38 weeks of gestation: preparing for childbirth

During this period, the woman can begin preparing for childbirth. It is important to talk to the obstetrician and clear up any doubts about that day.

It is also possible to train the breathing and the positions that make the pregnant woman more comfortable for childbirth.

Parts of the layette such as the crib and the car seat to put in the car should be provided as soon as possible, as the baby can be born at any time.

The mother should also receive emotional support at this stage and try to control anxiety . Rest and healthy eating are two factors that can contribute to the final stretch of pregnancy.

Read more: Ninth month of pregnancy: what to know about the last gestational month

38 weeks is how many months? Can you be born yet?

The 38th week of gestation indicates that the woman is at the beginning of the 9th month. The baby is formed and has started to prepare to be born.

At this moment, it is the same size as a jackfruit, being able to be more than 50cm and weigh more than 3kG.

The probable date of birth can already be estimated by the obstetrician who accompanies the pregnancy.

If everything is fine with the mother and baby, delivery can happen at any time.

Read more: Exercises for pregnant women (pre-delivery): swimming, breathing and more

Does the baby move a lot at 38 weeks of gestation?

The baby’s agitation is less compared to the other months, but the mother should still feel it stirring every day.

Some, by their own characteristic, can move more than others, but the tendency is that, due to the smaller space, the movements are more limited.

In this phase, the baby is turning and fitting in to be born, that is, with the head turned towards the vaginal canal and the feet touching the mother’s rib.

This snapping motion in the pelvis can squeeze the mother’s bladder, causing frequent urge to urinate.

Even so, the consumption of water to avoid dehydration is essential.

On the other hand, when the baby turns upside down, the lung and diaphragm are less compressed, which allows the pregnant woman to breathe more easily.

Can you have a cesarean section at 38 weeks?

Since 2016, the Federal Council of Medicine (CFM) has published a resolution in which cesarean delivery without clinical need can only be done after 39 weeks. Therefore, at 38 weeks, the mother can only have a cesarean if there is a medical indication to reduce risks to the mother and baby.

After that time, if there is a mother’s desire for the operation, the delivery can be evaluated with the doctor and scheduled.

The problem with having a scheduled cesarean is that the gestational time is just a speculation of the baby’s formation. But each baby has its development and the cesarean section may end up inducing a premature birth .

For example, if a woman believes she is 38 weeks pregnant, but the baby is not fully formed, when having a scheduled cesarean, the baby will be born prematurely.

The woman’s health can also be compromised with this surgery, since, at 38 weeks, the organism may not have started showing signs of delivery (contractions and dilations), and may be compromising the uterus.

It is important to talk to the obstetrician who accompanies the pregnancy about the possibility of having a cesarean delivery.

Cesarean section is indicated for cases of pregnancy that present risks for the mother and the baby.

Since health institutions, including the World Health Organization, encourage the option of normal birth.

How do you feel with 38 weeks of gestation?

It is also common for women to have some very characteristic and normal symptoms of this final stage. Although these signs are common, if the pregnant woman perceives something abnormal or very intense, she should be taken to the maternity or care center.  Among the normal manifestations of this phase are:

Pain (in the belly, in the back)

The pain in the belly during the 9th month of pregnancy can be caused by the baby who is without much space to move.

Cramps in the lower abdomen, a burning sensation or burning in the uterus, gas and diarrhea are complications that can appear in this phase, resulting from the child’s movement.

Upon completing 9 months of gestation, the woman may begin to have contractions and dilations that prepare the body for childbirth.

Back pain is also normal, as the belly causes a certain weight that influences the posture and balance of the body. It is important for women to find positions they are comfortable lying down or sitting on.

Swollen breasts

At the end of the 8th month , milk production has already started. Therefore, the breasts may be larger, causing the impression that they are swollen.

During pregnancy and breastfeeding, the breasts tend to be sore and the areola of the breasts darker.

Hard belly and contractions

The feeling of a hard stomach is one of the signs of contractions, which should happen more and more frequently.

These two signs indicate that childbirth is near and should occur within the next few days.

The contractions should be temporary, lasting about 1 minute. It is also important to note the frequency at which they happen.

If the contractions are every 10 minutes, the woman went into labor even if there is no dilation or if the “bag has burst”.


The 38th week of gestation indicates that childbirth is getting closer every day. Therefore, the pregnant woman must make all the preparations for this great moment.

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