At 32 weeks pregnant, you are now entering the 8th month of your pregnancy, with just 2 more months to go. If this is your first baby you’ll probably be feeling a real mix of excitement and a little healthy apprehension thrown in as well. Becoming a parent for the first time will mean you’ll need to make some major changes to your life. No matter how much you plan for the baby to fit in with your plans and lifestyle, there will be big differences in what you are able to achieve and how your priorities lie.
Can I have a hand please?
Your baby will depend on you to predict and care for its every need. For you to learn how to do this will take time and practice. If you’ve had a baby before, you may still be wondering how a new baby will fit in with your family and how you will find the time to care for another dependent little person. Try not to let worry consume you. Set up some supportive networks of family and friends who will be available to help you when the baby is born. Generally, people are happy to lend a hand and appreciate being asked. Although you may feel it is a little early to be doing this, it will give you some piece of mind to know that you’ve already done some planning for those early, demanding days.
Your physical changes this week
- Your belly is getting bigger and your breasts are not far behind. It’s getting harder to see your knees and your belly button may be poking out by now. There’s not much room in the space between your breasts and the start of your belly. It’s probably more comfortable now for you to wear a bra most of the time, simply because of the weight of your breasts. Some pregnant women find they need breast support from a maternity bra even when they go to sleep.
- Watch for heat rashes under your breasts, which will be aggravated by sweat. Cooling showers, a light dusting of absorbent talcum powder and good general hygiene will help you to avoid a thrush infection developing.
- You’ll probably find yourself sighing as you sit down – relieved to get the weight off your legs. Avoid marathon shopping expeditions and learn to pace yourself. It is going to become more difficult to sustain activity which requires a moderate amount of physical output. Plan your day to include a rest and some down time.
- Your weight is going up in line with your baby’s growth. Some women gain as much as half a kilogram per week in these weeks. Fluid retention can also add weight, but this is largely unavoidable in the third trimester. Watch for a sudden, rapid rise in your weight or bad headaches. These can be signs of complications developing, so check with your midwife or doctor if you experience these changes.
- Your antenatal checks will become a fortnightly affair from now on until around 36 weeks when they will increase to weekly. Get used to having your urine checked, your blood pressure measured and your tummy palpated. Although it can all seem a bit monotonous, it is important that you are monitored carefully. In the 3rd trimester, problems such as pre-eclampsia, gestational diabetes and premature labour are more common.
Your emotional changes this week
- Had enough yet? At 32 weeks pregnant, you probably aren’t quite at the stage of wanting it all to be over, though that time is fast approaching. If you’re looking after other small children the sheer physicality of being pregnancy is becoming more difficult. Bending over to them in the bath, lifting them out of a stroller, picking up endless toys off the floor will all add to your fatigue at the end of the day.
- You could feel as if you are doing the lot when it comes to your pregnancy. The truth is, you are and at this stage your partner is a bit of an observer. Tell him how you feel if you are getting resentful. Be clear with him about how he can support you and don’t expect him to read your mind.
Your baby’s changes this week
- Your baby is around 1.8 kilograms this week and just under 50 centimetres long. He/she is gaining most of his/her weight in these last few weeks, around 250 grams/week between now and 35 weeks in fact. Your baby is spending a lot of time kicking, swallowing, moving those little arms around, sucking, grimacing and frowning. He/she can even move the head from side to side and is opening and closing its eyes.
- The baby fills all the space in your uterus now, touching the sides and really using the room to its own advantage. Your nerve endings are picking up every movement so you are very much aware of there being someone along for the ride.
- Your baby is still having periods of rest and activity which may follow a similar pattern each day. Some women say that when they climb into bed is a sign for the baby to start their calisthenics. But it could be that there are little other distractions then so pregnant mothers are more aware of their baby’s movements.
- Your baby’s skin is less translucent and looks more like the perfect skin of a little baby. More fat cells are settling under its skin and plumping out those skin folds.
- Your baby’s bones are getting harder and calcifying. This means that your diet is particularly important at this stage of your pregnancy. Ensure you’re having 3-4 serves of calcium rich foods each day; milk, cheese, yoghurt, almonds, fish with edible bones, green leafy vegetables are good sources. If you can’t tolerate cow’s milk go for soy milk products which are fortified with calcium.
Tips for Week 32
- Be kind to your back when you climb out of bed. First roll onto your side and then use your hands to “walk” yourself into a sitting position. Move your bottom close to the edge of the bed so you’re not straining and leaning forward more than you need to. Get into the habit of sitting for a minute or two and then standing. Your blood pressure is lower when you are lying down, compared with when you are standing, so give it time to adjust.
- If the thought of tugging at your undies for the next 2 months is driving your spare, invest in some pregnancy underpants. Though you’re unlikely to find them in the pretty lingerie section, they will soon become your new best friends. They are made with an expanding belly in mind and sit just the right way so you’re not conscious of them all the time.
- Avoid large, infrequent meals which will make you feel as if you’ve got a brick sitting in your stomach. Instead, go for light, easy to digest foods which won’t require intensive digestion. Fruit, vegetables, toasted sandwiches, salads, yoghurt, cereals, crackers and cheese are all good staples for healthy snacking. Remember to drink plenty of water. Maintaining your hydration will help you to stay mentally alert and keep your kidneys functioning well.
- If you don’t have a good camera do some research into buying a good one. When you go into labour is not the time to be reading the instruction sheet and charging the batteries. You will be sorry if you haven’t got a camera to catch those early precious moments. Even if you don’t like photos of yourself, you will need to make an exception for the next few years.
- Speak with your midwife or doctor about the benefits of you doing some perineal stretching. If you are having a vaginal delivery, your perineum will need to stretch a lot to allow the baby’s head to emerge. An episiotomy (surgical cut) is sometimes necessary to enlarge the vaginal opening, though perineal stretching can help avoid the need for one.