Pregnancy at 38 Weeks
Your baby is now fully formed and the birth is imminent. If her head has engaged into the pelvis, you may notice that your abdomen has changed shape. If not, do not worry - some babies, especially if this is not your first, do not engage until labour starts. Once the head has engaged you may find it more uncomfortable to walk.
Fat is still being laid down under your baby's skin and, as long as there are no problems with the placenta, she will continue to grow while she is inside you.The fat will be lying in folds and her cheeks will become plumper. Her heart is beating at approximately 110-160 beats per minute. She has 300 bones at the moment, whereas an adult only has 206. This is because some of her bones will later fuse together.
Most of the soft, downy lanugo covering her body has now been shed, apart from a light covering across the top of her back and shoulders and behind her ears. Her body is still covered in greasy white vernix because she will continue to need 'waterproofing' until she is born.
As space becomes tight in your uterus, your baby will be tightly curled up, with her chin tucked onto her chest and her knees drawn up iO her abdomen. Her movements will be less vigorous but she should still be active. Research suggests that babies have rapid eye movement (REM) sleep from 23 weeks of pregnancy, which indicates that they are dreaming - this encourages the development of the brain. As your baby is asleep for at least 60 per cent of the time, that is a lot of time to dream!
The bones of your baby's skull remain soft so that bones can ride over each other and mould to the shape of the birth canal. As a result, her head may be slightly pointed when she is born and she may have some swelling on either side of the head. This is only temporary. However, there will be a soft spot on the top of her head, called the fontanelle, for about 18 months, until the bones fuse together.