38 Weeks Pregnant: Your Pregnancy Week by Week

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By JustMommies staff

How are you holding up? You are at week thirty-eight now and we promise that your pregnancy will not last much longer. If you are like a lot of moms-to-be you are getting antsy and ready to have your baby. If your baby doesn’t make her appearance in the next couple weeks, you might start considering taking measures into your own hands. In this week’s newsletter we are going to be talking about just that. We will be discussing some natural ways to induce labor and give you some ideas to try. Talk to your doctor or midwife, of course, before you try any of the methods suggested in this newsletter. She might even have some other suggestions for you. We are also going to help you with your last minute nesting projects in this newsletter.

What is going on with mom & baby

Baby: Baby’s crown to rump length is around 36-37 cm (14.2-14.6 inches). Your baby weighs about 3200-3250 grams (7-7.2 pounds). She is still putting on fat which helps to regulate her body temperature and cushions her organs. Now that your baby is getting closer to being born, she has lost most of the lanugo and vernix that was covering her body.

Mom: You may be having intermittent contractions. This is very common during the last part of pregnancy. Now is a good time to practice breathing through contractions. Have your partner use a stop watch and practice timing contractions. If you start having regular contractions that are five minutes a part, call your practitioner right away as this is a good sign that you are in labor.

This week’s Pregnancy Checklist

Make a photocopy of your insurance card and any important medical information and put it in your hospital bag.
Make sure a copy of your birth plan is in your hospital bag.
Gather up a ziplock bag full of loose change and add it to your hospital bag.
Print out directions and a map to the hospital and put it in your hospital bag.
Program your phone or cell phone with the phone number of your hospital and doctor’s office.
Take a new belly picture for your scrapbook or journal.

Natural Methods for Inducing Labor

In the next couple weeks your baby should be arriving. As you get closer to the end of your pregnancy you may be thinking about ways to induce labor on your own. Before you use any of the methods in this newsletter please make sure that you are full term and that you have discussed this with your doctor or midwife.

  • Walking- Walking is one of the safest ways to induce labor. Walking uses gravity to help aid baby’s decent into the birth canal. It may also put extra pressure on the cervix to help ripen it and prepare your body for the birth of your baby.
  • Sex- Sex is another method of inducing labor. It helps in two ways. A female orgasm often causes contractions of the uterus. The other reason sexual intercourse may help induce labor is because semen contains prostaglandins. Prostaglandins help to ripen the cervix. In fact, if your labor is induced in the hospital you may be given a gel containing prostaglandins to help ripen your cervix.
  • Evening primrose oil - Evening primrose oil is thought to help soften and ripen the cervix. Evening primrose oil comes in a capsule that can be inserted vaginally just before bed or can be used during perineal massage.
  • Nipple stimulation - stimulating your nipples by manual stimulation or using a breast pump may bring on contractions. Nipple stimulation triggers the production of oxytocin, a hormone that produces contractions. (You may have heard of pitocin which is used during labor inductions. Pitocin is an artificial form of oxytocin). Note about nipple stimulation: Many doctors do not encourage using nipple stimulation because it may cause you to have very long and painful contractions that are not always tolerated well by your baby.
  • Castor Oil - Women have been using castor oil to bring on labor for generations. However, there is some debate over its effectiveness and safety. Castor oil is a laxative that causes intestinal cramping. The intestinal cramping is thought to spread and stimulate the uterus to contract. Talk to your doctor before using castor oil to induce labor.

What is Nesting?

Nesting is a term described for “preparing the nest” for your new arrival. Not every woman will experience the nesting urge but it is quite common during the end of pregnancy. As you start feeling labor approaching, you may start to feel more compelled to get everything done and have your house super clean and ready for your new baby. Nesting doesn’t only affect new moms to be, it also can affect dads. Your partner may find himself doing last minute projects around the house as well. If you are looking for some ideas on things to do to help prepare your nest we have included a few ideas below.

Cleaning the nest- You probably want to make sure the nest is super clean before baby arrives. After having your baby, you really don’t want to bring your new baby home to a messy house. Surface clean all the rooms of your house and then get the detail cleaning done. Not only will this make your house look better but all the extra activity might keep your mind off of thing and maybe even bring on some contractions. Some detail cleaning you might want to do: wipe down baseboards, clean off door knobs and light switches, clean and organize closets, or get the refrigerator and pantry super clean.

Preparing meals for the nest- It is really handy to have some convenient meals ready to go so that once baby is born you don’t have to worry about cooking. You can stock up on canned soups or other convenient meals. Or if you are really feeling energetic you can prepare ready-to-go freezer meals. These are terrific for new moms. You can make crock pot meals or aluminum foiled oven meals. These are very handy and can help make the postpartum period a little easier.

Making the nest safe for baby- Now is the perfect time to go through your house for potential hazzards and start baby-proofing your home. Check your car seat and make sure that it is installed safely. Make sure your smoke detector is working properly and has functional batteries in place.

Take care of others sharing the nest- Make sure that you have a plan for your pets and other children. When labor starts you don’t want to be rushing around trying to find a caretaker for them.

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