38 Weeks: Out With The Old, In With The New


Wheeee!! Getting so close. I’m 38 weeks, 5 days 6 days (edited!) today hard to believe 39 is almost here and 40 around the corner.


I’m still under the impression that pregnancy gets better and better every day. While I’m definitely thinking about going into labor much of the time, I’m also very happy right where I am and am still content being pregnant. Although if you told me I have a month left (which is technically possible…well 3.5 weeks…if they did let me go to 42 weeks…which I’m not sure of 100% that they would….) I am not sure how happy I’d be or how much more I’d grow! My weight gain seems to have plateaued a bit (at +21 lbs at the doctor, +23-24ish from the start), but I’m sure the baby would get a little more plump in there and that would show from the outside.


Symptoms that are GONE

Rib pain – Well, not entirely. This came back on Sunday night a bit – I think the baby crawled back up and put his leg back under my ribs! BUT for the rest of the week, it’s been IMMENSELY better.

Back pain – My back feels SOLID again! Amazing!

Symptoms that are NEW

Swelling – just a tiny bit – in my hands and feet. Still wearing my wedding rings, but they are tighter at times. And my toes look rather pudgy, although I doubt the average person would think they looked any different.

Sweaty palms – I read in one of my pregnancy apps that sweat is a sign of hormones/adrenaline. But this is so bad at times I can’t use my phone or tablet!! My fingers just slide around damp on the screen. SO weird!!

Achy jaw + thumb/forefinger palm – Now this is an interesting one. My lower jaw has been feeling really tired/achy. It could be stress/nerves/adrenaline, as I’ve experienced this in the past with stress, HOWEVER, I’ve read that the jaw is linked to the cervix and that the spot between your thumb and forefinger is an acupressure point linked to the uterus, so that makes me wonder if maybe these spots are tense because my cervix is changing and my uterus is contracting just a bit to prepare for labor?! I had my massage therapist work on my jaw two weeks ago and it felt a MILLION times better for a whole week after, and I have had Matt massage my thumbs a little too.

Carpel Tunnel – I’m not sure if I officially have carpel tunnel, but I’ve had trouble with my right wrist in general from computer mouse overuse and the pain is back with a vengeance. Makes me wonder if it’s related to the hand swelling and/or the thumb/palm ache. Probably so. It’s hard to do push ups flat on my hands (like I am doing so many pushups right now Winking smile ) or down dog in yoga.

Insomnia – It’s baaaaaaack. And so annoying. I woke up at 3-4am 3 (and counting) times this week and was up for 2-3 hours each time. Luckily I do eventually fall back asleep to catch a few more winks before I get up for the day. Night #2 a mug of cereal seemed to do the trick to put me back to sleep but it did not work on night #3. I was totally wired and excited thinking about going into labor! Too bad wishful thinking didn’t work : )


No real signs of labor, although every single twinge I think “could this be it starting!?” I’ve been having a good amount of lower belly ache/cramping. Kind of like the mild period cramps that I used to experience. And a few Braxton Hicks, although mostly at night. I really am not sure how often I’m having these because I feel like my uterus gets soft and firm on and off all day long, but I can’t really tell if it’s just the baby pressing out or a real Braxton Hicks. I’ve only had a handful of REALLY hard contractions that I know are BH – but they don’t hurt at all – just weird – so I know it’s not labor.

At the doctor’s this week I was still 1 cm, –2 station, but now am ~20% effaced (quote “just a little”). Still, that’s progress! I’m still well aware that these stats don’t really mean anything – although I sure wish he would engage! I’m going to work on doing more exercise ball hip loops this week, as my yoga teacher/doula says they are a great exercise to encourage good positioning for engagement in the pelvis.

Lastly, I probably shouldn’t be wearing black shirts in these photos because I hardly look pregnant from the front! Not much to see : ) Also, I am so tired of my 4 pairs of maternity shorts!



PREVIOUS 38 week posts


A Father’s Reflections On Pregnancy

Props For Mom

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65 thoughts on “38 Weeks: Out With The Old, In With The New”

  1. Hey Kath – the wrist pain you are experiencing sounds REALLY similar to what happened to me. I called it carpal tunnel for years, but eventually stumbled across “Mommy Thumb,” or De Quervain’s Tendonitis. It’s common in people who work with computers and nursing mothers, who have reptitive motions of the wrist day in and day out. Google it and check it out – a wrist brace (non-prescription, just from Walmart), helped me a TON. I wear it all night when I have flare ups, and occasionally during the day if it gets bad, and have found that a few days at most of wearning the wrist brace will completely take care of any pain – and usually I can head it off completely if I just wear the brace at night when I feel the slightest twinge coming on. Anyway, just thought I’d throw the suggestion out there!

