Pregnancy week 32

Week 32 of Your Pregnancy

Discover how your baby-to-be is developing at 32 weeks pregnant, and learn more about what you should expect during this intergral period.

It's week 32 of your pregnancy. Your unborn baby is growing faster than ever. All major organs (except for the lungs) are now fully developed. Your baby’s skin has changed too. And they are about the size of a Napa cabbage. But what else is going on? Learn all about their development now that you are 32 weeks pregnant. Also, learn about the importance of taking care of your prenatal mental health.

Pregnancy Week 32 Quick Facts

  • At 32 weeks, you are 8 months pregnant
  • You have 8 weeks until your due date
  • You're in the third trimester

Your Unborn Baby's Size at 32 Weeks 

Your unborn baby weighs about 3.75 pounds and is about 16.9 inches long. To put it another way, they are about the size of a Napa cabbage.

how big is baby week 32

Pregnancy Symptoms Week 32 

As you enter your eighth month of pregnancy, you may be experiencing new symptoms. That, or recurrent symptoms may (still) be popping up. Some common symptoms during week 32 of pregnancy include:

  • Hemorrhoids
  • Lower back Ppain
  • Prenatal depression, anxiety, or other mental health concerns

"Hemorrhoids are a common issue that can occur during pregnancy, especially in the third trimester," says Stanislaw Miaskowski, M.D., an OB-GYN of the Orlando Health Winnie Palmer Hospital for Women and Babies in Orlando, Florida. "Hemorrhoids are swollen veins in the rectal area that can cause discomfort and pain.” In certain instances, hemorrhoids and the rectal area can become very swollen. Get medical help if there is significant bleeding or pain, he says. "More aggressive treatments such as surgery or banding may be necessary."

Experts recommend that pregnant individuals do their best when it comes to low back pain and discomfort that may start to increase starting at week 32.

"Due to relaxing ligaments, a shifting center of gravity, stretching and weakening efficiency of abdominal wall muscles, changes in posture, and the extra weight of the pregnancy, pregnant individuals may experience low back pain," says Teresa Tan, M.D., OB-GYN at Altos Medical Group at Stanford Medicine Children's Health in Mountain View, California.

Get professional medical help if the pain is severe or persistent—especially if it’s accompanied by fever, urinary pain, contractions/labor, or vaginal bleeding since this could be a sign of premature labor or that something else is wrong, says Dr. Tan.

Anytime you have questions about any medical or health issue, be sure to contact your health care provider.

Developmental Milestones 

What's going on with your fetus during week 32 of pregnancy? Well, a lot, actually. All of the fetus’ major organs—except for the lungs—are considered to be fully developed. There are some exciting skin changes too. Your unborn baby's skin is now opaque instead of transparent, and they may be extra active: kicking, moving, and even doing somersaults. 

Prenatal Tests and Doctor's Appointments 

The majority of pregnant people will visit the doctor for a routine 32-week check-up.

Blood pressure readings are highly recommended during every prenatal visit. If you do not want to know your weight, let the staff know as soon as you're called into the exam room. 

It's important to advocate for yourself during your prenatal check-ups. Routine cervical exams are rarely necessary during every visit. Certain tests, such as urine testing are recommended each visit. Talk to your doctor about what tests are indicated and why so you can make informed decisions about your care.

Common Questions at This Pregnancy Stage

What can you do about hemorrhoids?

Hemorrhoids during pregnancy are common. In fact, it is believed that 25 to 35% of all pregnant people will get hemorrhoids. And while they can be uncomfortable, Dr. Miaskowski says there are ways to treat and (in some cases) prevent hemorrhoids. 

  • Increase fiber intake. Eating a diet high in fiber can help prevent constipation, which can exacerbate hemorrhoids. Foods such as whole grains, fruits, and vegetables are good sources of fiber.
  • Stay hydrated. Drinking plenty of water can help soften stool and prevent constipation.
  • Take warm baths:. Soaking in a warm bath can help relieve discomfort and reduce inflammation.
  • Use topical creams. Over-the-counter creams and ointments can help reduce pain and inflammation.
  • Use a donut pillow. Sitting on a donut-shaped pillow can help alleviate pressure on the rectal area and reduce discomfort.

What can you do about low back discomfort or pain?

Another common complaint during week 32 of pregnancy is low back pain. But Dr. Tan believes low back pain can be alleviated with proper support. "Lower back pain can be helped with supportive clothing and shoes, a maternity support girdle, back support when sitting, safe lifting, sleeping on one's side, a full body pillow, staying active, and prenatal yoga/stretching," Dr. Tan says. She also advises avoiding prolonged standing, or even prolonged, intensive physical therapy exercises.

How should you handle prenatal depression, anxiety, and/or other mental health issues?

When most people talk about pregnancy-related anxiety and depression, they talk about postpartum depression—a condition which affects parents after the birth of their child. However, some pregnant people will experience mental health shifts during pregnancy—and these prenatal conditions can be just as worrisome. 

If you are experiencing prenatal depression, anxiety, or another mental health issue, you should speak to your health care provider. Getting a referral to a mental health professional may be just what you need, as most prenatal conditions can be treated with therapy, medication, and/or a combination of both. Lifestyle changes can also be helpful.

Things You Might Consider This Week 

You're 32 weeks pregnant, and while you’ve probably given a lot of thought to things like baby’s nursery, parental leave, and your birth plan, now is a good time to look ahead at what comes next. It’s a great time to think about infant CPR. 

Infant CPR classes prepare you to perform CPR on a baby in the event of an emergency. They teach you life-saving skills, including how to perform rescue breathing and/or first aid from choking. And while no parent wants to think of the unthinkable, being prepared is important.

Speaking of planning ahead, if you haven’t already started looking for a health care provider for your baby, now is a great time to do so. Ask your OB-GYN, friends, and family for recommendations, and do your research, i.e. make sure they take your health insurance.

Support You May Need This Week

You may be putting the final touches on your baby’s nursery at week 32 of pregnancy—or perhaps you're just getting started. There is no wrong answer or approach. But whether you're painting or washing sheets, you may need help getting things set up. Ask your partner (if you have one) or friends and loved ones to chip in. Many hands make light work.

As your pregnancy progresses, you may find your anxiety increasing. It is normal to be stressed by the uncertainty of the future and what lies ahead. But it’s important you do not brush off or diminish your feelings. Find time for self-care, i.e. take a walk, schedule a prenatal massage, or talk to a friend. Be honest and forthcoming about your feelings and, if needed, seek professional help. You do not have to go through this alone. 

Head over to week 33 of pregnancy

What Week 32 of Your Pregnancy Is Really Like

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