Your baby continues to grow this week and weighs about 6.8 pounds. His crown-to-rump length is still about 14 inches and total length is around 21 inches. Most women do not grow any larger during the last few weeks of their pregnancy. From the top of your uterus to your bellybutton is about 6.5 to 7 inches. You may be very uncomfortable now-you are almost there!
Just before real labor contractions start, you might notice false labor contractions. These should not be confused with Braxton-Hicks contractions. False labor contractions can be as strong as real labor contractions, but do not get closer and may go away if you get up to walk around. Contractions help dilate the cervix and encourage your water to break. Your baby could be born any day now, but only 5% of mothers deliver on their actual due date!
Over the last few weeks of pregnancy, your baby has been building up waste materials in the intestines. This waste material is known as meconium and is greenish-black in color. Meconium is made up of cells that your baby has shed, lanugo and other substances. Meconium is the first waste that your baby will pass after birth. However, sometimes babies pass meconium before delivery and are delivered with greenish-black waste covering their body. Special care must be taken when a baby passes meconium in the womb.
If your baby is a boy, his testes should have descended into his scrotum by this time. When your baby boy is born, both of his testes should be in place. Approximately 1% of babies are born with undescended testes. Because an undescended testis can cause infertility issues and increase the risks of testicular cancer, your baby's doctor will examine both testes after birth.
The baby's skull is not fully solid as the five bony plates, known as fontanels (little fountains), are still separate and can be pushed together. Birth may mold and elongate the fetal head, a safety precaution to reduce the skull's diameter for an easier birth, without damaging the fetal brain. After delivery, the baby's head returns to a rounded shape. Eyes have no tear ducts yet, they appear a few weeks after birth.
Would you like to announce the birth of your new baby? Do so by clicking this link: I gave birth!
Almost there! Did you know that we also have a month by month calendar for babies? You can find it in the menu under `Babies`: Month by month
Comments on week 38
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