Week 32 – your third trimester

Have you started to waddle yet? It's quite normal to start waddling like a penguin, when your bump gets big. That's your body's way of compensating for all that extra weight up front. It might look a bit silly but it's your best chance of staying stable. So happy waddling!

What's happening in my body?

You probably thought you couldn't get any bigger, but over the next four weeks, you'll be gaining around a pound a week. Your baby will be bulking up too, with around a kilogram of extra fat. The extra chubbiness will help your baby to stay at the right temperature after they're born – it's very easy for little bodies to get too hot or too cold.

Your baby is probably head down now, ready for birth (the fancy term for this is cephalic presentation). Don't worry if your baby's not there yet, there's still time for a cheeky turn or two. If you get to week 36, and your baby's still not playing ball, then your doctor or midwife might offer a gentle helping hand, to encourage the baby to turn into position.

Your maternity service, your choice

You've probably got a good idea now about where you would like to give birth. Have you asked for a tour yet? It will help you to know where everything is when the big day comes. You don't want to take any wrong turns when you're in labour!

If you're having a planned caesarean section, then find out how long you can expect to be in hospital, so you can get prepared and make any arrangements for your other children. The average stay is three or four days.

Ask as many questions as you like and make sure you're confident with your choice. If you're not sure, then you can change your mind.

Find out what other people think of your local NHS maternity services.

Are you A-OK about vitamin K?

You will need to make some fast decisions when your baby is born, so it's a good idea to think about some of the issues now. Within 24 hours of giving birth, you'll be asked if you would like your baby to have vitamin K. This is recommended by the Department of Health for all babies, and it's usually given as a jab in the thigh, as this is the most effective way of getting the supplement into your baby's bloodstream. The injection is very safe.

Vitamin K is important because it helps the blood to clot and can prevent a very rare condition called vitamin K deficiency bleeding (VKDB), which can cause brain damage and even death. Although most babies will have enough vitamin K without the supplement, not all babies do, and it's impossible to tell which babies will go on to get VKDB. There are usually no warning signs before the baby becomes seriously ill.

It's your right to refuse the jab or ask for the vitamin to be given by mouth (orally) instead. Think about what is best for your baby and discuss it with your partner.

Read more about what will happen after giving birth.

Third trimester pregnancy symptoms (at 32 weeks)

Are you tired of feeling tired? Remember that putting your feet up every now and then isn't a sign of weakness - it's a sensible strategy to help you get through the day!

Your signs of pregnancy could also include:

Tommy's the baby charity has produced a pregnancy guide with a further list of symptoms.

What does my baby look like?

Your baby, or foetus, is around 42.4cm long from head to heel, and weighs about 1.7kg. That's approximately the size of a kale leaf and the weight of a joint of beef.

Your baby is perfectly formed but needs more fattening up. That's what the next few weeks are all about. As your baby gets bigger, space will get tighter in your womb. However it's a myth that your baby will stop moving as they get more cooped up. You should still feel movements, at the same rate, until you give birth. If there are any changes to the patterns, or your baby stops moving, then contact your midwife or hospital as soon as possible.

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Download Tommy’s leaflet about baby movements.

Action stations

Have you chosen a pram yet? If you're buying one second hand, then check that the brakes work, and that it's the right height for you. You might also like to get a baby sling for the first few weeks. Babies love the close contact, and you will too. Choose a carrier that will support your baby's head and check the straps are secure. Read some tips on what to buy.

This week you could also...

You have maternity rights and if you're worried about your safety at work, then talk to your employer. You shouldn't be lugging anything around, and you may need extra breaks and somewhere to sit. You can also attend antenatal appointments during paid work time.

It’s a good time to tone up those muscles ‘down under’. Gentle exercises can help to prevent leakage when you laugh, sneeze, cough or jump around on your future baby’s trampoline. Get the muscles going by pretending that you’re having a wee and then stop the ‘urine’ in midflow. Visit Tommys.org for more ideasAntenatal classes.

Attend antenatal classes to prepare you for the birth and beyond. If possible, ask your partner to come with you. Even if you’ve had children before, and been there, done that, they’re still worth going to as you can meet other parents. Also don’t expect this pregnancy to be just like your others - your baby could have other plans.

Do your best to stop smoking, give up alcohol and go easy on the cappuccinos. We know that’s easy to say, but hard to do. Ask your midwife or GP for support.

During the winter, consider taking a daily dose of the sunshine vitamin, Vitamin D. It’s recommended that you take 10 micrograms every day when you’re pregnant and breastfeeding. Find out if you’re entitled to free vitamins.

Get moving! It’s recommended that pregnant women do 150 minutes of exercise throughout the week. Perhaps take a brisk walk in the park, or go for a swim. If you start any classes, make sure the instructor knows that you’re pregnant. Don’t overdo it though - listen to your body.

Have a fit pregnancy and sign up for a free personal activity plan.

Don’t eat for two! Eat for you. Now you’re in the third trimester, you may need an extra 200 calories a day, but that’s not much. It’s about the same as two slices of wholemeal toast and margarine.

Try and eat healthily with plenty of fresh fruit and veg, and avoid processed, fatty and salty foods. You may be able to get free milk, fruit and veg through the Healthy Start scheme.

How are you today? If you’re feeling anxious or low, then talk to your midwife or doctor who can point you in the right direction to get all the support that you need. You could also discuss your worries with your partner, friends and family. You may be worried about your relationship, or money, or having somewhere permanent to live. Don’t bottle it up – you’re important, so ask for help if you need it!

Getting pregnant again is probably the last thing on your mind! However now is a good time to start planning what type of contraception you would like to use after your baby is born. Making this decision when you’re pregnant will give you one less thing to think about when you’re looking after a newborn baby. Getting pregnant again could happen sooner than you realise and too short a gap between babies is known to cause problems. Talk to your GP or midwife to help you decide and get everything in place.

This week's treat

Make someone's day with a random act of kindness. You could try something like writing a lovely message on a scrap of paper, and tucking it in a library book. Or pay for two drinks at your local coffee shop, and ask the barista to give the second drink to the next person who comes in. The idea is that being kind creates a ripple effect, spreading happiness, inspiring generosity, and making you feel great too.

Go back to week 31

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