Changes in Your Body
You may be starting to feel like you’ve been pregnant forever. Fatigue and other nagging symptoms (such as heartburn, which is common in the third trimester, partially due to your growing uterus) can do that to you. But your baby benefits from every day that they are inside your womb, and he or she will continue growing and developing until your delivery date.
It’s normal to gain one pound every week at this point. Keep your meal choices healthy, leaning toward fresh fruits and vegetables and lean proteins, and away from fried or sweet treats. That way, you’ll ensure that the pounds you’re adding are from essential nutrients for both you and baby.
Weighing in at around 4 pounds and 16 or more inches long, your baby is as long as a leaf of kale. Much of your baby’s tiny body is nearing the point where it’ll be ready for life outside the womb, but there’s still some work to do. While your baby’s bones have formed, they’re still soft. Your baby’s lungs are also still in the final development stages. Bonus: if you have an ultrasound scheduled for this time, you may be able to see a bit of hair on your baby’s head.
Twin Development at Week 32
Their lungs aren’t fully developed yet, but your babies are practicing breathing this week. They also have toenails. The lanugo that has covered your babies’ bodies until this point is now starting to fall off.
Unfortunately, pregnancy symptoms will probably continue to plague you until you give birth, but there are things you can do to make the symptoms more manageable. And remember, you are almost at the finish line.
If your breasts have started leaking a thin or yellowish fluid, don’t panic. It is a substance called colostrum, and it’s completely normal. This is your body’s way of preparing to feed your baby. If there’s enough fluid that it soaks through your bra or if it’s just uncomfortable, you may want to look into purchasing some nursing pads. If you were gifted some by friends or family at a baby shower recently, there’s no reason you can’t use them now.
Braxton-Hicks Contractions vs. Preterm Labor
Now is a great time to brush up on the difference between preterm labor and Braxton-Hicks contractions. Braxton-Hicks contractions will be infrequent and, while they may come on suddenly, they’re generally gone almost as soon as they start, typically lasting between 30 seconds and two minutes, at most. There’s also no rhythm to them, meaning they don’t continue to get worse or closer together.
There are things you can do to help alleviate the pain from Braxton-Hicks contractions. Either change what you’re doing, meaning if you’re standing, lie down, and if you’ve been resting, get up to stretch. A glass of water may also help. Dehydration can actually bring on Braxton-Hicks contractions, so remember to stay hydrated. Keeping a water bottle with you can help you to remember to drink, even while on the go. Reusable water bottles are also a great way to keep track of how much water you are drinking.
The World Health Organization estimates that 15 million babies are born preterm every year (meaning before 37 weeks of gestation), and it can happen to any woman, so it’s definitely something you should be aware of. If the contractions you’re feeling become regular or if you start to see a crescendo pattern to the pain, there might be cause for concern. Pelvic pressure is another sign of preterm labor, especially if your pain is on and off for over an hour. Any sign of preterm labor should trigger a call to your doctor. If you do go into preterm labor, try not to panic. Babies born at 32 weeks have a much higher survival rate than those born earlier, and most are spared any long-term complications.
Things to Do This Week for a Healthy Pregnancy
This week should be all about getting ready for when you bring your new baby home. While this may seem premature, it will be a lot easier to set things up now instead of once your new baby is home and you are adjusting to your new life.
Line Up Meal Support
No doubt the last thing you will want to think about once your baby arrives is what’s for dinner. Proper nutrition is extremely important for your recovery after delivery, and if you are breast-feeding, your baby will thank you for maintaining a balanced diet. Nursing mothers need an extra 400 to 500 calories per day to keep up with increased metabolic demands.
If you have the freezer space, make and freeze meals now that you can pop in the oven for a quick fix in those early weeks. You can also ask friends or family to contribute.
There are some meal delivery services that specifically cater to new parents. These can get quite expensive, but may make a nice baby shower gift. If you think you would be interested in one of these services, let a few friends or family members know so that they can spread the word.
Another option is to work with friends and family to set up a schedule for bringing you meals. If your refrigerator and freezer space is limited, receiving several casseroles your first day back from the hospital may not be very helpful. You’ll be amazed by how many people want to help, but maybe aren’t sure what to you’ll need.
Arrange Child Care
If you have other children, you should start planning what will happen when you go into labor, if you haven’t already. Is there a family member who has agreed to come watch your other child or children? Will your child stay at a friend’s house, and, if so, how will they get there?
It’s a great idea to also have a backup plan in case you go into labor ahead of schedule. If your other children are in daycare or school, also make sure you have a plan in place for who will pick them up if you go into labor during the day. Let the school or daycare know the plan as well, so the pickup goes as smoothly as possible.
When to Call the Doctor
If you are experiencing contractions, or if you think you might be experiencing them, call your doctor. You should also call your doctor if you have any of the following symptoms:
- vaginal bleeding or fluid leakage
- headache that won’t go away
- severe abdominal or pelvic pain
- burning with urination
- blurred vision