38 Weeks Pregnant: Staying Safe and Healthy During the Final Weeks of Pregnancy

Fact Checked Medically reviewed by Tanja Premru-Sršen


Welcome to 38 weeks pregnant! Your baby is nearing complete maturity and full-term at the thirty-eighth week of your pregnancy.

As the baby moves lower into your pelvis, you might be breathing and moving a bit easier than before, thanks to a reduced upper abdominal pressure. However, getting up from the sofa is more complicated than ever.

Keep reading to learn more about what awaits during week thirty-eighth pregnancy week, what your baby is going through, what your body is going through, and what you need to prepare.

Physical Symptoms During Week Thirty-Eight of Pregnancy

You are at a very late stage of your third trimester, which means that your body is in the final stages of preparing for the baby’s arrival. This means that all pregnancy symptoms will remain similar from week to week.

Apart from practice contractions (Braxton Hicks contractions), around the week thirty-eight of your pregnancy, some of the main pregnancy symptoms you can expect are going to include:


Being as graceful as you were a few months ago is much more difficult when you have a huge belly to carry around.

The belly and extra weight are throwing off your center of gravity. Still, another factor is your ligaments and joints loosening up as your body prepares for the baby’s arrival.

As a result, you might feel a little bit unstable on your feet, making your chances of falling much higher.

Avoid wet floors, go up and down the stairs carefully, and ask for assistance when needed.


During the third trimester, the simple act of walking, which seemed so simple before, can become quite uncomfortable, thanks to all of the extra weight and your baby’s head putting pressure between your legs.

At thirty-eight weeks pregnant, you might find yourself doing the pregnancy waddle more often than not.

Frequent Urination

Your baby and uterus are putting more and more pressure on your bladder, which means that frequent trips to the bathroom will not subside in week thirty-eight of your pregnancy.

Make sure you are always near a bathroom and do not slack on hydration no matter what! This pregnancy symptom will very likely cause you some trouble sleeping through the night during the last few weeks.

What Happens to The Baby During Week Thirty-Eight of Pregnancy?

At 38 weeks of baby’s development, the baby is over 19.5 inches long and weighs about 7 pounds, which is about the size of a watermelon!

By week 38, the baby’s skin is shedding its lanugo, the soft, fine hair covering the body in utero. Most babies will not have any lanugo once they are born, but some babies do not manage to shed it completely, and some hair may remain on the baby’s shoulders and arms.

At this point of your pregnancy and baby’s development, your baby’s eye color might be blue or even grey, and they are very likely to be born with blue eyes; the majority of babies are! Your baby’s final eye color will depend on genetics, likely changing in the baby’s first year of life.

Your baby is just about ready for birth at 38 weeks of pregnancy. However, it is still a bit too early, as there is still some last-minute development to be done during the last few weeks in the uterus. These last weeks are a pretty important phase of baby development.

Pregnancy Checklist During Week Thirty-Eight

You need to fulfill certain tasks to keep up with the journey and ensure you are staying on top of your and your baby’s needs.

The list of things you need to complete during your thirty-eighth week of pregnancy will include:

Wear comfortable, flat shoes

Wear flat shoes because you are at a higher risk of tripping and falling so close to your due date. If you are having trouble tying your shoes, get someone to do it for you.

Get familiar with the signs of labor

Labor is on the horizon and your due date is close, and you need to get familiar with them and stay on the lookout to grab your hospital bag and run to the hospital once they begin, to be in the hospital as the baby arrives.

Some of the major birth signs include:

  • Lightening (which means the baby dropping down in your pelvis area)
  • Loss of the mucus plug
  • Discomfort
  • Water breaking (a clear leak, trickle, gush of water coming from your vagina)
  • Contractions that are regular and growing in intensity

What To Avoid or Begin to Avoid?

Avoiding potentially dangerous and harmful things and activities is essential to protect you and the baby during pregnancy and so close to your due date.

So, during your thirty-eighth pregnancy week, make sure to stay away from:

  • Smoking, doing drugs, drinking alcohol, and being exposed to toxic substances.
  • Sleeping on your tummy.
  • Performing demanding workouts and carrying heavyweight.
  • Wearing strappy and tight shoes and high heels.
  • Touching kitty litter or cat feces.
  • Drinking an excessive amount of caffeine and carbonated drinks.
  • Getting tattooed as it poses a risk of infection.
  • Eating junk food, deli meats, raw or undercooked meat, eggs, cheeses from unpasteurized milk, unpasteurized dairy foods, high mercury fish, and unwashed fruits and vegetables.
  • Having close contact with anyone with rubella, chickenpox, or the Zika virus.