Your Pregnancy Week 32

Reviewed by James Brann, MD
Learn about 

your symptoms and changes during the 32nd week of pregnancy.

Your Baby

By pregnancy week 32 your baby weighs in at roughly 3.75 pounds. Your baby is probably also roughly 16.7 inches long and may remain so for the next couple of weeks.

Changes in Your Growing Baby

Your baby will continue to grow strong and hardy for delivery. Your baby will continue to put on weight and mature during the last weeks of pregnancy. By now your baby has smooth fingernails and toenails to decorate her hands and feet.

Your Body's Development

The blood volume in your body is roughly 50 % higher than it was before pregnancy. The added blood volume is necessary to help support your baby. Many women find they are gaining roughly one pound each week during the third trimester.

Some women start to experience shooting pain in their lower back or buttocks around now. This can happen as your center of gravity continues to shift, so be sure you take care to avoid unwanted slips or falls.

Changes in Your Body

Most women are quite large at this time. If you are carrying twins you'll find your uterus is already the size a singleton moms would be at 40 weeks pregnant! If carrying one baby your uterus should measure roughly five inches above your navel. You may find that your baby is placing more pressure on your abdomen now, which can contribute to heartburn and indigestion throughout your pregnancy.
You should be drinking plenty of water and consuming foods with plenty of fiber. This will help ward of constipation and the associated side effects (like hemorrhoids). Your body is also preparing for labor and delivery, as your hips expand and your ligaments continue to stretch in the upcoming weeks.

Every woman wants the best for herself and her baby during labor and delivery. You should prepare yourself for any situation however during birth. While most deliveries go as planned, sometimes the unexpected does occur. If you go into delivery well informed however and educated regarding your choices, you'll find the birthing process less fearful and anxiety ridden.
If you need a cesarean section you should also know what to expect. You should have some knowledge of a cesarean section at 32 weeks pregnant even if you plan a natural birth, as you never can tell what will happen when it is finally time to deliver. During a C-section your baby is birthed through a small incision in your abdomen and uterus. It is a surgical procedure that must be performed in an operating room. At times c-sections are planned, particularly if the mother's or baby's health is at risk. Other times cesarean sections are the result of an emergency that may arise during delivery or even before you go into labor. Roughly one of every four babies are born via cesarean section every year in the United States. What should you know about this procedure?

First, some women plan to have a cesarean delivery. This may be due to a number of factors including:
  • Previous delivery by c-section
  • Obstruction of the birth canal due to physical problems
  • Active herpes or other infections that may harm the baby
  • Placental abnormalities that necessitate c-section delivery
  • Multiple births where the first baby isn't presenting head down

There are other instances when a cesarean section happens in an emergency. Some examples of times when this may occur include:
  • If labor isn't progressing and the health of the mother or baby is at risk
  • If the baby is not responding well to labor suggesting a problem
  • If the baby is in breech position and cannot be turned or birthed successfully
  • If bleeding is present in the vagina caused by placental abnormalities
  • If the umbilical cord has prolapsed into the vagina, which can result in fetal death

While there are risks associated with a cesarean delivery, in many cases the risks of not performing surgery may be even greater. Be sure you talk about your health and the health of your baby with your doctor. Together you can make the choice that is best for you both.

Video: What to Expect from the 32nd Week of Pregnancy



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