32 Weeks Pregnant: Symptoms, Baby Development And Changes

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Week 32 means you are already in the third trimester. Your baby’s growth has picked up the pace, and you are closer to your due date. Curious to know the developments in your pregnancy during this week? MomJunction tells you everything, right from the size of your baby to the foods you should eat and avoid, during this week. Read on.

In This Article

How Many Months Are 32 Weeks In Pregnancy?

 How Many Months Are 32 Weeks In Pregnancy

Image: Shutterstock

If you are in the 32nd week of pregnancy, it means you are eight months pregnant. It means you are six to eight weeks away from having your baby because the full term is 40 weeks, but the delivery can happen anytime between 38 and 40 weeks. Therefore, your baby is almost fully grown by now.

Size Of The Baby At 32 Weeks

Your baby is about the size of a squash. During 32 weeks of pregnancy, your baby is about 42cm (16in) long and weighs 1-1.8kg (3 to 4lb) (1).

In a twin pregnancy, each twin may be around the same length and weight as a singleton baby. However, one twin could be slightly bigger than the other. By this time, the baby attains a body size proportionate to their head.

Your baby has all their organs functioning.

Baby Development At 32 Weeks Of Pregnancy

Your baby is matured and fattening. They are preparing to attain the optimal birthing position (vertex presentation) (2) inside the womb. Let us see the developments happening during this week (3), (4), (5):

Body partsDevelopment stage
SkinSofter and smoother. A thick coat of vernix caseosa is formed over the skin
EyesBegin to open and close
EarsAlmost developed. They can hear and recognize the sounds
FingersSeparated from each other. The baby starts sucking the thumb
Taste budsCompletely formed. The baby can recognize sweet and sour tastes
LungsAlmost developed. The baby practices to breathe using the muscles as they inhale the amniotic fluid
GenitalsBoys: Testicle descending into the scrotum
Girls: Clitoris have developed and partially covered by the labia
BonesHardened except the skull bones
LanugoStarts disappearing
HairGetting thicker
NailsFingernails and toenails are grown till the fingertips

The week 32 is significant as the fetus starts moving into an optimal birthing position. It also marks various changes in the fetal movements.

Fetal Position And Movements At 32 Weeks

The baby moves into a head-down position. This makes the baby fit properly in the pelvis, making their movement easier through the birthing canal during delivery.

If the baby is in the bottom-down-position, it is called a breech presentation. But the baby still has time to flip to the optimal position before birth. The body produces enough amniotic fluid as you approach the due date to facilitate your baby’s movements.

Fetal movements

At 32 weeks, your baby is big enough and may find little space to move around freely. The restricted movements can make you feel the baby wiggle and tap instead of roll.

The punches and kicks may not be as strong as the ones you felt earlier. You may also feel the baby’s hiccups.

As the baby spends more time sleeping, the movements will be fewer.

Got an idea what your baby will be like during this week? Now, let’s see how you are around this time.

What Are The Symptoms Of 32 Weeks Pregnancy?

Here is what happens to you during 32 weeks of pregnancy:

  • You will gain around 0.7 to 1lb (0.335kg) a week from here on (6). By this week, an optimum weight gain should be:
Week of pregnancyBMIBMI 25-30BMI > 30
3220lb (9kg13lb (6kg)11lb (5kg)
  • The blood volume increases by 50-60% to meet the increased demand for oxygen and nutrients for the fetus (7).
  • Gestational hypertension happens when the blood pressure increases after week 20. According to a study conducted by the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the prevalence of Hypertensive disorders in pregnancy has risen from 13.3% to 15.9% between 2017 and 2019. Furthermore, if hypertension is accompanied by symptoms such as headache, swelling on the face and hands, and change in vision (8), then the condition is called preeclampsia.
  • Insomnia due to the large belly, anxiety, and frequent urination.
At 32 weeks you may find difficulty in sleeping

