Your Pregnancy: Week 38


Welcome to week 38

Are you experiencing an irresistible urge to clear out and clean up? This is the time many mums-to-be find their 'nesting instinct' kicks in and they start preparing the home for the new arrival.

Try not to be obsessive about making everything clinically sterile: it's important your home is clean, yes, but even newborn babies need to be exposed to normal, everyday germs in order to build an efficient immune system.

Inside story

Your baby probably won't have grown in length since last week, but will now weigh around 3.1kg (about 7lb) from crown to rump. The overall length at this stage, from head to toe, is about 47cm (almost 19in).

Hair and nails are all continuing to grow: most newborns have fairly long nails, and many have beautiful long eyelashes.

Although the downy hair called lanugo that's been protecting your baby's skin will continue to shed, the waxy, moisturising coating called vernix remains, and this will be visible immediately after delivery.

Vernix is thought to have antibacterial properties and also serves to facilitate your baby's passage through the birth canal.

On the outside

The top of your uterus this week is around 18cm (just over 7in) from your belly button and about 38cm (just over 15in) from your pubic bone.

You will be relieved to hear most women don't grow much more after this week. It's amazing to think that your womb has taken all this time to expand and rise up, it'll have pretty much returned to its pre-pregnancy size by the six-week check you'll have after the birth.

Things to think about

If you have any children already and you haven't yet made arrangements for them to be looked after while you're having your baby, start making plans.

If you're having a home birth, you may want them with you, but you should also have contingency arrangements in place in case things don't go quite to plan and you're admitted to hospital.

Try to keep arrangements flexible, and try and find a trusted and loving adult to look after your kids for you.

They may be experiencing all sorts of different emotions, from nervousness about their place in the family when the new baby comes to excitement about being a big brother or sister, or even anxiety about your welfare. They need to be with someone they can share their feelings with and take comfort from.

Make arrangements for pets to be cared for too. With a hospital birth, you and your partner might be there for more than 24 hours.