Week 38

Week 38 pregnant belly side view

Week 38 pregnant belly side viewWeek 38 pregnant belly front view

Edit: forgot to add the weekly montage!

pregnant belly side view weeks 35-38


How far along: 38 weeks

How big is baby: a leek.

What is baby doing this week: If you don't know already, can you tell if you're carrying a boy or a girl? One hint may come from the size of your baby – boys tend to be slightly heavier than girls. Babies at week 39 weigh between 3kg and 3.2kg and continue to build the fat stores that will help regulate body temperature after birth.

Your baby's organ systems are fully developed and in place, but his lungs will be last to reach maturity. Even after your baby is born, it may take a few hours before he establishes a normal breathing pattern. After he's born, he'll have a series of brief tests which will measure his health on what's called the Apgar scale.

Wondering what colour your baby's eyes will be? Most white European babies are born with dark blue eyes and their true eye colour – be it brown, green, grey or blue – may not reveal itself for weeks or months. The colour of your baby's eyes in the first minutes after birth won't last – exposure to light changes a baby's initial eye colour. Most babies of African and Asian descent have dark grey or brown eyes at birth, but it won't be clear what precise shade their eyes will be until after the first six months or year.

If you go into labour this week, find out how to cope in the early stages. Have a look at our newborn section to learn all about the precious load you are carrying.


Total weight gain: 56.7kg, 400g less than last week and 9.8kg since the start of pregnancy.

Maternity clothes: Pretty much all maternity.

Sleep: Fairly good this week.

Best moment of the week: I've finished up work on Friday! Still have to drive there each day to drop out toddler off at daycare, but i get the rest of the day to myself :)

Food cravings/aversions: Waiting patiently for double brie on water thins, champagne and sashimi salmon after the birth.


Nausea: None.

Fatigue: Taking Ferro Grad-C every weekday. Don't feel excessively tired.

Other: Red raspberry leaf tea twice a day. It strengthens and tones the muscles of the uterus, to help with an effective faster labour. I'm getting almost constant Braxton Hicks contractions, but that happens whether or not i drink the tea.

Movement: Head down, left occiput lateral (LOL/LOT), 4/5ths above brim (not yet engaged but getting there). Lots of kicks and stretches - more stretches now as he starts to get quite cramped in there.

Gender: Boy.

What i'm looking forward to: birthing my baby at home! And my birth photographer just emailed me to say she's now on call for me - this is getting real! I feel so much more positive and relaxed than this stage last pregnancy with my focus being on trying to turn my breechling and the birth being up in the air as to how it would proceed... now i have a head-down baby and a homebirth plan :)

Still waiting though for my midwife to bring over the birth pool. She was supposed to bring it to my appointment yesterday, but forgot, so then said she'd drop it by that afternoon (she's only two suburbs away, about 10 mins at most). She didn't show, so around 8pm i messaged her and suggested it was too late to drop it by that day and would she be able to do it the next day (today)? She said yes, in the afternoon - i'm still waiting and i've just messaged her again. She says she'll be here before 5pm. Plan is once it's here, to test the hose connections, fill it a little way so as to estimate how long it will take to be full, and then empty it and dry it ready for labour.

Edit: have the pool now! So excited!

What i miss: Being able to bend over easily - it takes me a long time now to reach the floor.

Next appt: 14 November

What else i've done this week: Had my hospital appointment where i saw a doctor to sign off on my VBAC plan (which involved declining pretty much all their usual procedures of IV, CFM, no food/drink except clear liquids and VEs every 3 hours). (I'm planning an HBAC but the hospital is my backup and they believe i'm having a VBAC there). She said she'd have to get the consultant (who i usually see) to sign off on the plan. I wasn't worried - none of what i'd declined was putting me or baby in danger, and even if they don't sign off, i know the magic phrase - "I do not consent".