Image: Shutterstock

  • Fatigue and heartburn as the growing uterus pushes the stomach upward, causing the gastric acids to move into the esophagus and result in heartburn.
  • Acne or skin pigmentations around the face or breasts due to hormonal changes or dermatoses. The dermatoses will wane away during the postpartum period (9).
  • Constipation due to an alteration in the bowel movements. The growing uterus pushes up your stomach, making bowel movements difficult.
  • Increased urination because of the uterus exerting pressure on the bladder.
  • Lack of interest in sex.
  • Braxton Hicks contractions as the uterine muscles tighten. This contraction lasts from 30 seconds to two minutes (9).
  • Varicose veins due to the pressure on the veins that carry blood from your legs to the pelvic area. This pressure restricts proper flow of blood. Hemorrhoids that develop near the rectal area are painful and itchy (10).
  • Leg cramps might increase in frequency during the night.
  • Milky white discharge from the vagina prevents the entry of any bacteria that can cause infections. If the discharge smells foul, then it might indicate a vaginal infection.
  • Leaking of colostrum from the nipples. It is the first milk that your breasts produce to feed your baby.
  • Shortness of breath as the uterus puts pressure on the diaphragm.
  • Back pain as the uterus stretches and weakens your abdominal muscles. This shifts your center of gravity that alters the posture, putting strain on the back. Also, the hormones relax the joints and ligaments that connect the spine to the pelvic bone, causing pain in the back.
  • The growing tummy can get itchier as the skin gets stretched. Applying a moisturizer, soothing cream, or calamine lotion will give you some relief. You may also add oatmeal to warm bathing water and soak yourself in it.
Apply a lotion if the belly gets itchy

Image: Shutterstock

The above symptoms are a result of changes happening inside and outside your body. Let’s see a few of them.

Describing her experience when 32 weeks pregnant, Tessa Rayanne says, “Heartburn a couple of times a week, but it’s not unbearable, and I haven’t had to take anything other than a couple times I had a few Tums. I’m starting to have difficulty wearing normal bras. They dig into my rib cage while I’m sitting because my uterus has taken over my entire tummy and pushes up against my ribs. It’s making breathing harder, but it’s mostly just when I sit down.

“I get leg cramps when sleeping if I point my toes to stretch my leg quickly. It’s hard to bend down now and get out of bed. I must roll to the side to avoid using my abs (which hurt from my tummy stretching). Other than that, I feel the same and have no new symptoms (i).”

Visible Changes In The Body During The 32nd Week

Here are some of the noticeable changes in your body during the week 32:

  1. A bigger bump: The baby bump measures 12-13in from the top of the uterus to the pelvic bone. The baby will drop down slowly near the pelvis in a head-down position. The top of the uterus will get raised around five inches upward from the belly button, causing trouble in breathing.
  1. Darker nipples: The areolas get darker and the nipples become erect and hard.
  1. Stretch marks: Become more prominent with the growing belly.
  1. Blue veins: Are visible around the breasts and the thighs due to increased supply of blood to these areas.

The 32nd week calls for a visit to the OB/GYN for pregnancy tests.

Pregnancy Tests During 32 Weeks Of Pregnancy

Your doctor will:

  • Advise a urine and blood pressure check
  • Check your weight
At 32 weeks pregnant monitor your weight

Image: Shutterstock

  • Check for swellings on your body
  • Measure the size of the womb
  • Monitor the fetal heart rate

Ultrasound scan at 32 weeks

  1. An ultrasound scan during the 32nd week will help:
  • Ascertain the fetal development, position of the baby, and the condition of the placenta.
  • Predict the fetal developments in the coming weeks.
  • Detect any possibility of complications in your pregnancy.
  1. An abnormality that can arise during this week is the placental dysfunctioning and its structural changes. Detecting such abnormality during the ultrasound scan can help initiate an early treatment (12).
  1. If the baby is not positioned properly, the doctor may suggest a few exercises to help the baby move upside-down.

Pregnancy tests are scheduled, and you take a prior appointment to see the doctor. But, sometimes you might have to have an emergency call with the doctor.

When To Call The Doctor?

If you are experiencing any of the following symptoms, then you need to see the doctor:

  • Contractions
  • Vaginal bleeding
  • Fluid leakage
  • Persistent fever
  • Chronic headaches
  • Severe pain in the pelvis or abdomen
  • Burning sensation while urinating
  • Blurred vision

You can avoid most problems during pregnancy by eating right and having a healthy lifestyle.

Foods To Eat And Foods To Avoid In Week 32

Let’s see what they are:

Foods to eat:

Have a healthy nutritious diet routine

Image: Shutterstock

  • Have healthy drinks such as grape juice, apple juice, almond milk, and carrot juice, but without adding sugar in it.
  • Relish on baked spinach and cheese rolls as well as less oily fried chicken and vegetables.
  • Consume foods such as chicken, peas, fish, milk, beans, fruits, etc., that are rich in iron. It helps in proper development of the fetus.
  • Include calcium-rich food that helps strengthen your baby’s bones and iron absorption in your body.
  • Add seafood and dairy products to your diet. Seafood rich in omega 3 fatty acids are essential for the development of the baby.

