Pregnancy week 38 – Hang in there, baby!



Gearing up for breastfeeding
Welcome to week 38 of your pregnancy. You're almost finished with your final trimester, and boy, are you hanging in there, baby!

Your body sure is feeling the pressure in these final weeks, because it knows instinctively what's in store come D-day, or the moment when you finally get to set your sights on the baby boy or girl you've been spending so much time with all these months.

Your breasts are really ramping up their production of milk, and you may notice colostrum, a thin, yellowish liquid that's secreted before milk, appearing inside your shirts and bras.
This is completely normal, even if it can be unsettling to wake up to at times. The good news is that colostrum is full of helpful antibodies that will keep your baby growing strong – the bad news is, unless you're wearing nursing pads, it may ruin some of your best maternity clothes!


From stalk of Swiss chard to pumpkin
Okay, mama, it's getting down to the wire now. With just a few weeks left in your pregnancy, your little guy or gal – who, last week, was the size of a stalk of Swiss chard – is now between 18.9 to 20.9 inches long and weighs between 6.2 and 9.2 pounds. Your little one is sitting low and heavy on your pelvis these days, and it's very likely that even if you can't visualize your baby as a pumpkin, he or she sure feels like one!

Your adorable child-to-be could have up to an inch of hair on his or her head, which is going to be soft to the touch once your little one is outside the womb and curled up in your arms. The vernix caseosa, which is a white, mucus-like layer that settles over a baby's skin, will begin to shed this week, which will be plenty good for you, since that goo may leave your first baby shots looking less than cuddly.

Over the last few weeks, your baby's intestines have accumulated meconium, a black excrement that has been backed up for some time. This substance will continue to stay inside your baby until after birth, and when all of that comes out – it will definitely seem like your baby has been busy. You'd better have a diaper ready!

Speaking of things that are going to be out of control once your baby arrives, you should keep a nail clipper handy, because the nails on your baby's fingers could grow to be longer than his or her digits by the time of the delivery. This may not be something you take care of right away, but you definitely want to do your best to trim your little one's talons before long, since he or she may end up scratching up some delicate skin.


Stock your freezer
During week 38 of your pregnancy, it's likely that you're feeling as big as a house and, in general, very uncomfortable.

This can make even the simple act of shuffling to and from the kitchen seem like a prelude to the labor you'll be experiencing in just a few weeks' time, so chances are you're not cooking up gourmet dishes for yourself and doing all that you can to live up your final few weeks of independence before the baby comes.

And if you're like most soon-to-be moms, the glamor of pregnancy has long since worn off. Visions of the flexible, svelte and energetic body you once had are likely swirling in your head. So when you're not pregnant, you'll finally have no excuses to move around, prepare great meals and get back to your pre-baby rituals, right? Wrong.

In addition to the many ways that having a baby can transform your attitude and schedule, it can also leave you strapped for free time, even in your kitchen! You don't want to be up late at night with the baby and worrying about what to eat if you haven't picked up any quick meals on the go, so you should take the next few weeks to stock your freezer with everything you might need to eat in a hurry.

Consider freezing everything in sight, and we don't just mean TV dinners. Soups, casseroles, stews and other hearty dishes can be a silver lining in the stressful weeks to follow after your baby comes home. If you're not feeling up to the challenge because of pregnancy, ask your mother or mother-in-law to head over and help. These maternal figures in your life are sure to love the opportunity to give their assistance before the baby arrives, and it will make your life so much easier later on!

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