32 Weeks Pregnant

4 Minute Read

At 32 weeks pregnant, you are now entering the 8th month of your pregnancy, with just 2 more months to go. If this is your first baby, you’re probably feeling a mix of excitement and a little healthy apprehension thrown in, too. Becoming a parent for the first time will mean you’ll need to make some major changes to your life. No matter how much you plan for the baby to fit in with your plans and lifestyle, there will be big differences in what you are able to achieve and where your priorities lie.

Finding support

Your baby will depend on you to predict and care for its every need. Learning how to do this will take time and practice. If you've had a baby before, you may still be wondering how a new baby will fit in with your family and how you will find the time to care for another dependent little person. Try not to let worry consume you. Set up some supportive networks of family and friends who will be available to help you when the baby is born. Generally, people are happy to lend a hand and appreciate being asked. Although you may feel it’s a little early, it will give you some piece of mind to know that you've already done some planning for those early, demanding days.

Your physical changes this week

Your belly is getting bigger and your breasts are not far behind. It's getting harder to see your knees and your belly button may be poking out by now. There's not much room in the space between your breasts and the start of your belly. It's probably more comfortable now for you to wear a bra most of the time, simply because of the weight of your breasts. Some pregnant women find they need breast support from a maternity bra even when they go to sleep.

Watch for heat rashes under your breasts, which will be aggravated by sweat. Cooling showers and good general hygiene will help. You’ll probably find yourself sighing as you sit down, relieved to get the weight off your legs. Avoid marathon shopping expeditions and learn to pace yourself. It’s going to become more difficult to sustain activity that requires moderate physical exertion. Plan your day to include a rest and some down time.

Your weight is going up in line with your baby's growth. Some women gain as much as a pound a week in these weeks. Fluid retention can also add weight, but this is largely unavoidable in the third trimester. Watch for a sudden, rapid rise in your weight or bad headaches. These can be signs of complications developing, so check with your provider if you experience these changes.

Your prenatal checks are every two weeks from now on until around 36 weeks when they’ll be weekly. Get used to having your urine checked, your blood pressure taken, and your belly palpated. Although it can all seem a bit monotonous, it’s important that you’re monitored carefully. In the 3rd trimester, problems such as pre-eclampsia, gestational diabetes, and premature labor are more common.

Your emotional changes this week

At 32 weeks pregnant, you probably aren't quite at the stage of wanting pregnancy to be over, though that time is fast approaching. If you're looking after other small children, the sheer physicality of being pregnant is becoming more difficult. Bending over to them in the bath, lifting them out of a stroller, and picking up endless toys off the floor will all add to your fatigue at the end of the day.

Pregnancy is full of emotional ups and downs, and it's common for there to be some strains in your relationship with your partner during this time. Remember to keep the communication with your partner open. Tell them about your feelings and your expectations. If you need more support, speak up. Don't expect them to read your mind.

Your baby's changes this week

Your baby is just shy of 4 pounds this week and just under 19 inches long. Baby is gaining most of his weight in these last few weeks, around a half pound per week between now and 35 weeks. Your baby is spending a lot of time kicking, swallowing, moving his little arms around, sucking, grimacing, and frowning. He can even move his head from side to side and opening and closing his eyes.

The baby fills all the space in your uterus now, touching the sides and really using the room to his advantage. Your nerve endings are picking up every movement, so you are very much aware of there being someone along for the ride.

Your baby is still having periods of rest and activity which may follow a similar pattern each day. Some women say that climbing into bed is a sign for baby to start calisthenics, but it could be that there are fewer distractions so they're more aware of baby's movements at this time.

Your baby's skin is less translucent and looks more like the perfect skin of a little baby. More fat cells are settling under his skin and plumping out those skin folds.

Your baby's bones are getting harder and calcifying. This means that your diet is particularly important at this stage of your pregnancy. Ensure you're having 3-4 servings of calcium-rich foods each day; milk, cheese, yogurt, almonds, and green leafy vegetables are good sources. If you can’t tolerate cow's milk go for alternative milk products that are fortified with calcium.

Hints for the week

Be kind to your back when you climb out of bed. First roll onto your side and then use your hands to "walk" yourself into a sitting position. Move your bottom close to the edge of the bed so you're not straining and leaning forward more than you need to. Get into the habit of sitting for a minute or two and then standing. Your blood pressure is lower when you are lying down compared to when you’re standing, so give it time to adjust.

Now may be the time to invest in some pregnancy underpants. They are made with an expanding belly in mind and sit just the right way so you're not conscious of them all the time.

Avoid large, infrequent meals, and instead go for light, easy to digest foods. Fruit, vegetables, toasted sandwiches, salads, yogurt, cereals, crackers, and cheese are all good staples for healthy snacking.

Remember to drink plenty of water. Maintaining your hydration will help you to stay mentally alert and keep your kidneys functioning well.

Speak with your provider about the benefits of doing some perineal stretching. If you’re having a vaginal delivery, your perineum will need to stretch a lot to allow the baby's head to emerge. An episiotomy (surgical cut) is sometimes necessary to enlarge the vaginal opening, though perineal stretching can help avoid the need for one.

Week 33 next!

For more information see Pregnancy Week by Week.

The information of this article has been reviewed by nursing experts of the Association of Women’s Health, Obstetric, & Neonatal Nurses (AWHONN). The content should not substitute medical advice from your personal healthcare provider. Please consult your healthcare provider for recommendations/diagnosis or treatment. For more advice from AWHONN nurses, visit Healthy Mom&Baby at health4mom.org.