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32 weeks pregnant


Your baby at 32 weeks

Baby at 32 weeks pregnant

You may notice that your baby moves differently. She should not have fewer movements but they may be less of the somersault variety on account of not having enough space.

She will also have periods of napping where you may not feel her moving much, although you can wake her up by jumping up and down, clapping your hands or drinking a cold glass of water.

If you are ever worried by how much your baby is moving you should see your antenatal team straight away. Your baby is overwhelmingly likely to be fine but the nurse or doctor who hears her heart beat or sees her leaping around on a scan will be delighted - they won't tell you off for bothering them.

  • Your baby is developing some delicious creases at the tops of her thighs and on her arms.
  • Most babies are head down now and have stopped floating around, but there is still time for your baby to do the decent thing and head for your pelvis. About a quarter of babies are breech, but this will fall to less than 5% by week 38.
  • Your baby will be having her first rapid eye movements. Every 20 to 40 minutes her brain will be going from REM sleep, in which brain activity rivals that of consciousness, and non-REM sleep, in which the brain rests. At week 32 she drowses for most of the day. Some of these hours are spent in deep sleep, some in REM sleep and some in a half-asleep, half-awake state. During REM sleep, her eyes move back and forth just as an adult's eyes do and many researchers believe that it is dreaming. Your baby may be dreaming about what she feels in the womb.
  • Her movements: she is stretching out her body and examining it with her hands. She will touch her foot with her hand or use her hand to grab her umbilical cord.
  • How she reacts to you: when babies are watched on scans they bounce up and down more when their mothers laugh. Your baby's heart rate will fall when you start talking to her as she is relaxed. 

Your body at 32 weeks pregnant

Leaking fluid It is not uncommon to leak urine if you cough or laugh when you are pregnant because you have a baby pressing on your bladder. It can be hard to distinguish between this and leaking amniotic fluid, which is clearly more of a concern.

This is another reason to have done pelvic floor exercises throughout your pregnancy as this makes it more likely you will be able to hold onto your urine even when jumping on a trampoline.

If you think there is a chance the fluid could be from your waters you need to see your antenatal team who can look to see if there is any fluid in the vagina. They may measure the pH of the fluid in the vagina to see if it is amniotic fluid - it's less acidic than urine.

You can sniff for an ammonia-type smell, which suggests urine but is not always reliable. NICE is evaluating a self-test kit to see if it is reliable. Meanwhile, see your doctor.

Bloating The slower movement of food through your digestive system can make you feel bloated and full of wind. Eat small meals, eat fibre and fruit to avoid constipation and don't eat foods that make gas, such as beans, broccoli, rich sauces, or drink carbonated liquids, including fizzy water. Don't swallow lots of air.

Air travel 

  • Airlines vary in their willingness to take you, but the Royal College of Obstetrics and Gynaecologists says it is safe before 37 weeks if you have one baby. There may be medical reasons why you should avoid a plane trip eg if you're anaemic or have had a previous premature birth.
  • There's no evidence that the change in air pressure or humidity will harm you or your baby.
  • If you are over 28 weeks, most airlines ask for a letter from your doctor saying it's safe for you to travel. There is a risk, especially with flights over four hours long, of developing a blood clot in your leg so you should discuss this with your midwife.
  • You may find your legs swell more and the lower air pressure may increase the likelihood you have a nose bleed (since your nose is already congested in pregnancy).



Pregnancy Encyclopedia book coverIllustrations taken from The Pregnancy Encyclopedia, £25, published by DK.

Disclaimer: The information in the pregnancy calendar is for general information and is not intended as a substitute for the medical advice of your own doctor or antenatal team. Not all babies develop at the same time and in the same way, so this week-by-week guide may not always match your own experience. If you have any worries, consult your antenatal team or GP.

Last updated: 4 months ago