Breathing easier in week 38
By week 38, your baby, weighing somewhere in the region of 6¾lbs1, is now fully developed and ready for birth2. They may even have moved down further into your abdomen, a process known as engagement or lightening. This is sometimes visible with a noticeable lowering of your bump, although for some mums-to-be this only happens at the beginning of labour1.
By this time your baby has already shed most of their lanugo, the soft downy hair that insulated them for most of pregnancy. Some babies are born with small patches of it that gradually disappear over the first few days and weeks1.
“At week 38, your baby may still have some small patches of downy lanugo on their body, but most of it has already disappeared.”
Another way your baby’s body is getting ready for life after birth is by producing more surfactant within their lungs. This substance stops the air sacs in the lungs from sticking together as they transition from taking in amniotic fluid to breathing air3.
Snacks for labour: Think energy and nutrition
With your baby’s arrival imminent, week 38 is the time to get your birth kit in order. As well as personal and practical items, it’s helpful to have a variety of nutritious snacks to choose from if you need an energy boost at any point during labour.
“Any snacks you don’t eat during labour will be welcome nourishment once your baby has arrived.”
You’re unlikely to want to eat a large amount, but a bite or two of a nutrient-rich snack can help to keep you going. Pack several different foods; you won’t know what you’ll feel like or can tolerate until the time comes.
Pack healthy, energy-giving snacks that will provide a boost during labour and support your body and baby as you transition to breastfeeding:
- Apricots, raisins and other dried fruit
- Fresh fruit
- Cereal bars
- A handful of nuts
Don’t forget to pack some drinks to stay well hydrated. Some women find sports drinks useful, or water or fruit juice in a sports-type bottle for easy drinking.