Foods to avoid:

  • Avoid consuming cola and alcohol.
  • Cut down on tea and coffee.
  • Limit the consumption of carbohydrates.
  • Reduce the intake of fatty foods as they could lead to extra weight gain.

It is not just about eating the right foods but eating them right. Make sure you are taking 2,200 to 2,900 calories, depending on your weight. Eat smaller meals at regular intervals.

There are also a few more things you can do to make the 32nd week easy.

Tips To Follow At 32 Weeks Pregnancy

Here are some tips you can follow:

  1. Drink plenty of water to keep yourself hydrated. It also helps supply oxygen to your baby.
  1. Take sufficient rest, and avoid standing for long hours.
  1. Make use of pillows and cushions for support while sitting and sleeping.
  1. Read books on pregnancy, maternal care and postnatal care.
  1. Arrange for a nanny if you have an older child.
  1. If you experience contractions during this week, then follow the tips given below:
  • Change your sleeping positions
  • Go for a short walk or do prenatal yoga
  • Take a warm bath for relaxation
  • Drink a cup of warm milk or herbal tea
  • Drink water as contraction can lead to dehydration
  • Keep your legs elevated when sitting
  • Try to lie down on your left side

Things To Do In 32nd Week

  • Make sure to attend all scheduled prenatal care appointments
  • Keep track of your baby’s movements
  • Learn about breastfeeding your baby
  • Attend classes on childbirth and baby care
  • Start searching a name for your little one
  • Keep yourself in a positive environment. Spend time with your partner, family and friends.
  • Start planning for the life after the baby
  • Discuss with your partner about conserving your baby’s cord blood
protip_icon Quick tip
Prepare meals during this time and freeze them if you have freezer space so you may reheat them later when you are home with the baby. You can also request support from close family and friends.

Is it safe to have sex during 32 weeks of pregnancy?

If your pregnancy is progressing well, then you can have sexual intercourse in this week. But go for safe postures that will not harm the baby. If you have any complications, the doctor might suggest you to avoid sex.

Tips For Dad-To-Be

Dad-to-be is as anxious as the mother, and hence here are some tips for him:

  • Search for a good pediatrician.
  • Help your partner with the chores and be with her during the prenatal visits.
  • Pack the hospital bag with all the necessary stuff like maternity clothes and supplies.
  • Spend more time with her by joining her in walks and pregnancy classes.
  • If your partner complains of severe contraction pain or if the water breaks, then call the doctor immediately and drive her to the hospital.
protip_icon Quick tip
Consider packing healthy snacks, cash for the vending machines, and a phone charging cable. In the case that your phone dies or GPS malfunctions as labor begins, you may want to include paper directions for going to the hospital.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. Is it safe to deliver at 32 weeks pregnant?

If you deliver your baby at 32 weeks pregnant, there is a 95% chance the baby will survive. The probability of surviving through infancy and childhood is also quite high (11).

2. How can I tell if my baby’s head is down at 32 weeks?

Once your baby turns head-down, you may feel more kicks under your ribs. You may also experience pressure in the lower abdomen and palpate the hard, round surface of your baby’s back on one side of your belly (12).

3. How long do babies sleep in the womb at 32 weeks?

According to a study, at 32 weeks, babies spend most of their time sleeping, and their sleep patterns alternate between deep and light sleep, akin to those of a newborn (4).

4. Why does it ache when my 32-week-old baby moves?

Baby’s muscles strengthen over time, making their movement more forceful. As they wriggle and squirm around, you might feel discomfort or pain. The discomfort might be persistent, like a stitch or stabbing pain (13).

5. Is 32 weeks considered premature?

Yes. Babies born at 32 weeks are considered moderately premature. These babies aren’t fully developed and often require special NICU care for better survival outcomes (14).

6. What are the risks of giving birth at 32 weeks?

Babies born at 32 weeks are immature and need significant care in the NICU and may experience temporary health concerns. In addition, they have weak and uncoordinated sucking muscles, which may make it difficult for them to breastfeed effectively (15).