    Good luck in these last few, exciting days of your pregnancy! You’re in the home stretch now!


    1. I didn’t experience this before my son was born, but when he was nursing, it really got my left wrist inflamed. I am with Christina, the wrist braces really help.

  2. I had carpal tunnel bad for at least 6 weeks at the end. My hands/wrists were constantly tingly, sore, would wake me up all night etc. I believe it is caused by swelling putting pressure on a certain nerve in the wrist. 1 week after delivery and it is 99% gone thankfully!
    You’re getting so close! 🙂

    1. This was me, too. It was so awful! My doctor told me it was the swelling causing constriction and is pretty common, although I had never heard of it. I had quite a bit of swelling all over (and eventually modified bed rest for high blood pressure) so it wasn’t too surprising to hear that was the cause.

  3. I remember never wanting to see my maternity clothes again by the end of pregnancy #1. Lucky for me work went business casual by #2 so I got to change it up a bit. I am sure you can’t wait to get back into everything staring at your from your closet!! It’s like having all new clothes!

  4. Yup, it’s that time! The time when all you think about is going in to labor haha.

    I hope that it comes soon! Both my boys were about a week after my ‘due’ date but I definitely was grateful I let it happen naturally. I wish they would have a due week instead of day because it’s impossible to know the exact day of conception or when the baby is ready and every day after that date I would get down about not having a baby yet,

  5. I know everyone tells you this but you really look fantastic! You wear your pregnancy well.

    Very interesting facts you mentioned. I’m especially interested in the jaw issue you have. I have TMJ and every other month or so, I’ll get a week or two period of constant pain in one side or the other of my jaw. I’ve never thought of working with a massage therapist for that. What exactly do they do?

    1. Thanks!

      Oh my gosh, the jaw massage feels SO good! She presses on points all around and under the jaw line and I felt like my jaw was normal when I left.

  6. I think I may have your flip flops. Are they made from yoga mat material? I bought a pair that look similar to yours in Vegas a couple years ago and they are made from Yoga mat material. I walked up and down that strip days in those without pain. You not looking pregnant in a black shirt face on is attributed to how well of a job you have done with not using pregnancy as an excuse to eat TOO much and staying fit and active at the same time. You have done a perfect job during your pregnancy. I can only hope that I can do half as well as you in the future.

  7. Real food makes for a great pregnancy. Keep up the good work. If you dig your thumb into the fleshy front of your forearm, just below the bend in your arm, and massage the painful pressure points there, your wrist area will start to feel better.

  8. The period-like cramps were the first sign of labor for me! I had them on and off all night on a Sunday night — intense enough to wake me some of the time. I even went to work on Monday, but by that evening, it was full-fledged labor. The anticipation is the strangest thing… I remember wondering if every little thing was a sign of impending labor and how I’d actually know. You are so close! Good luck! Feeling your baby on your skin for the first time is the most amazing thing ever.

  9. One thing that I’ve really enjoyed about your blog (and will miss) is the positive attitude you’ve maintained about pregnancy. Granted, I don’t really follow many other mom-to-be blogs, but I’m sure there are some out there where it’s more acceptable to whine about weight gain and morning sickness and back pain (note to pregnant readers: don’t shoot me; you’re all TOTALLY justified to complain as much as you want!). I just think it’s nice that even through the low points you’ve kept a positive attitude and have tried to look at this as an exciting journey. It makes me, a single woman, feel a lot less apprehensive about pregnancy in general.

  10. Ahhhhh anytime!!!!! I had my baby at exactly 39 weeks and my pregnancy has been very similar to yours. I never got to that “get this baby out of me” part. I felt great! I was only 1 cm dilated right up to a few hours before my little girl came out. I had felt just some mild cramps (like period cramps) the day leading up to labour and I had my first internal exam that day. Then just as I was going to bed my water broke!!!

    I’m so excited for you and cant wait for your little boy to arrive!!!!! Parenthood is the BEST thing in the world!!!!!

  11. Well at least you put all four pairs of your shorts to use 🙂 And I bet the thought of technically being pregnant until 42w is not exactly music to your ears right now — I highly! doubt that would ever happen!

  12. If it’s wrist/hand pain (as opposed to numb, tingly fingers) then it’s very unlikely to be carpal tunnel syndrome, which (as someone else mentioned) is compression of a particular nerve in your wrist which can be caused by swelling during pregnancy. Carpal tunnel can eventually cause pain, but numbness is the first symptom, not pain.

