Pregnancy week by week



Week 32 of Pregnancy

Now is the time to prepare for your labour as it really can happen at any time. It’s a good idea to read about what to expect during labour and immediately after the birth. This is the time to talk to your doctor in detail about your birth plan, options for pain relief, labour partner, different modes of delivery and the stages of labour. It is also the time to do some serious shopping and pack your hospital bag.  Our hospital checklist will help you decide what to pack in your hospital bag.

This week your doctor might choose to perform an ultrasound to check that all is fine with your baby. The scan can measure blood flow through the umbilical arteries and through the placenta. You may need another scan if:
  • You are diabetic
  • You are expecting twins

  • You have a medical condition that can affect the normal growth of your baby

  • The height of your uterus does not seem to correspond with the number of weeks you are pregnant

Your body

You may notice more Braxton Hicks contractions. The discomforts of pregnancy may be wearing you down. You may be wondering if it’s possible to get bigger than what you already are -just wait and see! There are many things you can try to help relieve some of these discomforts such as relaxation techniques, massage, balanced diet, exercise and proper posture.  Regular exercise is very important, even though it may be getting harder as you get larger and heavier. Try swimming, stretching, or walking to keep yourself fit. But, take it easy, don’t over exert yourself.

The symptoms this week will more or less be similar to what you were experiencing the previous weeks. While mild oedema is common, it becomes a matter of concern if the face and hands begin to swell. Always consult your doctor to rule out the possibility of pre eclampsia. You can also refer to our section on complications of pregnancy to learn more. You may be experiencing severe heart burn as the week’s progress. Try sleeping propped up if you are having this problem. Perhaps adding an extra pillow under your upper back while you sleep will help. Read our section on heartburn to learn about ways to alleviate this discomfort. Headaches, insomnia, and constipation are also common around this time. A healthy diet that includes lot of fibre will help combat the problem of constipation. Refer to our section on third trimester symptoms to learn more. You will also have an urge to urinate frequently as the growing uterus exerts pressure on the urinary bladder.

If you haven’t already, you may also want to begin doing Kegel exercises. Kegel exercises strengthen the pelvic floor muscles and can make your labour far easier and your bladder control far better. Kegel exercises are very simple to do and can be done anywhere at any time and without anyone knowing. It will also help return your pelvic floor and vaginal canal to normal after your birth.

How to do Kegel exercises:
  • Relax
  • Find the muscles you use to hold your urine and practice contracting and relaxing them.

  • Once you have found the proper muscles and have the hang of controlling them voluntarily, contract them and hold for ten to fifteen seconds for about twenty five repetitions  at least three times a day.

Your baby

Much of your baby’s physical development is complete by this time. Your baby is now putting on weight, mostly fat and muscle tissue, bringing the total to about 1.7 kg and 40 cm or 15.8 inches in length (crown-rump length of 28 cm). Your baby has raised eyebrows, eyelashes and even the hair on his head. The surface of the skin is still red and wrinkled. Your baby’s lungs continue to mature but will not reach full maturity for several more weeks. Your baby’s movements will peak this week then change in quantity and quality. The movements may seem more pronounced as he is now cramped inside the uterus. Remember to do your fetal kick counts.

Your baby is busy practicing skills like sucking, swallowing, coughing, breathing and even pedalling. Very soon your baby will be ready to practice those skills in the outside world. Most of the wrinkles will be disappearing from his face as the fat continues to get deposited under the skin.

During the second trimester your baby was covered with lanugo hair which will now start fading, but it may not all be gone at birth. From now on your baby’s weight will increase faster than his length. His five senses are completely functional. During this time your baby sleeps most of the day. There is a strong chance that the baby if born now would be medically healthy. Babies born earlier than 32 weeks will most likely have difficulties sucking or nursing. This also applies to babies less than 1.5 kg.


This is a crucial phase for women with high risk pregnancy such as twin pregnancy, gestational diabetes, high blood pressure. You should expect to see your doctor more often for monitoring. There is a high possibility that your baby will be delivered before your due date. If you are having a multiple pregnancy, chances are that you will be delivering before 37 weeks. While most babies will have developed significant lung, brain and digestive function by now, your doctor will want to prolong you pregnancy at 32 weeks to few more weeks. However, the opposite might be true if you suffer from high blood pressure or gestational diabetes. Your doctor may plan for an early delivery in the best interest of the mother and the baby. Read more in our section on complications of pregnancy.  If your baby comes early, you may have to be prepared for some testing times, as your baby will have to stay in the neonatal intensive care unit till the time he or she is strong enough to go home.


1) How can I differentiate between Braxton Hicks contractions and true labour pains?

Braxton Hicks contractions are less intense and last for only half a minute. They can be described as tightening in the abdomen that comes and goes. They may feel like mild menstrual cramps. These contractions are not painful and do not occur at regular intervals. You can get them to stop by simply changing your position or lying down.  The contractions are usually felt in the front of the abdomen or pelvic region.

True labour contractions come at regular intervals and last about 30-60 seconds. With time, these contractions get closer together and more intense. True contractions continue despite movement or changing positions. The contractions will gradually increase in strength. Contractions may start in the lower back and move to the front of the abdomen.

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