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38 Weeks Pregnant

Some swelling in your feet and ankles is normal during 38 weeks pregnant, but call your practitioner without delay if you notice excessive or sudden swelling of your feet or ankles, more than slight swelling of your hands, any swelling in your face or puffiness around your eyes, or have a sudden weight gain. Also let her know immediately if have severe or persistent headaches; visual changes (such as double or blurred vision, seeing spots or flashing lights, light sensitivity, or a temporary loss of vision), intense upper abdominal pain or tenderness, or nausea and vomiting. These are symptoms of a serious condition called pre-eclampsia that occurs in as many as 10% of pregnancies, usually in the second or third trimester, and after the 32nd week. Some women will experience pre-eclampsia as early as 20 weeks, though this is rare.

Have you packed your pregnancy hospital bag? If you haven’t, you better sit down and do it today. You could go into spontaneous labor at any point now.

Not sure what to pack? There are many schools of thought regarding the hospital bag, but here are some of the more common items that moms-to-be pack:

  • Robe or other cover up if you plan on walking during labor.
  • Slippers or warm socks.
  • Lotion or massage oil.
  • Lip balm (your lips will get very chapped during the pushing phase).
  • Snacks or drinks (in case you deliver at 3 am and find yourself ravenous).
  • Watch with a second hand (to time your contractions).
  • Camera and video recorder.
  • Magazine or book to read.
  • Personal toiletries such as a hair brush and toothbrush.
  • Nursing bras.
  • Breast pads.
  • Change of clothes to go home in.

You might also consider packing a change of clothes for your partner sometime during pregnancy weeks 38 and beyond. When packing the clothes you plan to go home in, be sure you pack something that is the right size. You will need to bring clothes that fit you when you were about five months pregnant, as you will not magically lose all the weight you gained simply by giving birth. Your belly will still be a bit round for a while after delivery.

At 38 weeks pregnant your baby is rapidly approaching 6.3 pounds, and the length will remain about 19 to 20 inches from now until birth. She has a firm grasp, which you’ll soon be able to test when you hold her hand for the first time! Her organs have matured and are ready for life outside the womb.

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