With 38 weeks in the books, month 9 of pregnancy is about halfway done.

Your baby's lungs are stronger and she's getting ready to announce her entrance into the world.

It may come sooner than you think, especially if you experience a heads-up in the form of your mucus plug or bloody show.

Your Baby at Week 38

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At about seven pounds and 21 inches long on average, your bun in the oven is now a fully cooked loaf of bread. He’s still got some work ahead of him, though, before his big debut. He’ll lose the vernix — the waxy coating that’s been protecting his fragile fetal skin from amniotic fluid — and he’ll shed any remaining lanugo — the fine hair that was temporarily covering his body.

Wondering where it all goes? Once the vernix and lanugo are shed into the surrounding amniotic fluid your baby ingests them along with other waste products such as bile, urine, and old cells. These all percolate in those teeny intestines, ultimately winding up in his diaper as the very first, very dark green, and very sticky poop known as meconium. Might not be a tasty first meal, but it’s pretty efficient!

Also gearing up for the big day are your baby’s lungs… now fully mature, but still producing surfactant in large quantities to ensure that the transition from watery womb to wondrous world is a smooth one. Your little diver’s been practicing his breathing moves underwater for months and he’s just about ready to try the real thing.

As baby prepares for life in on the outside, the placenta — his lifeline in this underwater world — starts to slowly deteriorate. Not to worry — it still has plenty of life left to sustain your little one until the big day.

At a Glance

I see you!
Your baby’s eyes right now are blue, gray or brown, but once they’re exposed to light, they may change color or shade. By the time your baby turns 1, you’ll know their true color.
Shedding hair
The lanugo, the fine downy hair that covered your little one's body for warmth, is falling off in preparation for delivery.
Ready to cry
Your baby’s lungs have strengthened and the vocal cords have developed, which means she’s ready to communicate through wails and cries.

38 weeks pregnant is how many months?

If you're 38 weeks pregnant, you're in month 9 of your pregnancy. Only a few weeks left to go! Still have questions? Here's some more information on how weeks, months and trimesters are broken down in pregnancy.

How big is my baby at 38 weeks? 

Your little one isn't quite so little anymore, weighing about 7 pounds and measuring 20 inches in length, give or take an inch or two. Only two more weeks — four max — before your baby makes her appearance!

Baby's preparing for birth

At 38 weeks pregnant, all systems are almost go! As you prepare for baby's ETA, she's getting ready too, big-time, and continues to shed vernix and lanugo. 

Your baby is also swallowing amniotic fluid, some of which winds up in her intestines, where it — along with other shed cells, bile and waste products — will turn into your baby's first bowel movement (meconium) and perhaps your first diaper change.

Her lungs are still maturing and producing more and more surfactant, a substance that prevents the air sacs in the lungs from sticking to each other once she starts to breathe.

Most other changes this week are small but important: She's continuing to add fat and fine-tune her brain and nervous system — that way, she can deal with all the stimulation that awaits her once she makes her entrance into the world.

Your Body at Week 38

38 Weeks Pregnant

The final countdown

Two weeks and counting — unless, of course, your little bean decides to make a late entrance. Just as your baby is preparing for life outside the womb, at 38 weeks pregnant, your body is tending to its own final touches before the big day.

Some you're aware of, like your baby dropping into your pelvis — easier breathing, more pelvic pressure — and others you're probably not, like cervical dilation and effacement.


While you're waiting for your baby to arrive, think of these last weeks as a dress rehearsal for life with your new arrival. Sleepless nights, a little anxiety and leaky breasts.

Huh? Leaky breasts? Yes, it's true: Many pregnant women find that they start leaking colostrum —  a thin, yellowish liquid that's the precursor to breast milk — sometime in the third trimester.

Full of antibodies that protect your newborn, it has more protein and less fat and sugar, which is better for baby's digestive system than the milk that arrives later. If you are leaking colostrum, you may want to consider wearing nursing pads in your bra to protect your clothes — and get used to it, since this is just foreshadowing of what's to come.

