Week Thirty Two: Reproductive development continues
You are 32 weeks pregnant. (fetal age 30 weeks)
- The baby is 17 inches (43cm) long and weighs 4 pounds (1.8 kilograms).
- The diameter of the head is almost 4 inches (10cm).
- Under the skin the fat layer is getting thicker.
- The toenails and fingernails are completely formed.
During this time the baby sleeps most of the day. The uterus is getting to be a small space for the baby to move about, so you may have noticed a decrease in your baby’s movements. The baby is still trying to move frequently but it just does not have enough room. The baby will turn her head from side to side and move her hands.
As space in your uterus becomes more cramped, your baby’s kicks and other movements may seem less forceful. You may want to check on your baby’s movements from time to time and do a kick count.
The baby will now weigh about 4 pounds (1.8 kg). Half of your weight gain now will go directly to baby. If you are carrying twins or more, their weight increase will be slower than singletons because of the lack of room in the uterus.
Are you waddling? This is because the ligaments in your pelvis have softened, allowing your hips to spread in preparation for birth.
This week is a real milestone as your baby’s lungs will have started to produce a substance called surfactant, which stops them from sticking together and helps them to expand. So in other words your baby is more likely to be able to take a breath of air unaided than ever before.
Research has shown that, at this point in her development, your baby is behaving almost exactly as a newborn and will continue to do so from now on. She’ll spend the majority of her day asleep or snoozing while her body gets on with the business of growing and maturing.
By now, your baby weighs 3.75 pounds (pick up a large jicama) and is about 16.7 inches long, taking up a lot of space in your uterus. You’re gaining about a pound a week and roughly half of that goes right to your baby. In fact, she’ll gain a third to half of her birth weight during the next 7 weeks as she fattens up for survival outside the womb. She now has toenails, fingernails, and real hair (or at least respectable peach fuzz). Her skin is becoming soft and smooth as she plumps up in preparation for birth.
Baby’s now the size of a squash!
Ready or not, baby’s getting ready to emerge. She’s probably in the head-down position by now, with her bottom facing up. This is the comfiest way for her body to fit in your increasingly cramped womb and will make her eventual exit (only a few months away now!) much easier. (If she’s still head-up, don’t panic — there’s still time for a flip before birth.)