At 32 weeks, you are in your eighth month of pregnancy, with your due date fast approaching.
You’re almost certainly feeling like the baby is running out of room in there and moving about like crazy.
There is plenty of time to get organized, and now is the time to start.
If you’re wondering what to expect at 32 weeks of pregnancy, then read on for more information.
Week 32 of Pregnancy
If you haven’t done it already, take a tour of your hospital or birthing center.
You might like to find out about the admission procedure and parking arrangements.
This is also a good opportunity to ask any questions you have about policies or procedures.
You might also start your preparation classes about this time.
It’s a good idea to have them finished by at least 36 weeks if the baby arrives early.
Birth classes cover many topics, including the signs of preterm labor.
Birth planning at 32 weeks pregnant – information is power
At your next prenatal appointment, it might be a good idea to go over your birth plan with your midwife or doctor.
A birth plan is not a script of how you expect your labor or birth to go. Remember, going with the flow is not a bad idea.
We have no control over how labor and birth go. It’s really up to your little one every step of the way.
Your birth plan simply shows that you are informed about all of your options.
Pregnancy week 32 ultrasound
Generally, you would not have an ultrasound at 32 weeks unless there was a suspected concern about your baby.
Do some research, and speak to your trusted care provider to assess whether or not you really need to have the scan.
It is not advised to have ultrasounds unless they are completely necessary.
The ultrasound waves used to produce the image expose the baby to energy in the form of heat. Under some circumstances, heat can lead to birth defects.
Unfortunately, many unnecessary scans are done without informed consent. It can lead to an intervention that is not required – especially if you are told as a result of the scan, you have a ‘big baby.’
32 weeks pregnant – baby position
Your baby at 32 weeks can be in any position she likes and might or might not be head down.
The baby has plenty of time to get in the optimal fetal position for birth.
Be careful not to recline too much. Try a more forward-leaning posture to encourage the baby into an anterior position.
Here are some things you can try that might help you in pregnancy and help get your baby into an optimal position:
- Optimal fetal positioning with Spinning Babies
- Chiropractic care
- Relaxation – let that oxytocin flow
Chat to your midwife or doctor or midwife for more advice.
And for more information, read: Optimal Fetal Positioning – How To Make Birth Easier | BellyBelly
32 weeks pregnant and iron deficiency
You might have noticed your belly button has changed shape and is being pushed outwards.
Your stomach and diaphragm are being squashed by your uterus and your growing baby.
This is making heartburn and breathlessness a feature right now.
If you are feeling tired and dizzy and experiencing shortness of breath, it’s a good idea to have your iron level checked to make sure it’s not too low.
It is normal for levels of iron in the blood to be on the low side during pregnancy. This is because your blood volume has increased by about 50%.
The possibility of iron deficiency anemia should be considered. This condition needs to be treated, as it has been linked to an increased risk of preterm labor and low birth weight.
32 weeks of pregnancy – symptoms
At 32 weeks pregnant, you might have noticed some additional vaginal discharge, which is milky white in color.
This is due to increased blood flow to the area, as well as increased hormones (estrogen and progesterone).
If the discharge is accompanied by itching, you might have thrush. You are more susceptible to this infection during pregnancy.
An offensive odor is usually a sign of thrush infection and should be mentioned to your doctor.
32 weeks pregnant – planning ahead
While you might be really excited and focused on the birthright now, now is a good time to consider some other things, too.
Breastfeeding is a learning process for both mum and her newborn.
Some babies latch on right away with no problems. Others need time to learn how to breastfeed properly. Body changes help to facilitate this adjustment.
For example, you’ve probably noticed your nipples are getting darker. This darkening helps babies find them more easily when it comes time to breastfeed.
It’s very important to dedicate some time to find some great breastfeeding resources. And make sure dads-to-be read our article Blokes, Boobs and Breastfeeding – Dads Your Support is Crucial.
At week 32 of pregnancy, perhaps you weigh up the pros and cons of banking a baby’s cord blood.
If so, make sure you read about delaying cord clamping.
Delayed cord clamping is not compatible with cord blood donation.
There are significant health benefits for your baby in letting her keep her own cord blood.
Are babies fully developed at 32 weeks pregnant?
If you could take a peek inside, you might notice some big changes happening this week.
Your baby at 32 weeks weighs about 1.8 kg (3.9 pounds) and is about 38-45 cm (14-17 inches) long – the size of a pineapple.
By now, your baby has gained enough fat so that her skin is no longer transparent.
Nearly all of your baby’s major organs are now fully developed.
The only organs that aren’t ready for life outside the womb are the lungs.
With medical help, however, your baby would have an excellent rate of survival if she were born now.
Your baby is spending every waking hour getting ready for the world.
This means practicing skills like swallowing, moving, sucking, and breathing.
Even though your baby isn’t breathing air, she practices breathing movements by taking amniotic fluid into her lungs.
By this time, if it hasn’t happened earlier, it’s likely your baby has found her way into a head-down position.
32 weeks pregnant – baby movement
Most women can feel their babies’ movements from around 20 weeks.
Individual babies develop their own pattern of movement. They might move more in the evening or in the morning. Some might kick all the time, and some not so much.
