So You're 32 Weeks Pregnant: What Do You Need To Know?

Georgia Stone
Dec 12, 2023 By Georgia Stone
Originally Published on Mar 09, 2021
At 32 weeks pregnant symptoms may be getting uncomfortable, but your baby's digestive system is fully developed, ready for birth!
Age: 0-99
Read time: 7.9 Min

You're 32 weeks, or eight months, pregnant, how exciting!

With babies technically considered full-term anywhere from 37 weeks, you're quickly approaching 'any day now' territory! From thinking about your 32 weeks pregnant ultrasound to questions about a prenatal visit, there is a lot to think about at this stage of pregnancy.

Here at Kidadl, we know that in the third trimester there's a lot going on. From developing a hospital plan and ticking off all the final items on your baby shopping list, to dealing with some uncomfortable late-stage pregnancy symptoms, there's a lot to think about and prepare for, when you likely just want to have a snack and take a nap.

But we're here to help relieve the pressure and bring you all the key facts, from pregnancy to labor to after baby is finally born. So whether you're looking for details about what happens at your [36 week ultrasound] or advice on 37 weeks pregnant period pains on and off, Kidadl is here to help, with easy-to-read information and plenty of support.

And since you're currently 32 weeks pregnant, this article will tell you everything you need to know, about what's happening to your baby and your body, and what you can do to prepare for the birth you want.

What Happens To Your Baby In The 32nd Week?

Your baby at 32 weeks pregnant will measure between 15 to 17 inches long from head to heel, so close to the average birth length of 20 inches! If you love the fruit and vegetable size comparisons, your baby is around the size and weight of a pineapple or a squash. Baby will now typically weigh somewhere between 3.5 to 4 pounds, meaning they're nearly robust enough to join the world. If you were to experience preterm labor and have a baby born at 32 weeks, babies of this size are usually born healthy and thrive quickly, once they've had a little extra help.

And in preparation for their big arrival, they'll be practicing all the skills they're going to need outside the womb. Babies at 32 weeks pregnant will be actively sucking their fingers and toes, practicing that feeding reflex, as well as swallowing their amniotic fluid. Alongside that practice, their digestive system is also fully developed, ready for the transition to mouth feeding.

You're also sure to notice lots of kicking and arm waving, as baby continues to figure out its strange appendages and how to move them!

Because of baby's size, and the fat that is quickly developing that plumps them out, at this stage of pregnancy their skin is no longer translucent and is now more opaque like ours; although when they're born, you may still notice one or two prominent veins through their delicate skin.

Your baby at 32 weeks is also developing their hearing. They might not be able to understand what you're saying, but they can hear you and they can distinguish between voices. Talk, sing and read to them often, and encourage family and friends to talk to your bump too! It will help to build bonds and will aid baby's recognition after they are born.

When Should A Baby Be Positioned For Birth?

At 32 weeks pregnant, it's not guaranteed that baby will be head down in your uterus ready for birth.

Although you may be getting increasingly keen on baby hurrying up and getting ready to be born, at 32 weeks pregnant your baby may well not be in the head-down position yet.  

There is no definitive time that a baby enters the cephalic position, meaning they are ready for birth. Some babies will engage in the head-down position really early in the third trimester, making it rather uncomfortable for mom, because being head down doesn't necessarily equal ready for birth. And some babies like to keep mom guessing, and don't engage until labor begins.

If your baby is head up (otherwise known as the breech position) at 32 weeks pregnant, there is still plenty of time for them to shift position and techniques that can be tried, under the care of a midwife or obstetrician, to turn the baby.  

The most important thing to remember is that every pregnancy is different, so you shouldn't need to worry if your baby's not head down yet. Stay in regular communication with your healthcare provider and share any concerns you may have. They will provide you with plenty of resources and support so you know what to expect and can stay in control.

Other Things To Look Out For

At 32 weeks pregnant you might start to notice the onset of Braxton Hicks contractions. Whilst many first-time moms don't experience the contractions as strongly, Braxton Hicks at 32 weeks are often much more intense for women who have been pregnant before. They're nothing to worry about, and just your body's way of getting some practice in with those contractions, ready for the big day. They can be eased by shifting positions or taking a nice soothing warm bath.

