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32 weeks pregnant - all you need to know

Your baby is about the size of a squash.

32 weeks infographic.

What does my baby look like in week 32?

You baby is growing fast and you're likely to be feeling lots of movements. Some babies may also 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 the sounds of your voices after they're born.

Your pregnancy symptoms in week 32

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).

Things to do in week 32

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. If you are interested in hypnobirthing, you can read all about it here.

Find out about classes that can teach you breathing techniques before the birth. Your hospital will usually run free antenatal classes that tell you all about what happens during labour and birth.

“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

Read more about what happens during labour and birth here.

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
  • whether you want to leave cutting the cord until all the blood in it has been transferred to your baby (this has been shown to have health benefits).

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.

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

NHS Choices. You and your baby at 29–32 weeks pregnant https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/pregnancy-and-baby/pregnancy-weeks-29-30-3...(Page last reviewed: 28/02/2017 Next review due: 28/02/2020).

Lennart Nilsson (2009) A Child is Born, Jonathan Cape

RCOG (2012) Obstetric cholestasis, Information for you. Royal College of Obstetrics and Gynaecologists, London https://www.rcog.org.uk/globalassets/documents/patients/patient-informat...

RCOG (2011) Obstetric Cholestasis, Green top guideline No 43. Royal College of Obstetrics and Gynaecologists, London https://www.rcog.org.uk/en/guidelines-research-services/guidelines/gtg43/

Heazell AEP, Li M et al (2017) Association between maternal sleep practices and late stillbirth – findings from a stillbirth case-control study. BJOG 2017; https://doi.org/10.1111/1471-0528.14967.

Stacey T, Thompson JM et al (2011) Association between maternal sleep practices and risk of late stillbirth: a case-control study. BMJ. 2011 Jun 14;342:d3403. doi: 10.1136/bmj.d3403.

Gordon A1, Raynes-Greenow C et al (2015) Sleep position, fetal growth restriction, and late-pregnancy stillbirth: the Sydney stillbirth study. Obstet Gynecol. 2015 Feb;125(2):347-55. doi: 10.1097/AOG.0000000000000627.

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Last reviewed on June 29th, 2018. Next review date April 1st, 2018.

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