Your baby is practically ready to be born. A few last details to give him a great start in the world beyond your womb and he’s on his way.
In this ninth month, your baby’s biggest job is to continue to put on weight. He needs this extra weight to supply his energy demands during the first few days while he is waiting for your milk to come in. He is also working getting his lungs fully mature.
His downy hairs are being shed, and the vernix is wearing off his skin. The more lanugo hair and vernix a baby has at birth, the younger his gestational age. He may have long nails that need to be clipped right away. His eyes do have color, but it may change within the next six months.
His immune system is still immature, so he is receiving antibodies through the placenta, and after he is born he will get antibodies through your colostrum and milk.
At the end of the 38th week your baby will be around 14-15 inches from crown to rump and weigh about 6-8 pounds.
You may be feeling a little clumsy this month as your body prepares to stretch the pelvis for labor. The hormones that loosen the pelvis will loosen every joint in your body, so be careful.
You may also find it getting more difficult to sleep at night. Your large belly and your thoughts about the new baby can be too much to overcome, even when you are tired. Experiment with various sleeping positions and locations until you can get comfortable.
Your breasts may be swelling as they begin to fill with milk. Hormones secreted from the placenta trigger the milk production; however it will not get into full swing until after your baby is born.
Engagement of the baby in your pelvis (lightening) should make it a little easier to breathe, although it will put pressure on the pelvis.
Some women seem to have a nesting instinct at this point. They clean and re-clean the house, or stock up on foods for when the baby is born. It’s ok to prepare, but don’t wear yourself out.
These symptoms are commonly experienced during this month.
Heartburn and Indigestion
Shortness of Breath