During your pregnancy, you may experience fatigue and other nagging symptoms, such as heartburn, which is common in the third trimester, partially due to your growing uterus. But your baby benefits from every day that they are inside your womb, and they will continue growing and developing until your delivery date.
It’s normal to gain 1 pound every week by week 32 of your pregnancy. Keep your meal choices healthy, and lean toward fresh fruits and vegetables and lean proteins, and away from fried foods or sweet treats. That way you’ll ensure you’re getting the essential nutrients that are important for both you and your baby.
Your baby will be about the length of a leaf of kale and weigh around 4 pounds by this point in your pregnancy. Much of your baby’s tiny body is nearing the point where they 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. And if you have an ultrasound scheduled for this time, you may be able to see a bit of hair on your baby’s head.
Twins’ lungs aren’t fully developed at 32 weeks, but your babies are practicing breathing this week by using their muscles to breath the amniotic fluid in and out. They are also getting oxygen at a steady rate through the umbilical cord.
The lanugo that has covered your babies’ bodies until this point is now starting to fall off. And they have toenails by this time.
You will probably continue to experience pregnancy symptoms until you give birth. At week 32 these symptoms may include:
- breast leakage
- Braxton-Hicks contractions
However, there are things you can do to make symptoms manageable.
Your breasts may have started leaking a thin or yellowish fluid, which is normal. This fluid is called colostrum. Leaking colostrum is your body’s way of preparing to feed your baby. If the fluid soaks through your bra or if it’s uncomfortable, you may want to get nursing pads—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. They typically last between 30 seconds and two minutes. There’s also no rhythm with Braxton-Hicks contractions, 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. You can change what you’re doing. For example, 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 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’re drinking.
The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that 15 million babies are born preterm every year, meaning before 37 weeks of gestation. Preterm labor can occur in any woman, so it’s something to 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 you experience pain on and off for over an hour. Any sign of preterm labor should trigger a call to your doctor. Seek immediate care if your water breaks.
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 there are usually no long-term complications.
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’ll want to think about once your baby arrives is what’s for dinner. Proper nutrition is extremely important for your recovery after delivery. And 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 during those early weeks. You can also ask friends or family to contribute.
There are some meal delivery services that cater to new parents. These can get 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 aren’t sure what you’ll need.
Arrange child care
If you have other children, you should start planning what will happen when you go into labor. 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 day care or school, 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 day care know so the plan goes smoothly.
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