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38 weeks pregnant

When you are 38 weeks pregnant; why not try out techniques from your antenatal course and start to get things organised with your midwife in preparation for the big day?

Week by week stages of pregnancy: week 38

You are now in week 38 of your pregnancy, and the wait to meet your baby is nearing the end.  They are putting on weight in order to be able to control their body temperature outside the womb and to protect their organs.  They are also building up waste made out of amniotic fluid, blood and skin in their intestines. They will excrete this after they are born. Their skin tone is now closer to the natural colour they will be when they are born.

At 38 weeks pregnant, symptoms may include increased discharge, sudden bursts of energy and increased back pain. If notable signs of labour begin, you may want to get in contact with your midwife. 

If you are planning a homebirth your midwife will come by around now to drop off a pack containing the things she will need for the birth. She will bring the entonox (the gas and air) and pethidine on the day. She will also give you a list of things you should get ready for the day, but if you want to get a head start check out our home birth information. You should also have the number of the midwife, hospital or maternity unit to hand from now on ready for when you go into labour. 

By pregnancy week 38 it's a good idea to be in a position where you know what to expect from labour and childbirth, so consider doing a little bit of research. It is likely you are now waiting for your arrival, ticking off the days and you may both be feeling anxious as well as excited.  Practise what you learnt in your antenatal course for reassurance. Try out the birthing positions, breathing techniques and reflect on your birth plan.  It’s also a good time to talk to one another about how you are feeling. Labour, the birth, the early days and the big life changes ahead are an emotional time for mum and dads to be, it is important to talk about how you are feeling and support each other.

Don’t forget you should be keeping your employer warned of imminent paternity leave and be making arrangements for cover when the time comes. 

Further help and information

NCT's helpline offers practical and emotional support in all areas of pregnancy, birth and early parenthood: 0300 330 0700. We also offer antenatal courses which are a great way to find out more about birth, labour and life with a new baby.

Join in with NCT on Facebook and Twitter - it's a great way to make new friends and stay in touch with old ones. Or joint our community for new parents on Google+ where you can connect with other parents online who are experiencing similar things.