Not all women experience it, though. If not, no need to fret — your breasts are still producing colostrum for your baby when the time comes if you plan to breastfeed.

Pregnancy Symptoms Week 38

More frequent urination
Mucus plug
Bloody show
Itchy belly
Edema (swelling in feet and ankles)
Nesting instinct
Leaky breasts
Braxton Hicks contractions

Tips for You This Week

Prepare postpartum meals

Have visions of yourself, newly delivered domestic goddess, whipping up gourmet meals in those postpartum weeks? Dream on. Cooking will be the last thing on your mind or your to-do list during those first few weeks — or even months — after delivery.

To avoid eating cereal for dinner every night, plan ahead. Stock your freezer now with individually packaged, simple heat-and-serve options that you can get on the table in a flash. Label carefully, so you won't be left with UFOs (unidentified frozen objects).

Good candidates for the freezer include hearty soups, stews, casseroles and mini meatloaves. Or if you love to bake, stash away several trays of bran muffins — trust us, they'll come in handy. Now’s also the time to find some good takeout spots, if you haven’t already.

Double-check your bag

Make sure all the items you stashed in your hospital bag still fit you. The PJs you bought at 30 weeks may now be too snug. And do you still like the snacks you packed?

Go for a walk

Walking is easy on your knees and ankles, which makes it one of the best exercises during pregnancy.

And there's another benefit to walking — though at this point, it might be better termed "waddling." The side-to-side sway of your hips during walking…or waddling…may ease your baby's head into your pelvis, giving you a leg up on labor.

Speaking of labor, there are those who swear that a long walk can actually bring on contractions. So keep your sneaks handy as you near your due date — or round the corner past it.

Research distractions

Childbirth education programs generally teach you to cope with labor discomfort by using distraction techniques.

Relaxation, meditation and visualization — like imagining your cervix is blooming like a flower (dilating, that is) — are often useful between contractions, whereas breathing exercises can help during them.

Some people are relaxed and preoccupied by music — anything from opera to hard rock, or whatever gets your groove on and your mind off the pain — and others by watching TV or a movie, or playing a game on their phone.

Staying rested, relaxed and positive will help you stay more comfortable. Tell yourself that the pain of a contraction is actually accomplishing something, as each one gets you closer to your baby. And remember, it won’t last forever!

Wear loose, cool clothing

Perpetually damp these days? Here come those hormones again. Their effects, along with increased blood flow to the skin and increased metabolism during pregnancy, can make you sweat like a linebacker.

To stay cool, wear loose, light clothing, drink plenty of water and crack some windows or crank up the AC. A sprinkle of talc-free powder can also absorb some moisture — plus it can help prevent a heat rash that could crop up underneath all that sweat.

Do squat exercises

Ever heard of women of yore squatting wherever they happened to be to give birth? Well, it turns out there's something to it: Squatting actually speeds labor because it increases the pelvic opening, providing more room for baby to descend.

Don't worry — this isn't to suggest that you take to the fields when those contractions start coming. But start working squats into your workout routine now so you'll be a stronger squatter when the time comes — in the hospital or birthing center, that is.

Sample some labor-inducing foods

By the time you're close to your due date, you're probably willing to do or eat anything to get to that million-dollar prize (your baby) more quickly. Unfortunately, at least as far as medical science is concerned, there is no miracle meal that will bring on labor.

In the category of "can't hurt, might help" are foods such as eggplant, balsamic vinegar and anything spicy. While there's no proof that any of these have labor-inducing qualities, plenty of people swear by them.

If your stomach can take the heat (late-pregnancy heartburn can be a killer!), there's no harm in trying, as long as the so-called magic foods don't crowd out healthy choices in your diet.

From the What to Expect editorial team and Heidi Murkoff, author of What to Expect When You're Expecting. What to Expect follows strict reporting guidelines and uses only credible sources, such as peer-reviewed studies, academic research institutions and highly respected health organizations. Learn how we keep our content accurate and up-to-date by reading our medical review and editorial policy.

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