of Effacing and Dilating allows your baby to pass through your vagina. If you notice bloody show it means that labor is probably a few days away. 


Contractions are very normal in the last trimester. But remember if you are 38 weeks pregnant and your belly starts tightening at regular intervals and doesn't stop after changing the positions then you are likely in the early stage of labor. If you're experiencing regular and frequent painful contractions then it's time to go to the hospital.


If you notice a watery discharge from your vagina it means your amniotic sac has ruptured. Labor usually starts very soon after water-breaking. 


Diarrhea is a very common symptom experienced by most women in the last stage of pregnancy. It can be a sign that labor hormones are present in the body and labor may start very soon.  

38 weeks of pregnancy what to expect

At 38 weeks of pregnancy, get ready for a pelvic exam. By pelvic exam, the doctor will check your cervix for dilation and effacement. Keep drinking plenty of water to keep yourself hydrated. Your doctor will also check that the baby is in a head-down position and to see the baby's head has moved down into the pelvic chamber or not. 

Pregnancy 38 weeks baby movement

Usually, most women find their babies more active after eating a meal, drinking something, or doing any physical activity. At 38 weeks pregnant you feel your baby moving at least once per hour. Ideally, a pregnant woman feels at least 10 movements within two hours but it varies from person to person. If you are not feeling baby movements then drink something sweet such as juice. If you still don't feel any baby movements after drinking the juice then contact your health care provider. So, start counting your baby's movements and if you feel something wrong then contact your doctor. At 38 weeks of pregnancy, your baby continues to lay down fat and gain weight and there is not enough space to move around much. So, it might be possible that you feel your baby's movements may slow down from now on. However, if you notice there is a significant slowing down of your baby's movements then talk about it to your doctor. It might be possible that your doctor will perform an NST.

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A fetal non-stress test (NST) can be performed by your doctor during the last weeks of pregnancy. NST is a noninvasive test that is performed to measure the heart rate of the fetus in response to its own movements. It is generally performed if you notice that the baby is not moving as frequently as usual or you are overdue or if the placenta is not functioning adequately. During this test one belt is attached to the mother's abdomen to measure fetal heart rates and another belt to measure contractions.

Baby development at 38 weeks

At 38 weeks of pregnancy, your baby starts to shed some of that lanugo ( the fine downy hair which covered the baby's body for warmth) along with the vernix (the white coating on the skin) into the amniotic fluid for the preparation of delivery. At this stage, your baby weighs around seven pounds and around 19.6 inches long. Your baby is now like the size of a watermelon. 

38 weeks of the pregnancy is how many months?

If you are 38 weeks pregnant it means you are in the 9th month of your pregnancy. 

Hope you liked this article. Congratulations and best wishes for the new beginnings. May God bless you and your baby with good health and happiness. 

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Disclaimer: This content is intended for general information only and should not be used as the basis of patient treatment. The given content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, treatment, or any diagnosis. Always consult a doctor for more information. Our website doesn't claim responsibility for this information.

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