Pregnancy Week 38

As Hard As It Is-Be Patient:Waiting For Labor

Most babies weigh between six and seven pounds at 38 weeks of pregnancy. Your baby may be larger or smaller, depending upon several factors, such as due-date calculation. If your date is off either way, your baby may be more or less developed than you think. Even though you feel very sure it is time to have this baby, if you have not had labor pains, it is important not to induce labor too soon. If your baby isn't ready to be born, he may have a more difficult time than if you wait the extra time for him to be ready.

Labor and delivery come very quickly and are often over before you know it. Take some time during this week to savor the last days of your pregnancy. It won't be long before you join the ranks of happy but sleep-deprived parents who are caring for newborns.

Some Natural Ways To Stimulate Labor

Self-induction of labor can be a very dangerous practice. There are some natural ways to help your body start the labor process at this point. Having intercourse can be helpful as it may stimulate contractions. In addition, semen contains prostaglandins, which sometimes help the cervix ripen. Walking is another way to encourage your baby to move further into your pelvis and thus stimulate labor. However, you may put a good many miles on your feet without starting labor. Your baby may need the extra time in the womb so be patient. The wait is worth it.

When your baby is ready, your body will often go into labor on its own. Some theories say the baby sends a signal to the mother's body to get things started. Every woman has her own experience with labor and delivery. Some seem to labor for an hour and have their baby, while others take much longer. Walking during the actual labor time can help to speed things up by stimulating more contractions.

All My Bags Are Packed... Time To Give Birth

If you have not begun labor by this point, take some time to visit the birth facility, whether hospital or birthing center, to find out where everything is located. Pack your hospital bag, if you haven't done so already, and have it ready to go. You could go into spontaneous labor any time and having your things ready reduces stress for you. If you don't have a bag ready and you do go into labor, the facility where you give birth will no doubt have everything you need to birth your baby and for your stay in the hospital, regardless of how long it may be. You can also ask your partner to bring the things you need after the baby is born.

The value to packing your own bag beforehand is that you will have some things with you that may not be available to you at the hospital. You can pack things such as your own grooming aids, a camera, or video recorder (should you wish to record the birth), slippers or warm socks, and clothes for both you and baby to go home in.

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