Health Information and Tools > Patient Care Handouts >  Week 38 of Your Pregnancy: Care Instructions
Facebook Tweet Share

Main Content

Week 38 of Your Pregnancy: Care Instructions

Believe it or not, your baby is almost here. You may notice how your baby responds to sounds, warmth, cold, and light. You may even know what kind of music your baby likes.

Even if you want a vaginal birth, it's a good idea to learn about caesarean section (C-section). C-section is the delivery of a baby through a cut (incision) in your belly. It's a major surgery, so it has more risks than a vaginal birth.

During the first 2 weeks after the birth, limit visitors. Don't allow visitors who have colds or infections. Ask visitors to wash their hands before they touch your baby. And never let anyone smoke around your baby.

  • Know about unplanned C-sections. Reasons for an unplanned C-section include labour that slows or stops, signs of distress in your baby, and high blood pressure or other problems for you.

  • Know about planned C-sections. If your baby isn't in a head-down position for delivery (breech position), your doctor or midwife may plan a C-section. Or you may have a planned C-section if you're having twins or more or if your baby weighs 4 kilograms (9 pounds) or more.

  • Get as much help as you can while you're in the hospital. You can learn about feeding, diapering, and bathing your baby.

  • Talk to your doctor or midwife about how to care for the umbilical cord stump. If your baby will be circumcised, also ask about how to care for that.

  • Ask friends or family for help, as you need it. If you can, have another adult in your home for at least 2 or 3 days after the birth.

  • Try to nap when your baby naps. This may be your best chance to get some sleep.

  • Watch for changes in your mental health. For the first 1 to 2 weeks after birth, it's common to cry or feel sad or irritable. If these feelings last for more than 2 weeks, you may have postpartum depression. Ask your doctor or midwife for help. Postpartum depression can be treated.

Follow-up care is a key part of your treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor or nurse advice line (811 in most provinces and territories) if you are having problems. It's also a good idea to know your test results and keep a list of the medicines you take.

Where can you learn more?

Go to

Enter B044 in the search box to learn more about "Week 38 of Your Pregnancy: Care Instructions".

Care instructions adapted under license by your healthcare professional. If you have questions about a medical condition or this instruction, always ask your healthcare professional. Healthwise, Incorporated disclaims any warranty or liability for your use of this information.