Your developing baby – week 38

by Kaiser Permanente |
Fetus at week 38, illustration

At week 38, your baby is around 18 to 20 inches long and is about the size of a pumpkin. Your baby’s skull bones  are firm but flexible enough to pass through the birth canal without damage

Your body is continuing to produce hormones, such as relaxin, which help to keep both your pelvis and your baby's skuill soft and flexible in preparation for birth.

Wondering what to expect right after your baby is born? Babies can: 

  • Grasp, sneeze, cough, and suck.
  • Smell, taste, hear, and feel your touch.
  • Focus on objects that are about 8-12 inches away.

The distance from your face to your baby’s face when breastfeeding is about 8 to 12 inches. That means feeding is a perfect time to make eye contact and gently connect with your baby through touch, talking, and singing.

This article has been created by a national group of Kaiser Permanente ob-gyns, certified nurse-midwives, pediatricians, lactation consultants and other specialists who came together to provide you with the best pregnancy, birth, postpartum, and newborn information.

Some of the content is used and adapted with permission of The Permanente Medical Group.