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Fetal Development: 38 Weeks

38 Weeks - Pregnancy


During the past few weeks, your baby has finally filled out that wrinkly red skin with fat deposits, making her a rosy pink. She weighs about 6 ½ to 7 pounds and is about 20 inches long. She may have up to an inch long hair, or she may not have hardly any at all, depending on her genetic makeup.

Her intestines are still accumulating quite a bit of meconium, a black tar-like substance which will make up her first bowel movement. After the meconium is filtered out, she will have more normal looking poops, and you will find that she will poop often, especially if she is breastfed. Breast milk is easier for baby to digest than formula, making poops a more frequent occurrence.

All of your baby’s organs are fully developed. If she was born today, she would most likely be ready to breathe on her own, ready for the world. Although her lungs and brain are developed enough for her now, they will continue to mature right into childhood. The brain will continue to make new connections, so that everything baby sees, hears, touches, tastes, and smells stimulates brain growth and development.


As you are finishing up the nursery, remember to think about safety. Be sure your house has proper smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors as well. A fire escape plan for homes on higher floors is also key. In addition, go ahead and baby proof your home in preparation for your baby’s entrance, while you still have the time. You may get so caught up in caring for baby later on that it slips your mind. It’s better to get it done now.

Speaking of time, did you ever think it could go so slow? Those last few weeks before labor seem like an eternity. Many women start nesting now. If you’ve found yourself cleaning corners you’ve never cleaned before, you are probably nesting.

One thing to be sure you’ve done before labor is to check out our article on Labor & Delivery: What to Expect and Cesarean Sections: What to Expect. This will give you some idea of what will happen on your delivery date. Many cesareans are unplanned, so you may as well educate yourself on what to expect, just in case your labor does not progress and you end up having one. Which ever way your baby is born, you will be a new mom soon!

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Fetal Development: By Month
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This should be used as a general guideline and is for general information and educational purposes only. Please remember that all pregnancies develop at different rates. If you have questions about your baby's development, please contact your doctor or midwife.












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