    I would totally believe that the swelling could also exacerbate any tendon problems or other discomfort that you already had, though, and I hope it gets better very soon!

      1. That seems likely. If it’s just gotten worse at this late stage, it’s also likely to get better quickly, too, once you have the baby and the swelling goes down. Hope so!!

  13. You look great! My first son was 13 days early, so I was so ready for #2 to be 2 weeks early.

    And he came on his due date. The first time, my labor started with “cramps” like menstrual and back aches. And I didn’t realize I was in labor until my water broke.

    I worried that the second time around I wouldn’t recognize it. UH, harder and faster for sure.

    I remember the puffy hands and feet, and still get a bit of insomnia at 3 am, sorry to say. My sweet boy is 6.5 weeks old.

    Good luck!

  14. Have you lost the mucus plug yet? How long have you been 1cm dialated? Did you experience any bleeding after your appt? Curious because I’m only a few days behind you in pregnancy and I feel like I’m experiencing a lot of the same symptoms that you are.

    1. I was 1 cm at 37 weeks. No sign of any mucus plug, although my mom was telling me about it and it sounds like it can be a pretty….big….deal to pass. Just a little bleeding after 36 week check (which he said was completely normal) but nothing after other 2

  15. Its interesting how we all get different pregnancy symptoms isn’t it?
    I never had back pain, carpal tunnel, or rib pain (like yours). But I stopped being able to sleep through the night at like 15 weeks! I always had to go to the bathroom, and by the end I was up 3 or 4 times to pee and switch sides. I also had HORRIBLE heartburn. Luckily, my heartburn went away immediately after delivery.

    Also, I don’t twitter, but I caught some of your waterbottle debate yesterday. I have a camelback with a bite valve, and I L O V E it. biggest reason? It cant spill when I put it down while nursing, and then forget it’s on the floor and kick it over. Also, it doesnt require more than one hand to operate whle nursing.

  16. I gained 24 pounds total as well. And I understand analyzing every twinge.. I had to stop myself from doing it because it made the time crawl 🙂

    Sounds like you may escape back labor…which is good because it was hard!! (Although labor is hard in general) By 9 cm I truly thought my back would break and my knees were sore from spending almost the entire labor on my hands and knees. So glad I had the freedom to get into any position I wanted. I suspected I would have back labor though because my mom had it with both me and my sister and my back killed me the entire last trimester. I did sets of different stretches three times a day to deal with it. Also when I felt those aches/cramps in my lower belly it would circle around to my back as well… do you feel them in your back at all?

      1. My little son wasn’t either… I wonder how much worse it would have been if he was, yikes.

        Good luck. 🙂

          1. Me TOO!! I expected back labor to also have pain in the front like menstrual cramps, but for me that wasn’t the case until Transition. Then everything hurt 😀

  17. Before I read how you said that you do not look pregnant when you wear black, I was going to tell you that you do not even look pregnant in that black shirt.

    Actually, my mom & mother-in-law both told me that I do not look pregnant from the back. When I was pregnant with our first child — a girl — I looked pregnant from the front & back. But now, being pregnant with a boy, I only look pregnant from the front.


  18. Hi Kath,

    Random question for you- I noticed you stopped cycling at some point during the pregnancy. Any reason for this? I’ve recently taken up spinning since I’ve been pregnant since running really wasn’t feeling “right” anymore. When you were cycling did you still push yourself or did you purposely try and hold back some? I’m not really sure how to gauge my exertion level without having a HRM.


    1. A few reasons:

      1) It was hard to lean forward when my stomach got bigger

      2) My regular cycle class was at 9:15 which got to be a little too rushed to get to

      3) My favorite teacher moved away 🙁

      4) Walking outside became more enjoyable than a dark room

      1. Gotcha, I was just curious if the doc said it wasn’t OK anymore or something. Those reasons make sense! I just wanted to make sure it was still a safe class to take. Thanks!

  19. It’s nice to hear that you’re still doing so well and taking all the aches and pains (in the butt) in stride. I’m 33 weeks this Friday and have have pretty chronic pelvic aches (generally manageable) and the carpel tunnel, complete with thumb and forefinger numbness for about two and a half weeks. They say that all of these things go away after delivering, so here’s hoping!

  20. I had insomnia like that (waking up at 2-3 and going back to sleep around 5-6 for an hour) for months during both pregnancies. So annoying. I heard there is a spike of some hormone during that time that can keep you awake, so instead of laying their trying to sleep I would just get up do something fun or productive until I felt tired again. I knew it was going to be a couple hours so just had to wait it out.

    I had period like cramps before labor….

    I can’t believe how close you are! I has been a joy watching your positive attitude while pregnant. I think I complained way too much!

