At week 32 you are officially entering month eight of your pregnancy. Your baby should now measure around 42cm and weigh roughly 1.7kg. In an ultrasound scan, you’ll be able to see a lot of detail now, including hair and eye lashes.
The placenta is now starting to mature and may be graded one or two already. It’s still working well and supplying your baby with all of the nutrients and oxygen it needs in either of these grades.
Whenever your baby kicks or moves about you will definitely feel it now. Space is starting to get tight in the womb and movements can all be felt.
Your baby’s eyes should now be open and the eyelids are able to blink. If you shine a light onto your stomach, your baby will actually be able to see it and react to it. The ears are also working properly now and your baby can hear sounds coming from outside the womb and your body. Your baby will also start to react to and recognize different voices.
Physically, your baby is almost completely formed. The brain is functional and firing messages along the nervous system. The skeleton is also all in place and the bones are as rigid as they will be when your baby is born.
Your baby is still swallowing amniotic fluid and digesting it. The meconium is building up in the digestive tract, ready to be passed as feces in the first few days after being born.
There is now a waxy layer of fat called vernix covering your baby. This layer is there to protect the new skin from the amniotic fluid. You’ll see this white substance covering everything after your baby is born.
If you are having a boy, your baby’s testicles are now forming and dropping into the scrotum. There are some cases where the testicles don’t initially drop into the correct place, but this usually sorts itself out on its own.
Since development is so near to being complete, your baby can actually be born now with very little likelihood of complications. Your baby may not even need a ventilator. However, the next two months in the womb are quite important to give your baby enough time to gain sufficient weight and ensure the respiratory system is mature enough to work.
How mom is feeling
From week 32 you can expect to notice a significant weight gain. This is because the baby is gaining weight so rapidly at this stage. Your body is also preparing for labor, so you can expect some interesting things to start happening.
For one, you may start to get training contractions, also known as Braxton Hicks contractions. Your stomach muscles will harden periodically but there won’t be the same intense pain you’ll feel with actual contractions.
A common symptom of this period in gestation is swelling and fluid retention. This usually shows in your legs and ankles. It’s important to drink plenty of water and other liquids, while avoiding salty foods. You should also avoid wearing shoes and pants that are tight.
As your belly protrudes further and further, you may find that your belly button sticks out. Don’t worry, this should go back to normal after you give birth.
Eating a healthy diet is very important now. Your baby is gaining weight quite rapidly, but you can control how much you gain with the right diet. Be sure to get plenty of nutrients and proteins to help your baby grow strong.
The days may seem endless right about now. You’re likely quite tired and struggling to sleep because you can’t get comfortable lying down. Try not to get stressed out and remember that you are in the final stretch.
It’s also a good idea to take the time now to get everything ready for your baby’s arrival. Make sure you have plenty of clean clothes for you and baby, as well as clean linen for beds.