With just eight weeks to go until your due date, it's time to start getting organised with baby buys and birth plans. Here's what else to expect now that you're 32 weeks pregnant and whizzing through your third and last trimester.
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What’s happening at 32 weeks?
Here are the key things you can expect from your pregnancy at this stage:
- Your baby's getting ready for the outside world.
- You'll stop feeling so out of breath soon.
- Back and pelvis pain can make life difficult.
- Time to write your birth plan (if you haven't already done it).
How big is your baby?
Your baby is about the size of a dozen cupcakes, measuring around 42cm and weighing roughly 1.7kg, having put on 200-250g in the past week alone!
Your little one's skin is becoming more opaque now, and they're practising lots of different things in there; from sucking their thumb to swallowing, breathing and kicking – all useful skills they'll need for the real world!
You'll still notice your baby kicking and moving around, although the space is becoming a lot more restrictive. You may have heard that babies move less often towards the end of the third trimester, but it's not true. Though you may notice that the exact sensation of your baby's movements change as they have less room to manoeuvre.
As always, call your midwife immediately if you notice any reduction in movement.
If you've called your midwife for reduced movement before and everything turned out to be fine, you may be reluctant to 'bother' them again. But reduced movements must always be reported, just in case.
If your baby does turn out to be distressed, getting medical help right away could save their life.
What's going on with your body?
Your baby may be starting to change their position in the womb, ready for being born.
Anytime now your baby will move down into what's called the 'engaged' position , ideally head down and ready for labour. You may notice that your bump drops a bit, though it's not always obvious, and can happen gradually.
This is sometimes known as 'lightening', or 'baby dropping'. It can be an exciting time; not only is your body starting to get ready for labour, but some of those annoying pregnancy symptoms might let up a bit.
In particular, your baby dropping should free up a bit of space around your ribs and lungs. If you've felt a bit out of breath over the last few weeks, this will help.
When your baby engages, you may also find that you can eat bigger meals, and any pregnancy heartburn you've been experiencing may ease up a bit.
If you've had a baby before though, you might not experience lightening at all. Second and subsequent babies often don't drop until labour has begun. Some first-time mums don't notice it either, so try not to worry if you don't.
Whether your baby engages or not, now can also unfortunately be a time when late pregnancy aches and pains start to become really annoying. As your body stretches to accommodate your growing baby, back pain and pelvic pain are both common complaints that can make it hard to move around.
Click on the links above to find out more about ways to easy back pain and pelvic pain yourself. But do talk to your midwife if you're struggling. Many women find that physiotherapy can help make the last weeks of pregnancy more comfortable.
The good news is that these common pregnancy discomforts should ease once you've had the baby, if not before.
What to expect this week: wanting to get organised
By now, it’s a really good idea to have the basic baby essentials ready, just in case of premature labour .
Some items, such as nursery furniture or buggies, can take a while to be delivered so it's worth ordering now to make sure they arrive on time.
If you don't want to overload yourself, the key items to have ready, before anything else, are:
- A car seat – you can't drive home from hospital without one
- A crib or Moses basket – your baby won't sleep in a big cot just yet but you'll need a basket or crib ready for those first newborn sleeps. Be sure any bedding you buy is baby-safe, too (don't use pillows or duvets, as your baby could suffocate).
- Bottles and breast pump – whether you intend to breastfeed or bottle-feed your baby, it's a good idea to have the equipment ready. Even if you breastfeed, you may choose to express into a bottle so someone else can feed your baby, in which case you'll need a steriliser , breast pump and storage bags and bottles.
- A big bag to use as your hospital bag (go for one with lots of compartments so you can easily find what you need).
- A good pram or travel system ; a sling or baby carrier can be very helpful, too.
- Newborn nappies – don't buy too many tiny nappies as your baby will grow out of them fairly quickly and may even be too big for them right away if you have a big baby.
- Vests and babygros – have a few newborn sizes and 0-3 months washed and ready so that if your baby is too big for newborn, you've got something to put them in.
Just click the links above to get tips on the best products to buy for your baby.
Having a dummy run with any equipment you’ve bought can be useful and also a great way of making partners feel more involved.
In particular, be sure you know how to fit your car seat safely ; the last thing you want to do on the day you come home from the hospital is spend hours faffing with a car seat!
What to do this week: write your birth plan
You may have done this weeks ago but if you're putting off writing your birth plan, you're not alone.
Whether it's because you're not sure what you want to happen or are anxious about actually giving birth, it's perfectly natural not to want to think about labour.
However, putting your wishes down on paper can actually help alleviate your worries – and it'll be extremely helpful for your delivery team once you go into labour.
If you start yours now, you can aim to take it along to your 34 week appointment where you can go through it with your midwife and ask any further questions.
Things to think about include:
- Where you want to have the baby?
- What kind of pain relief do you want?
- Do you want to try a water birth ?
- Will you be using hypnobirthing techniques?
- If you go overdue, do you want to be induced ?
- Do you want your partner to cut the umbilical cord ?
- How do you feel about intervention and having an emergency C-section ?
- Do you want an injection to help birth the placenta?
- Do you want your baby to have a vitamin K injection?
Remember that things don't always go exactly to plan on the day. Depending on how your labour goes and what facilities are available, you might not be able to have your exact dream labour experience.
The main priority for the healthcare team will be making sure you and your baby are safe and well. But they will take your wishes into consideration.
Try to think of your birth plan as more of a 'birth wishlist' and include what you'd like to happen if things don't go to plan.
Your 32 week to-do list
1 Do a test run of different routes to the hospital, factoring in how busy they are at different times of the day (Google maps can be helpful if you're not sure). Suss out parking options, too.
2 If you have a partner, book a date night – spending time just the two of you will be hard once the baby comes along so get some date nights in while you can! If you're flying solo, be sure to carve out some time to treat yourself with a warm bath, a good book, a chat with friends; whatever helps boost your mood.
3 Still stuck for baby name ideas? There's plenty to inspire you here .
4 Start making plans for your maternity leave, before the baby comes. Keeping busy will help keep you calm in the run-up to your due date. So note down all those last-minute jobs you need to do, like putting the finishing touches to your baby's nursery or packing your hospital bag.
5 Get prepared by reading up on exactly what to expect after your baby's born .
What to watch this week...
Get expert tips on what to expect at 32 weeks pregnant from our midwife.
Go to Your Week of Pregnancy
What happens next week...
Want to know what happens when you're 33 weeks pregnant ? Or maybe you've already forgotten what you read last week ? Just click on the numbers above to find out more about what to expect when you're that number of weeks pregnant.