  21. You look soooooo pretty!!! And what a nice shirt on you!!

    The insomnia is icky. When I had it for a couple weeks after having my back surgery, I got to the point where I stopped HOPING or expecting to go back to sleep; instead, I would just kind of yield to it – curl up on the couch with some tea and do some reading, or pop in a movie. I found it kind of mentally helped, to not try to fight it. And then you can nap at 6 when you get the yawns 🙂

  22. You look great and I love your updates. You’ve seriously changed my ideas about pregnancy, so thanks for the informal education. 🙂 I can’t believe you’re so close, very exciting!

  23. Hey Kath,

    Don’t be so sure about wanting him to engage!! My second son burrowed down there at about 36 weeks (he still wasn’t born til 40 weeks 5 days!) and I could feel him with EVERY step and it was painful to sit down. Ha, I got so tired of hearing everyone who checked me say “I can feel his head.” to which I’d reply, “So can I!!!”.
    Actually when I went it to the hospital the nurse tried to convince me my water had broken because all she could feel was head, no bag of water… (it hadn’t)

  24. You look great! I am sure the weight will fall right off! Plus, you really haven’t gained that much–you look the same, just with a bump! 🙂

  25. My hands have been giving me a lot of grief as well (especially near my left thumb). I got a dyno ball (DFX) ball on Amazon as well as a wrist brace with a thumb immobilizer. Both helped a lot, although I did have to take almost a month off knitting. Sad. But the baby blanket is back on now!!!

  26. You still look so tiny to me! Hard to believe delivery day is just around the corner. I felt like you – in other words, just fine and not really uncomfortable – up until the moment I went into labor at 38 weeks. It can really sneak up on you!

  27. Having had 2 baby boys in the past 2 years, I also experienced the hunger in the middle of the night before I delivered. What worked with me (with both pregnancies) is a slice of bread with peanut butter. A friend gave me the advise and I thought it would be too much in the middle of the night, but it ended up doing the trick. I wish you the best and can’t wait to see when you have your little one!

  28. I was told in my prenatal classes that the mucus plug is normally NOT very big, and that it is super easy to miss it – especially if it is coming out when you pee or poo – you might just wipe it away with the toilet paper and not even notice it. We were shown photographs of actual plugs (when they have left the body, etc.). Did that not get mentioned in your classes? Anyway – just wanted to throw that in there in case you happen to miss it and wonder what happened! I’m going to be looking at the toilet paper for mine now! 😉

  29. Hi Kath, I was wondering if you and Matt would be getting the tdap vaccine? Torn on this! Hubs had a bad reaction 20+ years ago to the “p” and I worry about that. (it was a seizure). Just curious about your thoughts on the tdap for parents/caregivers.

  30. I think whether it is standard may depend on what time of year you give birth.My OB & our pediatrician didn’t mention it when my older son was born (October 2007), but when my niece was born in Feb 2009, the docs did recommend that we all get it. Evidently whooping cough (“pertussis”, the p in tdap/dtap) has been on the rise where I live ( SF Bay Area) with more babies are dying, so during cold/flu season (Oct/Nov-Mar/Apr), it’s more likely to be recommended. It may also depend on where you live.

  31. I am sure you’ve read this about contractions but if you think you are in labor…lay down on your left side and drink lots water. False contractions will stop once you are laying down. The real ones do not stop once you are in a laying down position.

    You could have lots of starts and stops before the real ones…and every person and birth is so different when it comes to going in to labor….my first baby was delivered 14 hours after my water broke. Second baby came in one hour from start to finish without meds 🙂 All 10lbs, 13oz of her !!!!! She IS to this day, 9 years later, my always “on-time” and totally organized kid!!! She has always been very efficient! LOL.

  32. You look wonderful! Don’t worry you’ll be out of maternity shorts soon enough. I hate to be Debby Downer; but, if you’re rings are getting too tight, I’d definitely stop wearing them. My swelling went from minor to major in very short time and I ended up going to the fire department to have my rings cut. They are fixed now; but my finger’s still bruised.

  33. Kath,

    You are doing an awesome job! Almost there!

    Having had the same doula as you… YES, the hip exercises on the ball really work (that’s the activity I was doing in between contractions). Make sure they are big. I was practicing prior to labor in hopes of sending myself into labor, but I was corrected by said doula as they were entirely way too small! 🙂

  34. Ah carpal tunnel! I have carpal tunnel in my left hand (I’m a lefty!) and when it’s bad, it’s REALLY bad! The only thing that makes it feel better is really just resting it, which is so frustrating! I hope your wrist starts to feel better soon.

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