Guide to Being 38 Weeks Pregnant

What's Going on in Your Body

Length: About 19.5 inches. Weight: Almost 7 pounds. Fat: Still packing on.

At 38 weeks, your baby is most likely at the length he or she will be when you give birth. But while length probably won't change much from here on out, weight will: It's in these last weeks that baby really bulks up, putting on up to an ounce a day. That fat is going to keep that body warm once the environment drops below your body temperature.

What else is happening at 38 weeks? Mostly finishing touches, including:

  • Continued brain, nervous-system and organ development
  • Lung development, especially further growth of surfactant, which will keep the lungs from sticking together when your baby exhales
  • Final stages of shedding vernix (creamy protective coating on the skin) and lanugo (fetal body hair)

Also this week, if you could reach into your uterus, your baby would probably grab right on to your finger, because the grasp reflex is fully functioning now. You may get to witness this feat immediately after birth, if you press a finger to your newborn's palm.

While these final touches are unfolding in your womb, your partner can help with some finishing touches outside it …