32nd Week Pregnancy: Symptoms, Baby Development And Body 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.

How Many Months Are 32 Weeks In Pregnancy?

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.

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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.

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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.

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[ Read: Unborn Baby’s Development ]

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.

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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 pregnancyBMI < 25BMI 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).

[ Read: 33rd Week Pregnancy ]

  • Gestational hypertension happens when the blood pressure increases after week 20. And if its symptoms such as headache, swelling on the face and in hands, and change in vision (8), develop, then it is called preeclampsia.
  • Insomnia due to the large belly, anxiety, and frequent urination.
  • 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 (10).
  • 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 (11).
  • 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.
  • Heart palpitations due to mental or physical stress, and excessive consumption of caffeine during pregnancy.
  • 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.

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

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[ Read: 29th Week Pregnancy ]

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 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.

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Pregnancy Tests During 32 Weeks Of Pregnancy

Your doctor will:

  • Advise a urine and blood pressure check
  • Check your weight
  • 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.

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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.

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[ Read: Foods To Eat In Pregnancy ]

Foods To Eat And Foods To Avoid In Week 32

Let’s see what they are:

Foods to eat:

  • 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.

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[ Read: Foods To Avoid During Pregnancy ]

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

  • Visit your doctor on the scheduled 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

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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.
  • 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.

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[ Read: Complications Of Premature Birth ]

If you have not experienced any problems in your pregnancy so far, your 32nd week is also likely to be smooth. What you can expect, however, is growing uneasiness due to the larger belly, breathlessness, change in your walking pattern, and such minor problems.

You need to be careful while walking or climbing the staircase. Hold on to the wall or a railing for strong support, and watch your step.

Do you have an experience to share? Let us know about it in the comments section.

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