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Pregnancy health centre

32 weeks pregnant

WebMD Medical Reference
Medically Reviewed by Dr Rob Hicks


How is your baby growing at 32 weeks?

Your baby is about 43cm long and weighs around 1.8kg (4lb). Your baby is getting bigger, with the layer of fat under the skin continuing to fill out the body and limbs, and the diameter of his or her head being about 10cm. Your baby is growing so rapidly in the next few weeks that he or she should put on between a third and a half of his or her birth weight between now and labour. The baby's skin may be soft and smooth, looking pinker and more opaque. Chances are your baby has a thick head of hair, but then again chances are there may be only a few strands. Thick hair at birth is no guarantee of thick hair later in life.

You should now be used to feeling your baby moving about, and you may have learnt the pattern of your baby's daily routine and will know when the baby is likely to be more active. However, with the room in the womb starting to get a bit tight and the baby's limbs starting to draw up into the foetal position, your baby's movements may gradually slow down and change – your baby should now be able to move his or her head from side to side.

If your baby is a boy, his testicles may have finally descended into his scrotum. However, you may find at birth that either one or both of his testicles are not in his scrotum at all. This is common and more than likely they will have descended by the time baby is 6 months old.

Chances of survival are excellent if your baby is born this week. Your baby's lungs may now be developed enough for a relatively healthy life without too much medical intervention.

How are you changing in week 32?

You'll still be putting on weight, roughly about 450g (1lb) a week, but about half of the weight gain goes to your baby. Since you became pregnant, your blood volume will have increased by 40–50%. You'll need more calories, but try to ensure you are getting them from healthy sources such as wholegrain bread, low-fat yoghurt, a bowl of muesli, and not sweets or junk food. Of course, this also means that your womb is still pushing up, possibly making you feel breathless or having problems with heartburn.

What you need to know in week 32

With your due date approaching, it's a good time to think about a " birth partner". This is often the baby's dad – but not always. Some men may be too uncomfortable being present at the birth, for example. If you prefer to choose a different birth partner, you could consider close family members such as your mother or a close friend. You should be considering someone who can help you through labour by encouraging you to be relaxed and confident in yourself. Alternatively, if you don't feel someone you know would be a suitable birth partner, you could pay to have the assistance of a doula (a professional person who offers emotional and practical support through childbirth), independent midwife or a birth companion from the parenting group NCT.

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