32nd – Thirty-second week of pregnancy

32 week of pregnancy

You are entering the eighth month of your pregnancy, and the day when you will meet your baby for the first time is not far off.

Once the 31st week of pregnancy is completed , the chances of survival of the baby are very high .

In fact, a French study shows that babies born at the thirty-second week have a more than 95% chance of surviving without long-term complications.

Childbirth during the 32nd week

In case of birth during this week you can be followed,

  • from a second-level neonatology centre, which assists pre-term newborns weighing more than 1500 grams with even moderately serious pathologies, but who do not require neonatal intensive care,
  • or from a third-level neonatology center with a neonatal intensive care unit and sub-intensive care unit, which assists pre-term infants less than 32 weeks old, or weighing less than 1500 grams

Your “birth bag” should already be ready.

From this week on you will have to avoid traveling or going too far from home, or from the center where you want to give birth.

It would also be advisable to already purchase and the accessories useful for the unborn child .

It would also be advisable, in case you haven’t already done so, for you to start a pre-natal course.

The development of the fetus at the 32nd week

The outward appearance

Your baby continues to get plumper, with his own layer of fat growing under his skin, while the fuzz (or lanugo) that had covered his body up to this point is gradually disappearing.

Fingernails have completed their development, while toenails need more time (than 35-36 weeks) to grow.

At this stage, her hair begins to acquire pigmentation.

The internal organs

Apart from the lungs which are still developing, all the other major organs have finished their maturation, and are ready to start functioning from the day the baby is born.

Although your baby is still receiving the necessary nutrients from the umbilical cord, his digestive tract has almost completed its development.

The development of bones

By week 32, your baby already has a well-formed skeleton, although it is still soft and flexible and is in the process of ossification. The fetus during the thirty-second week of pregnancy.

Fetal movements and breech position

By week 32, it is normal for babies to sleep about 90 percent of the time with short periods of activity.

Now your little one has much less room to make big jerky movements: you may therefore notice that his kicks and punches are becoming less forceful than in the past few weeks.

Most babies tend to become active in the late evening, between nine in the evening and one in the morning, when the mother is trying to sleep.

Instead, you may hear fetal hiccups at any time of the day.

It is normal that at the thirty-second week the baby can already position itself correctly upside down for birth, even if there is nothing to worry about if it still remains in the transversal position (lying on the side) or breech position (with the feet pointing the bottom): he still has some time to position himself for the birth.

The volume of the amniotic fluid increases each week (by 1.5 liters this week), which makes it easier for the baby to move and rotate in the uterus.

The 32nd week of twin pregnancy

In a twin pregnancy, the babies have less space in the uterus than a single baby and, therefore, there is nothing to worry about if you notice reduced fetal movement in week 32.

To make sure of their well-being you can take into account their palpitations and their contortions, even the small ones.

The size of the fetus

The fetus is about the size of a Mexican potato: it is about 42 centimeters long and weighs 1.7 kilograms.

The woman in the 32nd week

You can feel, approximately, the top of your uterus 12 centimeters above your belly button.

The increased levels of the hormone relaxin relax your joints and muscles to prepare your body for childbirth: they continue to make you clumsy and often make you drop your belongings, and make you hit the furniture.

Pregnancy hormones also have a huge effect on your brain too, leading to memory lapses and the “baby brain”.

You may also notice a thick, yellowish fluid (colostrum) leaking from your nipples as they prepare to feed.

The ultrasound at the 32nd week

In most cases, in the last stage of pregnancy, antenatal visits that were previously monthly become fortnightly or weekly.

At these visits, your doctor will check your blood pressure and urine, and look for swelling or vision changes to look for any signs of complications such as gestational diabetes or high blood pressure.

The symptoms of the 32nd week

During this period the most common symptoms of pregnancy consist of,

  • chest pain and shortness of breath, due to the uterus putting pressure on your ribs and lungs, preventing them from expanding properly;
  • indigestion, acid reflux and heartburn:
  • bloating and bloating;
  • joint pain in the hips and back;
  • pelvic pain;
  • round ligament pain (tightening pain around the stomach and uterus, lasting about 30 seconds);
  • coccyx pain;
  • Braxton Hicks contractions;
  • constipation;
  • tiredness;
  • headache and lightheadedness;
  • leg cramps;
  • swelling of the feet, ankles and hands (due to fluid retention and increased blood flow);
  • varicose veins and hemorrhoids;
  • itchy skin, especially around the belly, thighs, and breasts;
  • urgent urge to urinate and urine leakage when you sneeze or laugh (due to increased pressure of the growing uterus on your urinary tract);
  • loss of appetite.

Signs to watch out for

Contact your doctor in the following cases:

  • if you notice irregular or decreased fetal movements;
  • in cases of regular contractions, which gradually become more frequent, vaginal bleeding, menstrual-like cramps, mucous discharge or loss of mucus plug, flu-like symptoms (diarrhea and vomiting), discharge of clear or straw-colored watery fluid (amniotic fluid ), feeling of strong pressure in the pelvic area, throbbing pain in the lower back (these may be signs of a premature birth);
  • sudden weight gain, vision changes and swelling of the face and hands, together with constant headaches , nausea, dizziness, extreme fatigue and upper abdominal pain (may indicate high blood pressure);
  • pain or burning when urinating, abnormal and urgent urge to urinate, dark or cloudy urine accompanied by pain in the lower back and thick white / greenish / yellowish discharge (could indicate urinary tract infections, or candidiasis);
  • excessive thirst and dry mouth together with fatigue, light-headedness, sudden changes in vision, yellowish or dark urine, and an urgent urge to urinate despite little or no urine (may indicate gestational diabetes ) .

Some tips for a healthy pregnancy and baby

Some useful tips for you who are pregnant:

  • eat small and frequent meals; drink plenty of fluids to avoid common symptoms like heartburn and indigestion;
  • do prenatal yoga exercises , or light physical exercises such as swimming or taking short walks twice a day, as advised by your doctor;
  • avoid standing for long periods,
  • when sitting or lying down, prop your feet up using a stool or pillows to better manage your leg cramps and edema;
  • For some relief from hemorrhoids , ask your doctor about safe pregnancy remedies such as suppositories or ointment.
  • try to lie on your left side , as this improves blood circulation. In this way the uterus does not lean on the liver and allows more blood to be brought to the baby
  • follow a balanced diet, complete with food supplements if necessary as indicated by your doctor, to promote the development of the baby in the last weeks of pregnancy.

Katherine Johnson, M.D., is a board-certified obstetrician-gynecologist with clinical expertise in general obstetrics and gynecology, family planning, women’s health, and gynecology.

She is affiliated with the Obstetrics and Gynecology division at an undisclosed healthcare institution and the online platform, Maternicity.com.

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