Any Time Between Now and 42 Weeks is Considered “Full Term”
It’s week 38, and you’re probably wondering how much longer this baby can stay inside you before you literally explode. The truth is, your baby is considered “full term” any time between now and 42 weeks — that whole 40th week goal is just the midpoint of that time period. So yes, even though you feel like you’re big enough to burst through walls like the Kool Aid Man, you still could have four weeks to go! (Don’t hate the messenger, man.)
Your weight gain and belly expansion are tapering off, but that sure as hell doesn’t mean you’re any more comfortable. Prop up your swollen ankles, wad up that pre-baby to-do list (especially the part where you planned to shave your legs before going into labor — fuck that) and just relax. If you really want to get something accomplished, save yourself some post-baby stress by making a contact list of everyone who needs to know when the baby’s born so you don’t forget anyone. Your mom isn’t likely to forgive you anytime soon if she hears about the birth from someone else!
Your baby should still be just as active as before, even though it doesn’t feel like there’s any wiggle room left in there; let your caregiver know right away if there’s a significant change in baby’s activity level. She can grasp, which means when she’s born she’ll be able to hold your hand — now there’s something to look forward to! You’re no doubt imagining what that will be like, along with what she’ll look like, though that’s subject to change; if she’s born with blue eyes, they might darken to hazel, green or brown in her first year.
We know you’re eager/terrified for things to get underway, and false labor is really hard to tell from true labor most of the time, so here’s what to look for: contractions that are regular, and get closer together and more intense over time; crampy pain that starts in your lower back and wraps around to your abdomen; contractions that don’t stop if you change position or drink a few glasses of water. Also if the baby falls out, that’s a good indicator, too. (Just kidding, you wish the baby would come out that easily!)