If you are 32 weeks pregnant, your baby is almost fully grown. Their eyes begin to open and close, their ears can recognize the sound, and their fingers are separated. The baby starts moving down into the birthing position. You may now feel less fetal movements as your baby will mostly sleep. Your weight and blood volume will also increase. Your belly will become bigger and stretch marks will be more prominent. You may experience insomnia, heartburn, increased urination, and leg cramps. Continue having healthy food, drinking plenty of water, and taking adequate rest. Reach out to a doctor if you notice vaginal bleeding, chronic headaches, or blurred vision during this time.

Infographic: Prenatal Exams At 32 Weeks Gestation

At 32 weeks of pregnancy, your baby bump will be evident. Regular monitoring and check-ups are essential at this stage of pregnancy to avoid any complications. Check out the infographic below to learn about various tests and exams your OB/GYN may recommend during your prenatal visit.

prenatal tests and exams recommended during 32nd week of pregnancy (infographic)

Illustration: Momjunction Design Team

Get high-quality PDF version by clicking below.

Download Infographic in PDF version Download Infographic
Download Infographic in PDF version

Key Pointers

  • At 32 weeks of pregnancy, the baby moves into a head-down position for birthing.
  • You may experience insomnia, gestational hypertension, fatigue, Braxton Hicks contractions, and other signs.
  • The blood volume increases up to 60% to meet the fetus’ increased demand for oxygen and nutrients.
  • A prenatal visit includes womb measurement, fetal heart rate monitoring, ultrasound scan, and other pregnancy tests.
  • Follow useful tips, including healthy eating, drinking enough fluids, sleeping well, and reading about maternal and postnatal care.
  • Consult your doctor immediately if you experience contractions, fluid leakage, severe abdominal pain, bleeding, or other concerning signs.
32 weeks pregnant_illustration

Image: Stable Diffusion/MomJunction Design Team

It’s your 32nd week of pregnancy! Get ready for the exciting changes ahead as you prepare for the arrival of your baby. Learn what more you can expect during this week in this video!

Personal Experience: Source

References

MomJunction's articles are written after analyzing the research works of expert authors and institutions. Our references consist of resources established by authorities in their respective fields. You can learn more about the authenticity of the information we present in our editorial policy.
  1. Fetal growth and development.
    https://doh.sd.gov/media/bnemplje/fetal.pdf
  2. If Your Baby Is Breech.
    https://www.acog.org/Patients/FAQs/If-Your-Baby-Is-Breech
  3. Pregnancy week-by-week.
    https://www.nhs.uk/pregnancy/week-by-week/
  4. Stages of pregnancy.
    https://www.womenshealth.gov/pregnancy/youre-pregnant-now-what/stages-pregnancy
  5. How Your Fetus Grows During Pregnancy.
    https://www.acog.org/womens-health/faqs/how-your-fetus-grows-during-pregnancy
  6. Nutrition During Pregnancy: Part I Weight Gain: Part II Nutrient Supplements.
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK235227/
  7. Priya Soma-Pillay et al.; (2016); Physiological changes in pregnancy.
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4928162/
  8. Preeclampsia Research at the NICHD.
    https://www.nichd.nih.gov/news/resources/spotlight/101812-preeclampsia
  9. What happens in the eighth month of pregnancy?.
    https://www.plannedparenthood.org/learn/pregnancy/pregnancy-month-by-month/what-happens-eighth-month-pregnancy
  10. Hemorrhoids and Varicose Veins in Pregnancy.
    https://www.urmc.rochester.edu/encyclopedia/content.aspx?contenttypeid=134&contentid=9
  11. When Is It Safe To Deliver Your Baby?
    http://healthcare.utah.edu/womenshealth/pregnancy-birth/preterm-birth/when-is-it-safe-to-deliver
  12. Baby positions in the womb before birth
    https://www.nct.org.uk/labour-birth/getting-ready-for-birth/baby-positions-womb-birth
  13. Lightning Crotch Pain During Pregnancy
    https://americanpregnancy.org/healthy-pregnancy/lightning-crotch-pain-during-pregnancy/
  14. What is Premature Birth?
    https://www.tommys.org/pregnancy-information/premature-birth/what-premature-birth
  15. Born Too Soon: Care for the preterm baby
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3828583/
  16. Neurophysiologic Measurement of Continuity in the Sleep of Fetuses during the Last Week of Pregnancy and in Newborns
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2140151/
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