The doctor was concerned about my fundal height. They seem to think it should be exactly the same on all women, regardless of their weight or height. I measured 34cm at 37+3, with a baby that was now 4/5 above the pelvic brim (where i had measured 35 with my midwife the week before with a 'free' head). Probably at least a cm of baby's head was now below their measurements. I'm currently measuring again at 35cm with my midwife - exactly the same as my previous pregnancy at this gestation (and fits with about a cm of growth since last visit, if you keep in mind his lower head position). However, the hospital wanted to book me in for a growth ultrasound, and added a check of placental location onto the form. I allowed them to book it with the proviso that i would discuss with my midwife on Saturday and decide whether to proceed with it.

I then saw the consultant who said she signed off on all my requests, but added, "until mother changes her mind". Fine by me. I've had 2 1/2 years to decide what i really want - i'm unlikely to change my mind at the last minute! She also mentioned she called my midwife to discuss my appointment.

So at my midwife appointment on Saturday, almost the first thing she said was to ask how i felt about getting a growth ultrasound. She said that the consultant had called her and stated that she'd be happy if baby was as low as the 10th percentile, as that was what my toddler was on when he was born (funnily enough a scan at 35 weeks showed him on 50th percentile for AC and HC - but he was quite thin at birth 6 weeks later (weighed just over 3kg)). Clearly not IUGR, just thin with an average size head and tummy. I explained that i wanted to discuss the fh measurement with her first, but i felt he was not at risk of IUGR, because the fh was the same as with my first baby who was born healthy, but small, and because he did not show any signs of placental insufficiency such as decreased movement. I measure small on fundal height because my babies are small, i am small, and i carry very little fat on my stomach (i tend to put it on my thighs). She was able to see just how active he was when she was measuring as he kicked to the side several times, as though to reassure her, 'i'm fine!'. You can almost make out the shape of a foot when he does this! And so based on continued activity from baby and only measuring -3cm from the average fh, and my research, i told her i planned to cancel the u/s. I think she'd have preferred me to do it, but it's my call. And i've seen so many mums pushed into interventions past 37 weeks (and i do consider an unwanted u/s an intervention), it's almost like the medical profession has to find something out of the thin line of 'normal' to look into and act upon, often starting the birth process too early because of it... can't they just wait til baby is ready like the rest of us do?

The consultant was more concerned about my refusal of vaginal exams, and asked my midwife to talk to me about considering one every 3 hours as they worry about obstruction of labour in the scarred lower uterine segment. Right, cos a baby kicking and pushing with their head and hands on it during 9 months of pregnancy isn't nearly as intensive on it as being on the non-contracting part of the uterus during labour? And that i'm not planning on having any pain medication during labour (so warning signs of uterine rupture (pain between contractions, shoulder tip pain, or just generally a feeling of something not being right - or the later signs such as excessive bleeding, contractions stopping or changing drastically) would be quite clear to me before it showed with heart rate changes in baby) or induction (known to increase risk of UR) - and a baby doing absolutely fine, just a plateau or slower labour than their plotted 1cm an hour suddenly means increased risk of UR? None of the research i've read shows that. (http://www.bellybelly.com.au/birth/vbac-sabotage-is-your-doctor-really-vbac-friendly#.VF6vOL7lk20 - number 3 and number 6 state there is no evidence that long first and second stages cause an increased risk of uterine rupture. That's also what my looking for an article on it found - absolutely nothing). So, i do not consent. She also asked my midwife if i would be ok with the CTG monitor being put on if i lay down on the bed (i had asked for intermittent only) and then taken off when i got up (yeah right) - oh yes, i said with a smirk. 1) i'm not planning on being in hospital and 2) if i were i wouldn't be lying down! Active labour for me thank you very much! Probably out waddling round the gardens and leaning on benches, if i had my way! Although if i had to go in due to concerning symptoms at home and it was quite long, i'd have hubby and my doula supporting me and i'd be repeating, 'I do not consent'.

So on Monday i will call to cancel the u/s and the clinic follow-up appointment after the u/s. I will only see them again if i go past 41 weeks.

I still find it amazing that you have to fight for every aspect of the birth you want.

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