Pregnancy Calendar Week 38 – Improvement in Shortness of Breath and Rib Pain

Pregnancy Calendar Week 38 – Improvement in Shortness of Breath and Rib Pain

Get ready to become a proud mama! Just a couple of weeks left and you will be blessed with a baby. You are close to your full term and a lot of symptoms might have been improved by this week. Read on to learn more about the happenings in week 38.

Week 38

As are just nearing the full term, you will get relief from some of the discomforts you were facing all these weeks. Your little one is also close to maturity with major organs largely developed and working. The baby is also going lower into the pelvis that means he is ready to come out in the world shortly.

Your body this week

Pregnant belly and bodyweight

This week your baby has inched a little further down into the pelvis, putting more pressure on the bladder. This also touches your several super sensitive nerves of yours causing a range of sporadic discomforts. Besides, as the pregnancy is culminating you can also face cervical effacement and dilation (widening).

The mucus if not expelled, would be out this week indicating that the labor would begin soon. Look out for yellowish discharge tinged with blood, however many women overlook this but still it’s not a problem. If you have already added around 16-17 kgs of weight to your body, rest assure that you are on the right track. For overweight women, the weight gain during pregnancy shouldn’t be greater than 11 kgs.

Typical symptoms

As the baby descends into the pelvis, he or she is pressing various sensitive nerves out there, causing numbness in back and legs. The discomfort doesn’t end up here. The increasing pressure on the bladder is landing you up frequently in the bathrooms.

However, the good thing is that the uterus which was once positioned high due to the developing baby, will begin to ease out things for you as the baby descends into the pelvis. The discomfort such as rib pain and shortness of breath will no longer be the part of symptoms you were experiencing all these weeks. But other troubling symptoms continuing from past weeks will still haunt you till last. These include:

  1. Increased vaginal discharge
  2. Insomnia
  3. Anxiety
  4. Swollen feet and ankles
  5. Itchy belly

Signs of labor

Week 38 is the period when labor signs begin to show up. If you are seeing below signs, then the D day is nearby:

  1. Mucus plug/bloody show
  2. Nausea
  3. Diarrhea
  4. Back pain
  5. Contractions
  6. Water breaking

Complications at 38th week of pregnancy

At 38 weeks, the doctor might induce labor for several reasons including gestational diabetes, preeclampsia, uterine infections or issues related to placenta such as placenta previa or placental abruption. If you are pregnant with twins, then you have already crossed the full-term date and this week your doctor is likely to say ‘the time has come’, means time for the cesarean delivery.

So if you are pregnant with twins, this week you will see your doppelgangers in your hands peeking in your eyes.

Also Read

Pregnancy Week 4Pregnancy Calendar Week 39 – Gestational Life of Your Baby Officially Completed

Your baby this week

The baby is considered appropriately developed at this stage, however, lungs and brain are still maturing. Other things are getting finalized including:


The irises of the baby’s eyes are currently dark blue-grey and this will remain till the child becomes a year old. This is because the melanocytes, the cells that are responsible for creating pigment will take this much of time to produce the eye color.

Skin development

The baby is steadily shedding that white sticky substance known as vernix caseosa. This is a protective covering of the baby’s skin, you might still see some of it when your baby is born. Skin pigmentation is also currently developing. And upon birth he or she would be purplish or reddish in color irrespective of the ethnicity of the parents.

Vocal cords

The lungs are getting strengthened while the vocal cords have now completely formed. This means your little one is ready to communicate or say put his demands through wails and cries.

Size, weight and appearance

Your baby has pretty much done growing and stretched to length of about 18-20 inches. This also means that the weight of the baby should be around 3 kgs or the size of a jackfruit.

Healthy eating

This week your focus should be on eating choline-rich foods. This is an important nutrient which is very beneficial in the functioning of the brain. Moreover, it can help you even out discomforts related to pregnancy brain, the moments when you feel distracted, unfocussed or forgetful.

The foods which are rich in choline include beef liver, chicken liver, eggs, fish, broccoli, soybean and cauliflower. Apart from this, it’s a good idea to add some high-energy foods including nuts, cereal bars, apricots and fresh fruits.

Expecting dads

You have been focusing a lot on your baby for all these months. Now it’s time to relax and focus on your partner in the couple of weeks remaining. Enjoy activities together as your wife will be giving majority of her time to your baby after the delivery.

Besides, suggest some of the distraction items to your partner so that she can relax in time of contractions. Also, if she wants sex, then go ahead as the chemicals in your semen can trigger labor.


This week your doctor would be evaluating your belly to ensure that the baby is in correct birthing position i.e. head-down position. If the baby is in breech position, he or she would be coming to the correct position before delivery. If not, then the only option remaining would be of cesarean delivery.

The doctor will also be conducting pelvic examination to check whether the cervix has dilated or not.

Things to consider

If you are really doubtful that the water has broken, just change your underwear and relax for half an hour. If the discharge was urine, nothing will happen. However, if it was secreted from the amniotic sac, it will run down through the vagina and continue trickling out. But whichever the case is, you must contact your gynecologist.

Tips of the week

You are getting closer to the goal, just follow the below tips closely and you will sail through the pregnancy easily.

  1. Keep a check on your contractions
  2. Stock up your refrigerator in case you run out of food
  3. Add bottles and formula to your list of must-haves
  4. Make sure the items you have stashed in your hospital bag is up to the mark

FAQs at 38th week of pregnancy

How can I make sure I am not in labor?

A good rule of thumb is that if the contractions are infrequent and stop while you change positions or move around, it means there is still time left for the big day.

My belly is still itchy, what can I do?

Apply vitamin E oil. In fact, you may want to buy in extra pack of vitamin E capsules. The vitamin E is also a great option for ladies having sore nipples, especially for those who are planning to breastfeed.


1. American Pregnancy Association. Pregnancy Week 38. read more
2. The Nemours Foundation. Pregnancy Calendar, Week 38 read more
3. National Women's Health Resource Center. Pregnancy & Parenting Second Trimester of Pregnancy: 38 Weeks 
read more