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Week-by-Week Pregnancy: 32 Weeks

Week by Week Pregnancy Guide

 

With just about two months to go in your pregnancy, you're likely in prep-mode, getting ready for the big day. In the meantime, there are a few things to take note of with your baby and your own body, and a few ways you can make yourself and your little one happier and more comfortable.

The 32-week mark will bring some new sensations and challenges, but as you near the end of your pregnancy, it's helpful to know what you can expect. Let's take a look at some of the things you might be feeling, what's happening inside with your baby and what you should be doing during the last few weeks of your third trimester.

Baby at 32 weeks

Many women agree that these final weeks are some of the most uncomfortable during their pregnancy. If you feel this way, you aren't alone, and you have a good reason for this. Currently, your little one is about 16 to 17 inches long and weighs about 4 pounds, roughly the size of a cabbage or jicama (a Central American root vegetable).

Baby's development at this stage is all about gaining fat to pad and protect sensitive internal systems and organs. At this point, she is gaining about a half a pound or so each week as she works toward her birth weight.

medical 3d animation of a fetus at week 32 of pregnancy
A fetus at week 32 of pregnancy

Because baby is running out of room in your uterus, you'll likely notice a lot more movement, which can sometimes feel uncomfortable. All this stretching is a good thing for baby's development though - as she moves and kicks, she's also strengthening her muscles.

Studies show that at 32 weeks, your baby's brain patterns are similar to those of a sleeping adult. This is an exciting thought as you near the final weeks of your third trimester.

Your body at 32 weeks pregnant

pregnant woman with visible fetus at 32 weeks pregnant
A pregnant woman with visible fetus at 32 weeks pregnant

Chances are good that you're feeling a whole lot of moving and shaking going on! This is beneficial as your baby works to develop and strengthen her muscles and prepare for birth.

At 32 weeks, many babies begin to move into a head-down position, with feet up near mom's rib cage and their head toward the cervix. As she continues to grow, stretch and move, you may feel uncomfortable and even painful kicks, especially if baby's little foot gets stuck under your ribs. If this does happen, you can try lying on your side for a while or changing your body positioning a bit frequently to encourage your baby to reposition.

32 weeks pregnant ultrasound 

Your baby is growing her fingernails, toenails and hair, which might be visible in high-definition ultrasound images. Her skin is also thickening and becoming less translucent.

While your little one may already be in a head-down position, she can still move and change positions a few more times in the coming weeks. Although the fluid in the amniotic sac is reducing every day as baby grows, there is still about two pints left at 32 weeks, leaving enough space for baby to stretch, kick and move.

32 week is how many months pregnant? 

Currently, you're about seven and one-third months pregnant. 

Common symptoms at 32 weeks pregnant

Besides feeling a bit uncomfortable as baby moves around, you may also experience some heartburn and shortness of breath. At this point, your blood volume has increased up to 50 percent since conception to support your baby's growth. As she continues to gain fat and grow to her birth weight, she'll push your uterus up toward your diaphragm and stomach. If you do feel these symptoms, you can try eating smaller, more frequent meals and avoiding foods that might contribute to heartburn. In addition, try adding some extra pillows at bedtime to prop yourself up.

Another common symptom at the 32-week mark is lower back pain. Your growing belly and breasts, alongside hormone and other body changes, can cause these aches, especially when you walk, sit for a long time, bend, lift or move things. Remember to take it easy on yourself and your body and get adequate rest.

It's also important to drink enough water - carrying a water bottle with you, even just around the house, can be a handy reminder to keep your fluid intake up. Dehydration is a common worry for pregnant moms, and it's especially essential to stay hydrated during these final weeks.

You may also continue to feel Braxton-Hicks contractions, which may have started a few weeks previous in your pregnancy. These practice contractions help prepare you and your baby for birth and are totally normal - some women don't even notice the sensations.

While Braxton-Hicks can feel like muscle tightening or rolling, you may also feel small jerking feelings - these are your baby hiccuping! This is also a normal and common occurrence at this point in your pregnancy.

Finally, if you haven't already, you may notice stretch marks appearing on your belly and breasts. This, again, is very typical, and these marks will fade after your baby is born. If you're concerned, there are some creams you can try to diminish the appearance of stretch marks, but always check with your health care provider first.

Pregnancy checklist at 32 weeks

Many moms-to-be are working to finalize their birth plans and may have more frequent checkups with their doctor to make sure everything is going well leading into the end of the final trimester.

This is a good time to tie up a few details like: 

  • Your hospital bag. You can include some clothes for yourself and baby, some comforts for your hospital room and a few other essentials. It's good to have this bag packed, ready and on-hand for the big day. Learn more here about some essential items to pack in your hospital bag.
  • Decisions about pain management during labor. This is an ideal time to talk things over with your healthcare provider and your partner. Making sure you'll have relief options and that you'll be comfortable can go a long way toward quelling the anxiety that some women might feel toward the end of their pregnancies.

It can also be helpful to speak to a friend who's given birth before. Someone with experience can help put your worries to rest and better prepare you for baby's birth day.

 

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