38 Weeks Pregnant
Changes in Your Body When 38 Weeks Pregnant
As you continue to move toward your actual due date, it is a good idea to familiarize yourself with what to expect in the next couple of weeks! Approximately 88 percent of babies are born within two weeks of their mother's due date!
There are three kinds of labor (and symptoms that accompany each):
- False labor
- Real labor.
Prelabor is the time before actual labor when the body prepares for childbirth. Prelabor includes the following:
- Lightening, in which the baby's head drops down into the pelvis
- Braxton Hicks contractions
- An increase in vaginal discharge
- An increase in brownish or blood-tinged discharge
- An increase in nesting instinct.
(Click Prelabor Signs to learn more about other signs of prelabor.)
False labor feels like the real thing. False labor contractions are irregular and painful. You may feel them in various parts of your body (such as the back, lower abdomen, and pelvis). You may be experiencing false labor if you answer "yes" to the following questions:
- Do the contractions stay the same in intensity (that is, they don't get worse)?
- Do the contractions come in uneven intervals?
- Is the pain in your lower abdomen rather than your lower back?
- Do the contractions stop when you move around or change position?
When real labor contractions begin, you will find that you cannot walk or talk through them. Real labor is different for every woman. You may be in real labor if you answer "yes" to the following questions:
- Do contractions occur at regular intervals that are coming closer together?
- Do contractions feel as if they are moving from the top of your belly down toward your pelvis?
- Are your contractions getting more intense?
- Do you have lower back pain that is accompanied by a crampy, menstrual feeling?
- Has your water broken?
Real labor contractions start at the top of your uterus and then spread over the entire uterus, through your lower back, and into the pelvis. Real labor will become stronger and more painful and won't be alleviated by changing position.