At 32 weeks pregnant you are probably eager to make the final preparations for birth and for the arrival of your little one.
Whether it's starting your child birthing course, or making sure your partner can drive you to the hospital, use your time and whatever energy you have to get everything ready.
32 weeks pregnant: Your Baby
At 32 weeks pregnant your baby is well and truly preparing for his entry into the world. He is practising breathing, swallowing and sucking – all the skills needed for those first few minutes and hours of life. He will weigh about four pounds and is nearly 19 inches from head to toe. By now your baby's digestive system is able to function and is ready for his first feed. Though it is still weeks away from the birth day, your baby now looks like a newborn.
At 32 weeks pregnant, you may begin to feel different movements from your baby, as he struggles for space. He is back to his curled-up position by now and is probably settled into the head-down position in your pelvis in preparation for birth. Your foetus’s head fits better at the bottom of your pear-shaped uterus and will come out head first more easily. Don't worry if your baby hasn't got into the head-down position yet, he is still likely to turn head-side-down before birth.
You may have noticed your baby's movement has decreased lately. This is because by the time you are 32 weeks pregnant he is spending lots of time sleeping, generally in sleep cycles lasting 20-40 minutes. All this sleep is so he is rested and has enough energy to last through birth. Follow his example and make sure you are also getting plenty of rest at the moment too!
32 weeks pregnant: You
Beign 32 weeks pregnant, you may be experiencing the following symptoms:
- Shortness of breath and heartburn: In week 32, pregnancy can be tough and it is common to experience heartburn and shortness of breath. This is due partly to the increase of blood being pumped around your body. Your uterus may be pushing up near your diaphragm and crowding your stomach, causing these uncomfortable symptoms of heartburn and shortness of breath. Try sleeping with lots of pillows and eating smaller meals more often to avoid having too much food in your stomach.
- Lower back pain: If you experience lower back pain being 32 weeks pregnant you should contact your caregiver as it can be a sign of premature labour. Sometimes lower back pain is due to your growing uterus and hormonal changes as the shifts in your uterus change your posture and put strain on your back. Hormonal changes can make you feel a little unstable and sometimes pain when you walk, stand or sit for a long time.
- Braxton Hicks Contractions: Many women experience contractions in later pregnancy, so at week 32 you may feel Braxton Hicks contractions. These are 'rehearsal' contractions where your uterus hardens periodically to prepare you for the real birth in the coming weeks.
Typically Braxton Hicks contractions are experienced by women who have been pregnant before, though you may feel them as your pregnancy progresses. The sensation will be similar to a tightening of your muscles at the top of your uterus, which will then spread downwards. They may last from 15 to 30 seconds (though sometimes more than two minutes). You can work out if they are signalling real labour by changing position – if they get stronger you should call your caregiver.
32 weeks pregnant: Preparing for the birth
By the time you are 32 weeks pregnant it is a good idea to have thought about the practicalities of your baby's birth and in particular who you would like to have present. Birthing is a very personal experience and you should never feel pressured to have anyone there you don't feel comfortable with. In order to prepare for your little one's birth, writing a birth plan is a great exercise!
Many women prefer to have only their partner and medical staff in the room when they gave birth, while others choose to have an additional relative present. Some mothers like to have a friend to help them too. A small percentage of women choose to give birth with the assistance of a birthing coach in the room.
Remember that your partner may be confused about their role in the birth. Always consult your partner about your decisions and explain your thinking, if someone else will be present along with them, make sure they are happy with the decision too. If you would prefer to be alone with you partner and caregivers during the birth, you can always ask the hospital staff for support in getting this across to any over-keen relatives. Often your midwife or nurse can explain why mothers may sometimes prefer only their partner to be present.
Think about whether you would like to have only one caregiver present throughout your birth. Sometimes hospitals will rotate staff, meaning you may have more than one person present during your whole birth. If you would prefer only one person to be present, a birthing partner may be a good option.
Begin enlisting the help of family and friends! You will find lots of people willing to lend a hand though sometimes new parents are shy to take them up on their offer of help. Drop them a line and ask friends to do some extra grocery shopping with their next shop. You'll be amazed how pleased people are to help while you are adjusting to the new member of the family!
As you can see, all 32 weeks pregnant future mummies have a lot to think about. Try not to be anxious and embrace all the new situations and changes. Your baby will be here very soon and you need to be prepared to change!