This pattern is different for each baby, but the key thing is it doesn’t tend to change.
If your baby’s pattern changes, or you feel reduced movements, you need to contact your doctor for an assessment.
There is some outdated information still going around. You might hear, for example, you should have a cold drink and the baby will move, or your baby’s movements slow down in the third trimester. Neither of these is correct.
Babies do sleep and will not be moving so much at this time. Some babies have extended periods of sleep.
We can’t always know whether they are just sleeping for a long time or whether there is a problem, so always check it out if you’re not sure.
32 weeks pregnant – signs of labor
If you’re a first-time mother, you’re probably analyzing every little niggle and symptom for signs of labor.
It’s not unusual for your body to start preparing weeks before you actually go into labor.
It’s still a little early, but getting to know the signs of labor will help you pinpoint them when it’s the real deal.
Be sure to read Signs Of Labor – 7 Signs You Might Be In Labour for more information.
It can be difficult to tell what prelabor feels like, as there can be very mild signs, which only become obvious later on.
Prelabor can go on for days – even weeks – which also adds to your frustration as you wake up each day still pregnant.
Be patient. Remember, there is a process at work behind the scenes.
You also have innate abilities when it comes to birth – even if you’ve never had a baby before.
If you have any signs of labor at 32 weeks pregnant, contact your healthcare provider or doctor immediately.
Signs of labor include:
- Period-like cramping, low in the pelvis, or backaches
- Mucus plug or ‘show’ comes away (a thick glob like substance)
- Your nesting instinct is in overdrive; you just have a feeling baby is coming soon
- Your bowel movements might change (diarrhea)
- Baby’s head is well engaged (first-time mothers); this is also called ‘lightning crotch’ as the baby can be pushing on nerves low in the pelvis
- Nausea – some women experience this at week 32
- Lots of Braxton Hicks contractions (practice contractions) or tightening of the belly
- Your water breaks, with or without contractions
Can I hurt my baby by sleeping on the right side?
You can sleep on either side. Choose the left, if possible — it is ideal for you and your baby.
This position allows for maximum blood flow and nutrients to the placenta and also means less pressure on the vena cava (a major blood vessel that leads to the heart).
It also enhances kidney function, which means better elimination of waste products and less swelling in your feet, ankles, and hands.
Try a pregnancy pillow. It might ease discomfort and help you into that comfortable sleeping position that is sometimes impossible to find.
What week of pregnancy are most babies born?
Most research suggests:
- 10% birthed by 38 weeks
- 25% birthed by 39 weeks
- 50% birthed by 40 weeks
- 75% birthed by 41 weeks
- 90% birthed by 42 weeks
What happens at a 32 week prenatal visit?
Your 32 weeks appointment involves:
- Listening to your baby’s heartbeat
- Palpating or feeling your tummy
- Discussing birth plans
- Reviewing any tests or ultrasound scans
- Booking preparation classes
What should you not see at 32 weeks pregnant?
Some of these signs to look out for:
- Headache with visual disturbances
- Constant pain in the abdomen or anywhere else
- Really sudden swelling in your legs, ankles, hands, feet, and face
- Mid sternum chest pain
- You feel like your baby is not moving or has reduced movement
- You have vaginal bleeding
- Your water breaks; if it is clear or yellow or green, baby poop (meconium) could be in the amniotic fluid
Contact your health care provider immediately if you have any of these symptoms at 32 weeks pregnant.
32 weeks pregnant cramping
Cramps during pregnancy can also be worrying. The good news is they’re fairly common and usually no cause for concern.
Usually, a nice deep bath will help settle them. Sometimes they might be Braxton Hicks contractions (practice contractions).
Braxton Hicks’s contraction is different from labor contractions. They will tighten your tummy, but they are not regular and do not increase in intensity.
Mild abdominal cramping can be a sign of preterm labor if in conjunction with:
- Regular or frequent sensations of abdominal tightening (contractions)
- Constant low, dull backache.
- A sensation of pelvic or lower abdominal pressure.
- Vaginal spotting or light bleeding.
Contact your health care provider immediately if you have any of the above symptoms.
What to pack in my hospital bags
Here are the items you might want to pack in your hospital bag:
- Comfy quality maternity bra
- Sanitary pads or some gorgeous postnatal undies
- Witch hazel on frozen pads (it really helps in the postnatal phase)
- Comfy clothes to labor in and some to change into later
- Your special pillow
- Snacks and drinks
- Camera or video recorder
- Phone and charger
- Breast pads
- Support garment
- Water bottle
- Lip balm
Here are items you may need to put in your baby’s bag;
- Nappies – disposable or cloth
- All-in-ones or ‘onesies’ – in a couple of different sizes (weight and size are always a guess until the baby is measured)
- Hat and booties
- Pacifier (better not to use this, and really only advised if the baby is unwell)
- Swaddle wrap
- Babywearing garment
Ask your partner, doula, or support people to pack if you are having those unexpected contractions.
Finally, don’t forget to put it in the car seat.
And, if you have been antenatally expressing, remember to bring the colostrum. Many women forget it because they’ve stored it in the freezer.