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weeks pregnant

32 weeks pregnant - what to expect

Your baby is about the size of a squash.

32 weeks infographic.

What does my baby look like?

Needless to say your little squash is growing fast and they might be on the move. Some babies have turned so that they’re head down at this stage.

Your baby’s fingernails are growing - when they're born you may find they are quite long.

Their hearing is getting more sensitive too. Keep on talking and singing to them and encouraging family members to do the same - they’ll recognise your voices after they're born.

Your symptoms - what to expect

How much discharge is normal?

If you experience a big increase in vaginal discharge, or lots of leaking of something that feels like wee, contact your midwife who will be able to tell you if it’s your waters breaking early.

I’m itchy all over

Some itching around the tummy area is normal, because your skin is stretching.

However, if you have severe itching, particularly on the palms of your hands or the soles of your feet, it’s worse at night and there’s no rash with it, you should see your midwife and be tested for a liver condition called obstetric cholestasis.

Suffering from constipation, cramps, swollen feet or heartburn?

Here's our guide to 10 common pregnancy complaints (and how to avoid them).

Actions to take

Go to sleep on your side

When you reach your third trimester, the advice is to go to sleep on your side. Research has shown that going to sleep on your back is linked to an increased risk of stillbirth. This advice includes daytime napping and night sleeping. Read more about safe sleep positions in pregnancy.

Practise your breathing

If you haven’t already, now’s the time to start practising your breathing. Slow rhythmic breathing will put you into a more relaxed state that should help you cope better in labour.

Find out about classes that can teach you breathing techniques before the birth. Your midwife - or organisations such as the National Childbirth Trust - may be able to help.

“I found breathing was the best form of pain relief throughout my labour. My husband counted me through the breaths. I couldn’t have done it without him.”Louise, mum of two

Your birth plan

It’s not too early to start thinking about making your birth plan. This helps everyone know your preferences during labour and birth.

It can include information about:

  • Your birth partner
  • What kind of pain relief you want
  • Whether you want an injection to help you deliver the placenta.

Your midwife can go through your options with you and help you write the plan if you want.

You can check with your midwife that your birth plan is realistic - if your pregnancy is high-risk for some reason, you’re unlikely to be able to have a home birth, for example.

What are my options for where to give birth?

Keep in mind that birth plans need to be flexible. The team looking after you during labour and birth will do their best to follow your plan, but sometimes it just isn’t possible.

Remember, too, that you might change your mind on the day about how you would like things to happen - and that’s fine too!

Who is your birth partner?

If you’re feeling daunted about labour and birth, think about who would be the best birth partner for you. It doesn’t have to be the father of your baby - you could have your mum, sister or a close friend with you.

You could also consider a doula to help you with breathing, relaxation and positions.

Find out who you can choose to be your birth partner.

Try these five positive ways to prepare for labour.

Sources

1. http://e.informationserviceforparents.nhs.uk/interface/external_view_email.php?AF10763776531340373&varId=

2. Lennart Nilsson (2009) A Child is Born, Jonathan Cape, p. 208

3. Doula UK (2014) What is a doula?, London: Doula UK:http://doula.org.uk/content/what-doula [accessed 30 March 2015].

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Last reviewed on April 1st, 2015. Next review date April 1st, 2018.

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