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Highlights this week

Get the clipper!

Both fingernails and toenails are now fully formed. Your baby may need a nail trim soon after birth.

The nesting instinct

Fueled by big bursts of energy, you may find yourself deep cleaning the nursery, setting up baby gear, and freezing lasagnas.

Swollen ankles

You can reduce swelling by staying active, putting your feet up, lying on your side, and (surprisingly) drinking lots of water.

38 weeks is how many months?

You're in your ninth month!

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Baby development at 38 weeks


Your baby has a firm grasp, which you'll soon be able to test when you hold her hand for the first time!

Eye color: What to expect

Wondering what color your baby's eyes will be? You may not be able to tell right away. If she's born with brown eyes, they'll likely stay brown. If she's born with steel gray or dark blue eyes, they may stay gray or blue or turn green, hazel, or brown by the time she's 9 months old. That's because a child's irises (the colored part of the eye) may gain more pigment in the months after she's born, but they usually won't get "lighter" or bluer. (Green, hazel, and brown eyes have more pigment than gray or blue eyes.)

baby with fat accumulating around knees, elbows, and shoulders
Your baby at 38 weeks Tap the plus for more details
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Your baby is about the size of a leek

19 ½
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head to toe
6 ¾
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Pregnancy symptoms during week 38

Swollen ankles

Some swelling in your feet and ankles is normal during these last weeks, but call your doctor or midwife without delay if you notice excessive or sudden swelling of your feet or ankles, more than slight swelling of your hands, any swelling in your face or puffiness around your eyes, or have a sudden weight gain. These are symptoms of a serious condition called preeclampsia.

Trouble sleeping

It may be harder than ever to get comfortable enough to sleep well at night. If you can, take it easy during the day – this may be your last chance to do so for quite a while.

Crazy dreams

While you're sleeping, you're likely to have some intense dreams. Anxiety both about labor and about becoming a parent can fuel a lot of strange flights of unconscious fancy.

Don't see your symptom?
Wondering about a symptom you have? Find it on our pregnancy symptoms page.

baby in womb at 38 weeks compressing bladder
Your body at 38 weeks Tap the plus for more details

Pregnancy checklist at 38 weeks

Watch for late-pregnancy complications

Unfortunately, serious problems, like preeclampsia, can strike at the end of pregnancy. Be on the lookout for symptoms that warrant a call to your doctor or midwife.

Have your house cleaned

There's nothing better than coming home to a clean house with your new baby! See what other parents wish they had known about preparing for a newborn.

38 weeks pregnant bellies

This week's video


BabyCenter's editorial team is committed to providing the most helpful and trustworthy pregnancy and parenting information in the world. When creating and updating content, we rely on credible sources: respected health organizations, professional groups of doctors and other experts, and published studies in peer-reviewed journals. We believe you should always know the source of the information you're seeing. Learn more about our editorial and medical review policies.

ACOG. 2015. FAQ156. Prenatal development: How your baby grows during pregnancy. American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. http://www.acog.org/Patients/FAQs/Prenatal-Development-How-Your-Baby-Grows-During-Pregnancy#one [Accessed May 2019]

La Leche League International. 2016. All about La Leche League. http://www.llli.org/ab.html?m=1 [Accessed May 2019]

Mayo Clinic. 2015. Fetal development: The third trimester. http://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/pregnancy-week-by-week/in-depth/fetal-development/art-20045997 [Accessed May 2019]

MedlinePlus (ADAM). 2015. Fetal development. https://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/002398.htm [Accessed May 2019]

OWH. 2014. Breastfeeding. U.S. Office on Women’s Health. http://www.womenshealth.gov/breastfeeding/ [Accessed May 2019]

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Kate Marple is a writer and editor who specializes in health, pregnancy, and parenting content. She's passionate about translating complicated medical information into helpful pregnancy and parenting advice that's easy to understand. She lives in San Francisco with her family.
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