Week 38: Bumpin’ pumpkin!

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With just two weeks to go, you're nearly there! The realization that you're going to have a baby soon is setting in and you're more anxious than you've ever been to meet your little one. 

Although there isn't too much excitement in these last couple of weeks, the biggest things you need to look out for are signs of labor. Baby has been considered full term for a week now, so if you were to deliver there likely wouldn't be much of an issue. 

Your changing life

At 38 weeks your little tyke is sitting pretty low in your pelvis. Since the nerves down there are pretty sensitive, you may notice a tingling feeling running up and down your legs. This is also known as "lightning crotch" because of the shooting sensation. 

Braxton Hicks contractions are probably pretty normal at this point in your pregnancy and you know that they're merely signs of false labor. You may or may not have lost your mucus plug and experienced the bloody show, but if you have then you know for sure that labor is on its way. 

Another symptom you may be experiencing is an itchy belly. There's a chance that your belly will still pop out a little more between now and delivery, causing the skin to stretch, and when it stretches your skin can get a bit itchy. The same can happen for your breasts as they start to fill up with milk. You should do all that you can to prevent yourself from scratching, as this can lead to stretch​ marks. 

Sleepless nights are common now. There's a lot going on inside your uterus as baby drops and gets ready to make his or her big debut. Not only are you not sleeping, but your body is swelling up and your face, feet, ankles and hands are looking rather puffy.

Keep in mind that if your body swells too much, you experience severe headaches, have changes in vision or see flashing lights then you should give your doctor a call immediately as these are signs of preeclampsia. 

Weekly visits with your OB include pelvic exams. You're getting checked for dilation and effacement of the cervix, as well as the position of the baby. 

Your growing baby

Right now your baby is the size of a pumpkin. Can you believe you're actually carrying something around in your belly that's the size of a pumpkin?! 

This week, your little bundle of joy is weighing in between 6 and 9 pounds and is between 18 and 20 inches long. His or her body is a little more proportional now and the head is about the same circumference as their abdomen. 

Not all babies are born with hair, but if he or she does have some it's about 1 inch or so long already. In addition to growing hair, baby is shedding the vernix caseosa that's covered his or her skin in the womb. This white goo may also be present at birth, so don't be disturbed if you see some. 

Returning from the hospital

You may think that things are going to be easy when you return from the hospital since you and your partner will have a few weeks to enjoy your new roles as parents. What you don't quite know yet – but will quickly learn – is that you won't have that much time. 

Between getting up for nightly feedings every two hours, trying to sleep and keep the house tidy, eating will be the last thing on your mind. However, it's one of the most important things to do because you need it to produce enough milk to feed the baby. 

It's unrealistic to think you're going to be making three-course dinners every night, so prepare ahead of time and stock your freezer. When you cook ahead of time and make individually-packaged meals that just need to be heated up, it will make things much easier on you. Of course, we all know how good a hot, home-cooked meal tastes, but you can get a babysitter if you reach the point where you really need to go out to eat. 

Make sure you're labeling your meals carefully so you don't end up with something you can't identify. Some of the most delicious freezer meals include stews, casseroles, mini meat loaves and soups. If you want something hot, stock up on meat and vegetables like carrots, green beans and potatoes to make pot roast. It may also be a good idea to stock up on bakery items like packaged muffins and other snacks that you can grab and eat quickly. 

 Week 38: Bumpin pumpkin!

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