32 weeks pregnant: advice, symptoms and what to expect

32 weeks pregnant

by Stephanie Spencer |
Updated on

At thirty-two weeks pregnant, your baby is putting on weight. You might be feeling forgetful and it’s time to start planning the practical elements of giving birth. Find out more about what your baby and body are doing and the common symptoms to look out for at 32 weeks pregnant. Working out how many weeks and months pregnant you are can be tricky. At 32 weeks pregnant, you are roughly 8 months pregnant.

How big is my baby at 32 weeks?

Remember when your baby was the size of a tiny lime? Things have definitely changed now, as the big day approaches: she’s now the size of a pineapple. She weighs between three and a half and four pounds, and measures between 15 and 17 inches. It’s nearly time for her to make her big appearance! []{href='https://www.motherandbaby.com/pregnancy-and-birth/pregnancy/pregnancy-week-by-week/how-big-is-my-baby-your-baby-in-fruit-and-veg' }

What’s my baby doing at 32 weeks?

In the last few weeks of your baby’s time in your tummy, it’s all about practising for life outside of the womb. They are practising those all-important skills they will need as a baby, from breathing and sucking to swallowing and [kicking]{href='https://www.motherandbaby.com/pregnancy-and-birth/pregnancy/when-can-you-feel-your-baby-move' target='_blank' rel='noreferrer noopener'}.

Your baby’s more beautiful than ever, with the fat accumulating under her skin getting rid of that once-transparent look: they are now fully opaque. The digestive system is also ready to go in preparation for breastfeeding in just a few weeks’ time.

They have fully-fledged toenails, fingernails, and hair: gorgeous! Thanks to your baby’s growth, they are probably feeling a bit cramped in there now. That’s why you might feel a bit less dancing in there and a bit more tapping and squirming.

Don’t worry though, your baby is still super-cosy, and has even reverted back to a curled-up position for maximum comfort. Sometime soon, they’ll also move around and get into a head-first position ready for the birth. Don't worry if they aren't lying head down yet, there's still time for your little one to turn.

baby at 32 weeks

Common symptoms at 32 weeks pregnant

1. Leaking breasts

The pregnancy glamour just never ends.

This time, it’s the turn of leaky breasts to wreak havoc on your body.

As your breasts grow in the [third trimester]{href='https://www.motherandbaby.com/pregnancy-and-birth/pregnancy/your-third-trimester' target='_blank' rel='noreferrer noopener'}, they might start to leak a yellowish fluid called colostrum, the precursor to breast milk, and the first milk your baby will taste.

Consider nursing pads if the leaking becomes uncomfortable.

2. Back pain

At this point, you’ll be gaining about a pound a week, half of which will go straight to your baby. She will gain between a third and half of her birth weight during the next seven weeks as she prepares for survival outside the womb. All the changes in your body could lead you to experience lower back pain.

If you do feel pain in your lower back, tell your midwife right away, as this can be a sign of premature labour.

3. Braxton Hicks contractions

Your body may also treat you to a little something called Braxton Hicks contractions. This slightest ache is easily mistaken for the start of labour but is effectively a dress rehearsal for the big day. They’re usually not too painful and do not come at regular intervals or get closer together or feel stronger with time.

Braxton Hicks are your uterus hardening ready for labour, some women experience them more than others and they can last anything from 15 seconds to two minutes.

Braxton Hicks

You can tell if they’re real signs of labour by changing positions: if the contractions stop, don’t worry, it’s just Braxton Hicks.

If they get progressively stronger and more regular, call your midwife, as this is usually a sign of labour.

4. Heartburn

Now that your uterus is pushing up near your diaphragm and taking up so much space in your stomach, you may experience heartburn or shortness of breath.

Sleeping propped up on pillows or eating smaller meals might help to make you more comfortable.

5. Clumsiness

You’ve no doubt experienced the pregnancy brain haze known as baby brain, when, thanks to your lovely pregnancy hormones, your memory’s compromised to say the least – but what about baby-induced clumsiness?

Thanks to hormonal changes loosening your joints and ligaments and your changed centre of gravity and extra weight, you might find you’re bumping into things and tripping over a lot.

So step away from those staggering stilettos and wobbly wedges: it’s sensible shoes all the way, or at least until your little one is born.

6. Reduced appetite

You haven’t got much space in your stomach these days, so it’s no surprise you might find your appetite is reduced. Try to eat small meals at regular intervals rather than large meals.

7. Shortness of breath

The growth of your baby is pushing up against your lungs and limiting your ability to catch your breath. Remember not to push yourself and to take it easy where possible.

8. Darker nipples

Nobody knows exactly why this happens but before birth the areolas look darker.

This may be so your baby can see them more easily when breastfeeding.

What to do this week:

Make a plan: The big day is getting closer and closer, so why not take the chance now to run through everything regarding your delivery with your other half? Map out two different travel routes to the hospitaland practice to make sure you know how long they take. If you’re not having a home birth, check to see if your antenatal class will give you a tour of the hospital. If not, then make sure you organise this yourself – and familiarise yourself with the admission procedures you will have to go through when your labour commences. The more prepped you are, the more confident you’ll feel once those [contractions]{href='https://www.motherandbaby.com/pregnancy-and-birth/birth/labour-and-birth/what-do-contractions-feel-like' target='_blank' rel='noreferrer noopener'} begin.

Think about feeding: While you don't have to make any decisions until your little one makes their arrival, it's worth considering how you might like to feed your baby and preparing for this by reading around breastfeeding and bottle feeding, make sure you have necessities such as a breast pump and bottle steriliser.

Stock up on healthy snacks: You may discover you're no longer feeling very hungry any more thanks to your uterus taking ownership of your insides. However it's still important to keep your energy up so try for regular small portions of healthy food instead.

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