32 weeks is only 2 months away from the end of your pregnancy journey, and the end is in sight at last. Only 8 more weeks to go! At this point, your baby is starting to work out how to breathe, and is practising before birth to make sure everything is working properly. You’ll probably be experiencing some strange urges and feelings at this point, but that’s perfectly normal. You’re nearly there, and the 32 weeks pregnant stage is primarily about finalizing things and making sure you and your baby are all ready for the birth.
How big is a 32 week baby?
At 32 weeks, your baby has grown to a much larger size, having put on weight at a very high pace over the last few weeks. At this point, your baby is around 17 inches long and probably weighs about 4 pounds. That’s going to vary a fair bit between individual babies, but in most cases your baby will probably be somewhere around this length and weight.
Your baby at 32 weeks
At 32 weeks along, your baby will have grown pretty much all of its important body parts, and at this point it is primarily trying to work out how to use them. It’s going to be practising for birth, which means it’s going to be very active. Get used to feeling some kicks and wriggling for the next few weeks!
There are several different things that your baby will be practising at this point, and some of them are going to be a bit more noticeable for you than others. Let’s go through the big ones in order.
At the moment, your baby gets all of its oxygen from the amniotic fluid in your womb. When it’s born, though, it’ll need to breathe air in order to get oxygen, and that’s a big shift. In order to get used to that muscle movement, your baby will be sucking amniotic fluid into its lungs, inhaling it as breathing practice to make sure it can breathe properly after birth.
Your baby is also getting all of its nutrients internally at the moment, absorbing them via the umbilical cord and the placenta. Once it’s born, though, the baby will have to drink milk, and that’s another muscle movement that requires practice. This means that your baby will be busy learning how to suck and swallow at this point, preparing its digestive system for drinking milk properly and efficiently.
The big thing you’ll probably be noticing at this point is your baby seemingly trying to learn to dance on all of your internal organs. At 32 weeks, those kicks are going to be strong, and probably relatively frequent. You should keep an eye on how frequent the baby’s kicks are at this point, and time how long it takes for your baby to perform 10 kicks. That should be under two hours at 32 weeks, and if it takes significantly longer for you to count 10 kicks from your baby then you should call your doctor. Similarly, if you notice that the regular rate of kicks slows down or stops, call your doctor. At the moment, you should be experiencing a fairly constant rate of kicks, potentially increasing a little over the next few weeks.
The other major thing that happens at around 32 weeks is your baby arranging itself in a position better suited to birth. That’s a pretty big change, and you’ll probably notice that this means that you change shape a bit, with more of the baby’s weight positioned a bit lower down. That can change your balance a surprising amount! At around 32 weeks, most babies change their position to the cephalic position. This is a head down arrangement, in which the baby is now upside down, facing towards your back. This is the ideal position for a vaginal birth, and at this point most babies will be in the process of flipping upside down in preparation. If your baby is still head up, though, don’t worry. You’ve still got a few more weeks left in which the baby can flip upside down in preparation for birth, and it will probably happen fairly soon.
If you’re 32 weeks pregnant with twins, then you’ve probably only got about a month left to go. In many cases, twins are born at around week 37, rather than the week 40 mark that you can expect for single babies. You’re very nearly there!
Your body at 32 weeks
If you’re not having a lot of fun at this point, then don’t worry, that’s perfectly normal. You’re carrying a lot of extra weight around at this point, and that’s exhausting for everyone. It’s not an easy experience, so don’t feel afraid to take a break whenever you find the opportunity. Take things slowly, and try not to exert yourself any more than necessary. Let’s take a look at some of the main symptoms you’re likely to be experiencing at around 32 weeks pregnant.
At 32 weeks pregnant, you’ll probably be finding that you’re often short of breath. That’s because your baby is occupying most of the space inside your body, squashing all of the organs around it. At this point, it sticks up about 5 inches above your belly button, which doesn’t leave a lot of space around it! This means that your lungs don’t have all that much space, and are being squashed a bit, reducing the amount of air you can breathe in whenever you take a breath. Don’t be at all surprised if you find yourself short of breath a lot of the time! Take things easy, don’t exert yourself, and take more breaks than you have done before. Don’t worry about the baby – it’s getting plenty of oxygen, even if you feel like you’re not getting much at all!
The third trimester of pregnancy is well known for being filled with uncomfortable heartburn. Unfortunately, you’re just going to have to get used to that for the most part, although there are a few things you can do to try to reduce it a little bit. Keeping a close eye on which particular foods and eating habits cause your heartburn to flare up is a good start, as that means you’ll have a better sense of what to avoid in order to minimize your symptoms. For many people, that’s things like eating before bed, or eating spicy foods. Those precautions aren’t going to work every time, though, so it’s worth checking with your healthcare provider that you’re ok to take antacids just in case. An over the counter antacid can help a lot when your precautions fail, but always check with your healthcare provider first.
You’re also likely to experience some weird psychological symptoms at 32 weeks pregnant. You may find that you’re developing a powerful nesting instinct, which might be a bit of a strange change for you. That might manifest as a desire to set up the perfect nursery room, or finding the softest baby clothes, or even just making a big pile of soft blankets and other soft furnishings. You may also find yourself having some spectacularly weird dreams. This is perfectly normal, and is just a result of hormonal changes combined with stress and more uneven sleep.
Your life at 32 weeks
Your life experience at 32 weeks pregnant is not likely to be massively different from how it’s been the last few weeks. The biggest thing you’re likely to want to consider at this point is what you’re going to need to sort out before your baby arrives.
One major recommended action at this point is to sort out a breast pump properly (if you’re planning on getting one). Not all breasts and nipples are the same, and it’s important to sort out a proper fit for the best results. Try a few and make sure they fit as well as possible!
Dietary changes at this point can have an effect on ease of delivery. Studies have indicated that some of the chemicals found in dates can help to increase dilation just before birth, so it may be worth trying to find ways to add more dates to your diet over the next few weeks. After all, taking any possible option to make delivery easier is probably worth it at this point!
This might seem less important than the other points we’ve mentioned above, but have you thought about long baths and showers? In a couple of months, you’re going to have a new baby to take care of, and nothing gets in the way of extended showers or baths quite like a baby! You’ll miss them when they’re gone, so use your spare time over the next few weeks to relax as much as possible and take all the long showers and baths you want!
After the 32 week mark, you’ll find that you’ll probably gain around a pound per week. Half of that is the baby, while the other half is in the form of added blood and other bodily fluids (don’t question it). You’ll also soon find that your baby will change position significantly. Currently, it’ll be sitting fairly high up in your abdomen, but soon it’ll drop down lower towards your pelvis. You’ll probably notice when this happens, as it’ll ease up on your breathing and heartburn issues as the baby moves away from your lungs and chest. You’ll also find that it feels heavier, your walk changes, and that you need even more frequent bathroom breaks at this point.