Alongside contractions, you might also notice some cramping at 32 weeks pregnant. Whilst this is totally normal, be sure to monitor their regularity and speak to your midwife or doctor if you are concerned.

At week 32, there are some other rather uncomfortable symptoms that often start to emerge. Nighttime cramps, particularly in your legs, are very common and it might be wise to ask your healthcare provider about taking a supplement. You might also start to feel light-headed or dizzy, so manage your blood sugar and always make sure you have a drink and a healthy snack close to hand.

You may also experience shortness of breath, as your uterus takes up more and more space inside your body and pushes up into your diaphragm. And at week 32, as well as cramping your lungs, baby is also squishing your bowels, meaning you can struggle with constipation. Drinking plenty of water, eating high fiber snacks, walks, and other gentle activities like stretching and pregnancy yoga can all help to provide some relief.

By 32 weeks pregnant, your breasts are likely to be getting bigger as they prepare for milk production. At this stage, you might even start to notice leaks of the super nutritious protein-packed and nutrient-dense liquid, colostrum. Otherwise known as liquid gold, this is what you produce for baby in the first few days post-birth, before your standard breast milk comes in. Although you can't prevent leaks, try wearing some soft breast pads to soak them up, and use a nipple cream if you start to notice your nipples feeling sore.

It sounds strange, but at 32 weeks pregnant, itchy skin can really kick in and drive you crazy! As your belly gets bigger and your skin stretches and gets thinner, it's prone to drying out and feeling irritated. Incorporate daily moisturizing into your schedule and be sure to drink plenty of water. Oatmeal baths, which are often used by people with skin conditions such as Eczema, are also great to soothe and hydrate itchy skin.

Nausea at 32 weeks pregnant is common, as is indigestion, or heartburn, due to the combination of hormonal changes and your, now pretty big, baby pushing on your stomach. Your obstetrician may recommend a pregnancy-safe indigestion medicine, but you can also help to manage it by making sure you eat healthily and avoid getting too full by eating smaller meals.

Lower back pain at 32 weeks pregnant is also common as your bump gets heavier and your posture and balance shift.

What Should I Be Doing To Prepare For Birth?

Try and get as much sleep as you can

Try and get as much sleep as you can! You'll definitely want to gather your strength for the delivery, and beyond. At 8 months pregnant, it is recommended that you sleep on your side. It aids blood flow and reduces pressure on key organs, including your uterus, meaning that it's safer for you, and for baby.

You might not feel like it, but gentle exercise is a great way to prepare your body for birth. It can help encourage the onset of labor itself, as well as aiding your stamina and comfort during the delivery. But you can choose what feels right for you, based on how you're feeling and any pregnancy symptoms you may have. You may only feel up to doing some stretches at home or, you might enjoy heading out for long walks or to a pregnancy yoga class. There's no right or wrong answer, but do make sure to check with your healthcare provider if you have any medical issues that may be complicated by pregnancy yoga, or other exercises.

You might also like to start looking into perineal massage, which can help to prepare the area for a vaginal birth, reducing the risk of tearing and the need for stitches.

As well as preparing your body, also think about preparing your mind. Stay in control by preparing your birth plan early and look into suitable relaxation techniques, from meditation and breathing exercises to hypnobirthing, so you can avoid stress and stay calm.

Have you packed your hospital bag yet? By week 32, you'll want to at least have your checklist ready, even if you haven't started packing.

If you found this article helpful, then why not take a look at what developmental milestones you can expect with a 2-week-old baby and a 6-week-old baby too?

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Written by Georgia Stone

Bachelor of Arts specializing in French with Film Studies, Bachelor of Arts (Year Abroad) specializing in Literature, History, Language, Media, and Art

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Georgia StoneBachelor of Arts specializing in French with Film Studies, Bachelor of Arts (Year Abroad) specializing in Literature, History, Language, Media, and Art

Georgia is an experienced Content Manager with a degree in French and Film Studies from King's College London and Bachelors degree from Université Paris-Sorbonne. Her passion for exploring the world and experiencing different cultures was sparked during her childhood in Switzerland and her year abroad in Paris. In her spare time, Georgia enjoys using London's excellent travel connections to explore further afield.

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