Pregnancy video: 32 weeks
Your baby at 32 weeks
By now, your baby weighs 3 3/4 pounds (about the size of a large jicama) and is about 16.7 inches long, taking up a lot of space in your uterus. You’re gaining about a pound a week and roughly half of that goes right to your baby. She’ll gain a third to half of her birth weight during the next 7 weeks as she fattens up for survival outside the womb. She now has toenails, fingernails, and real hair (or at least respectable peach fuzz). Her skin is becoming soft and smooth as she plumps up in preparation for birth.
See what fraternal twins look like in the womb this week.
Your life at 32 weeks pregnant
To accommodate your and your baby’s growing needs, your blood volume has increased 40 to 50 percent since you got pregnant. And with your uterus pushing up near your diaphragm and crowding your stomach, the consequences may be shortness of breath and heartburn. To help relieve your discomfort, try sleeping propped up with pillows and eating smaller meals more often.
You may have lower-back pain as your pregnancy advances. If you do, let your doctor or midwife know right away, especially if you haven’t had back pain before, since it can be a sign of preterm labor.
Assuming it’s not preterm labor that’s ailing you, you can probably blame your growing uterus and hormonal changes for your aching back. Your expanding uterus shifts your center of gravity and stretches and weakens your abdominal muscles, changing your posture and putting a strain on your back. Hormonal changes in pregnancy loosen your joints and the ligaments that attach your pelvic bones to your spine. This can make you feel less stable and cause pain when you walk, stand, sit for long periods, roll over in bed, get out of a low chair or the tub, bend, or lift things.
Learn about: Who to include in the delivery room
Childbirth is an intensely personal experience, as is your decision whether to have additional family members, friends, or labor coaches in the birthing room with you. Here are some things to keep in mind as you prepare your guest list:
- There’s no one right decision. In a BabyCenter poll, 44 percent of expectant moms said they preferred to have no one but their partner and medical staff in the room when they gave birth, while 37 percent said they brought an additional relative, and 16 percent requested to have a friend present. Only 3 percent of respondents asked for a doula or labor coach in the birthing room.
- Get on the same page with your partner. Some husbands or partnersmay be confused about their role in the birth or reluctant to participate if others are present. If you bring in outside relatives or coaches, make sure your partner is on board with the plan.
- Inform hospital staff of your wishes. You may be under pressure from mothers or mothers-in-law who are eager to be present for the birth of their grandchild – regardless of your wishes to keep the experience private. If you want to be alone with your partner, don’t be afraid to enlist hospital staff for support in carrying out your wishes and keeping relatives out of the delivery room.
- Consider having a labor assistant. Labor and delivery nurses come and go according to their shifts, so if you’d like to be attended continuously by one person, a private labor coach or doula is a good option. In fact, some research shows that women attended by labor assistants have shorter labors, fewer labor complications, and healthier newborns. You should also give serious thought to having a doula present if you want to have a natural birth.
Take our poll: Will you use a doula?
Activity: Start lining up helpers
If friends and family can pitch in after your baby’s born, you’ll appreciate the help. It’s a good idea to prepare now to make the most of their generosity.
- Ask one friend to set up a meal schedule (there are online tools for this) so that friends can sign up to bring you dinner.
- If you have older children, line up a friend or relative to care for them while you’re at the hospital or birth center – and while you recover at home, if possible.
- Ask a friend or neighbor to take out your garbage, walk your dog, or feed your pets.