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Book vs real life: 38 weeks pregnant

February 16, 2017


I look back on the weeks when I felt huge and want to laugh – at 38 weeks now I am truly enormous. Then I was barely showing. I was a NYMPH.


  • Walking/waddling for more than 10 minutes hurts.


  • There are lots of involuntary noises when sitting, standing, rolling, breathing etc.


  • I’m running out of clothes (the photo used for this post was taken because of the novelty of me not wearing black leggings).


  • Phoebe watched me getting dressed this morning, and earnestly said ‘Oh dear’.


But I’m weirdly feeling okay, and energy levels are pretty good (until the evening when I’m tearful and angry with discomfort). This energy is a good thing, because it has been half-term this week, and Phoebe has needed entertaining, which we have achieved through a combination of soft play, play dates, a trip to Dubai Aquarium (which I brought our nanny to, as the kid’s current favourite thing is running away from me – not fun in the world’s largest shopping mall), and a lot more screen time than recommended.


On Saturday we went for a scan, taking Phoebe for the first time. I was scared it would freak her out (being brutally honest, I find pregnancy is a totally bizarre concept, and I wouldn’t blame her for running screaming from the room when she saw a photo of a squished baby’s face on a TV when a strange man does something to her mummy’s tummy), but she was quite into it, saying hi to her little sister and thanking the doctor as we left.


We were told at the scan to get ready. Our doctor’s parting words were “See you at the hospital!” and I replied with a tight smile, saying that we’d see him at the clinic for a check-up next week because I wasn’t ready to have this baby. However, the crib is waiting, the hospital bags are ready (I just need to replenish snacks I bought and eaten) and I’ve been for a pampering session eg the last for the foreseeable.


On paper I’m ready. Emotionally, not so much.


So what do the experts at The Bump say about this stage of pregnancy? And what does a real live, terrified pregnant woman say in reply?


The book says…

Yow! If you feel a lightning bolt-like sensation running up and down your legs (and in your vagina!), don’t freak out. At 38 weeks pregnant, baby’s probably sitting pretty low in your pelvis, which means he or she is bumping into all kinds of nerves down there—including some super-sensitive ones you might not know you had.


I say…

Pain abounds. She’s head down and engaged, so it feels like my cervix is being headbutted. Which it is.



The book says…

At 38 weeks pregnant, baby is as big as a winter melon. Baby is about 19.6 inches long and his or her head is about the same circumference as the abdomen. Average baby weight at 38 weeks is 6.8 pounds. Sounds a lot like a birth weight, huh?


I say…

I don’t think they sell winter melons at Spinneys, so let’s just picture an enormous watermelon. Seems accurate. As for the weight, apparently this chubster is closer to 3.7kg or 8lbs. That’s definitely a birth weight…



The book says…

Common 38 weeks pregnant symptoms have everything to do with being really, really pregnant. Braxton Hicks contractions. Trouble sleeping. Itchy belly. Swollen feet and ankles. Anxiety.


I say…

Tick tick tick. Sob.


In conclusion…

At this stage of my first pregnancy I was pretty giddy with excitement, and couldn’t wait to meet the baby, going for reflexology, necking raspberry leaf tea (rank) and eating pots of pineapple. This time I’ve found myself googling how to delay labour (no sex, no spice, no stairs, it seems) and willing her to stay put just a little longer – until nursery starts up again.


As I said to a friend earlier this week, I’m really excited about the new series of Catastrophe. I’m really nervous about having a baby. That pretty much sums it up.


People keep saying “You’ll be great! You know what to expect this time!” and that’s true, but also I KNOW WHAT SHITSTORM IS ABOUT TO DESCEND. And an irrational part of me thinks that maybe if I re-read another book, or bank another good night’s sleep, or buy some more Dr Brown bottles, then everything will be fine. Madness.


But this baby will come when she’s ready. Hopefully after I’ve finishing this chapter of Baby Secrets



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2 responses to “Book vs real life: 38 weeks pregnant”

  1. Lana says:

    Hi, I am also 37.5 weeks pregnant 🤰 with my second baby, delivering at Al Zahra hospital. May be I will see you there ?:)

  2. Lana says:

    Wishing you an easy and smooth labor and delivery 🙏🏻👶🏼

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