Skip to main content
First trimester weeks

Congrats! During the first trimester, you’re getting used to the idea of being pregnant.

Second trimester weeks

As you enter this second trimester, your body will settle down to pregnancy.

Third trimester weeks

You've reached the third and final trimester and will be heavily pregnant by now.

Week 39 of Pregnancy

Time may feel as though it's standing still and every small twinge has you on the alert.
Know the signs that mean labor is really about to start. You may have some false alarms, so don't hesitate to call your doctor for advice and reassurance. Excitement will be competing with nerves-and that goes for your partner as well. No one can predict how labor is going to turn out, but before the big day it's helpful to agree on what your partner's role should ideally be.

38 Weeks, 4 Days

10 days to go...

ultrasound of human fetus 38 weeks and 4 days

Your baby today

Your baby's neck muscles have strengthened, so the head can be held well away from the chest wall. Once delivered though, the buoyancy provided by the amniotic fluid will be lost and you will need to support your baby's head at all times while holding him.
Could your baby be dreaming already? A lot of his movements are occurring when he's fast asleep.

Your baby has been practicing breathing since the 10th week of pregnancy but now the pattern has changed from short practice bursts lasting 10 seconds or so, to a regular rhythmic breathing pattern of approximately 40 breaths per minute, just as the baby will breathe after birth.

Eye movements have also matured with periods of rapid eye movement (REM) lasting for just over 25 minutes at a time and rest periods lasting just under 25 minutes. REM sleep is closely coupled with periods of increased activity and a faster heart rate. So, just because your baby is moving it doesn't always mean that he's awake.

Although your baby cannot stretch out as freely as before, movements of at least 10 times a day should continue in the same familiar pattern and are a reassuring sign of a healthy baby.

Ask your doctor if you can drink or eat during labor. Drinking will keep you hydrated while your body is working hard.

Focus On... Nutrition

Fuel for labor

Most hospitals don't allow women in labor to eat or drink, because if you need general anesthesia, there's a risk of aspiration. But in 2008, the American College of Nurse-Midwives issued a clinical bulletin stating that allowing a woman in labor to eat or drink provides her with hydration, nutrition, comfort, and can even reduce stress. Ask your doctor if you can eat, and if so, what. A few suggestions: Choose something light, such as soup or broth, popsicles, applesauce, or ice chips-which you can chomp on even if you're not allowed food. And your partner should snack to keep his strength.

Ask A... Doctor

What is "stripping the membranes" and could I have this instead of being induced if I end up being overdue?

Depending on your health and the baby's condition, and many other factors (for example, you're more than 42 weeks along, you have high blood pressure, you have an infection), your doctor may induce labor. There are many ways to do this, including stripping the membranes. With a gloved finger, your doctor checks your cervix and sweeps her finger over the membranes that connect the amniotic sac and the uterine wall. The goal of this is to stimulate the release of hormones that may start labor contractions. Although this is likely to be an uncomfortable procedure, it should not cause you actual pain; you will also experience a mucus/bloodstained "bloody show" (see The "bloody show")-following stripping of the membranes, which is quite normal.

The procedure can be done at your doctor's office or in the hospital (see Induction of Labor). Your doctor will advise you closer to the time.

38 Weeks, 4 Days

10 days to go...

Join the Family

Your partner in parenting from baby name inspiration to college planning.