Week 32 of Your Pregnancy

Pregnancy Week by Week: Week 32

Verywell / Bailey Mariner

At 32 weeks pregnant, it's highly likely that your baby has already turned head-down in your uterus preparing for birth. Your baby is also getting better at regulating their body temperature—an important development for life outside the womb. Meanwhile, you may notice a change in your baby's movements as they have less room to move around.

32 Weeks Pregnant Is How Many Months? 8 months

Which Trimester? Third trimester

How Many Weeks to Go? 8 weeks

Your Baby's Development at 32 Weeks

At 32 weeks, a baby is over 11 1/2 inches (29.3 centimeters) from the top of their head to the bottom of their buttocks (known as the crown-rump length). The baby's height is about 16 1/4 inches (41.6 centimeters) from the top of their head to their heel (crown-heel length). This week, the baby weighs over 4 pounds (1,901 grams).

At 32 weeks pregnant, your baby is about the length of a high chair seat
Verywell / Bailey Mariner 

Upside Down

About 97% of babies are born head first. As babies get closer to their birthday, they tend to turn upside down in the uterus to prepare. By 32 weeks, 85% of babies are in the head-down position.

Don't worry if your baby hasn't turned yet. Some babies wait a little longer. In fact, it can take up to 37 weeks for the full 97% to turn into position. Your provider will continue to monitor your baby's position at every prenatal visit.

Body Temperature

Your baby started putting on brown fat (the type of fat needed to keep warm after leaving the womb) in the middle of the second trimester. At 32 weeks, your baby's body has also increased production of a protein and an enzyme necessary for generating body heat, which means they can now regulate their body temperature better.

Startle Reflex

Most babies display the startle or Moro reflex by 32 weeks. A loud noise or a movement can cause the baby to appear startled, suddenly throw their arms and legs away from their body then bring them back in. Babies are born with the startle reflex, but it disappears a few months after birth.

Sleep Cycle

Your baby is also showing evidence of cycling through stages of sleep and wake times, and their brain activity now shows active sleep.

Survival Outside the Womb

At 32 weeks, babies reach a mini-milestone and move from the very preterm category to the moderate preterm category. Babies' lungs are continuing to develop at this stage, and they still need several more weeks to reach maturity.

Otherwise, babies are very much in the finishing-touches stage of development. However, a baby born at 32 weeks will still need several weeks of care in a special care nursery or NICU—but the survival rate for babies born at this stage is 99%.

Explore a few of your baby's week 32 milestones in this interactive experience.

Stay Calm Mom: Episode 7

Watch all episodes of our Stay Calm Mom video series and follow along as our host Tiffany Small talks to a diverse group of women and top doctors to get real answers to the biggest pregnancy questions.

6:32

How to Prepare for Baby: What Do You Really Need?

Your Common Symptoms This Week

As your baby is getting closer to maxing out space in your growing uterus, you might notice some changes in the way they move. Symptoms related to the size of your belly, like aches and pains and heartburn, may also be getting a little worse.

Change in Movement

As your baby gets bigger, there's less room for them to move inside your uterus. You might begin to notice their formerly bold kicks becoming replaced with wiggles, squirms, knocks, and nudges. The type of movement you feel is not as important as feeling it.

If you notice a decrease in your baby's activity in general or during your daily kick counts, however, contact your provider right away.

Heartburn

If you haven't experienced heartburn during your pregnancy, it could still pop up. If you've been having it all along, it can get worse in the third trimester. On top of pregnancy hormones that slow digestion and make it easier for stomach acid to back up into the esophagus, your uterus is now big and heavy enough to put a lot of pressure on your stomach.

Heartburn occurs in around 22% of pregnancies in the first trimester, 39% in the second trimester, and up to 72% in the third trimester.

Self-Care Tips

At this point in pregnancy, you're likely splitting your time between managing discomfort and preparing for the baby's arrival. This week, you might want to start thinking about what you'd like to bring with you to the hospital for delivery day.

Dealing With Heartburn

Heartburn can be plain uncomfortable or even painful. While you might not be able to avoid it entirely during pregnancy, diet and lifestyle changes may help. Here are some general tips you can try that can help alleviate heartburn:

  • Avoid bending over or lying down right after a meal (try to wait at least one hour)
  • Don't eat right before you go to bed
  • Eat frequent, small meals instead of three large ones
  • Eat slowly and chew your food well
  • Talk to your provider about safe over-the-counter medications like antacids or alternative treatments such as acupuncture

Packing Your Hospital Bag

Packing your hospital or birthing center bag can help you feel more prepared for your baby’s arrival. You might want to pack some items for the new little person you will be meeting. Just make sure that you know the hospital or birthing center's rules about dressing your baby in clothes you brought from home (as some do not allow you to do so).

Here are a few items you might want to gather and organize ahead of time. Before you get packing, find out what will be provided by your hospital or birthing center.

  • Copy of your birth plan
  • Cord blood kit (if you are privately banking)
  • Going-home outfit for you (choose something comfortable that you wore when you were around six months pregnant)
  • Health insurance card and identification
  • Heavy-flow sanitary pads
  • Medications (bring any medication that you take regularly, but talk to your care team after you are admitted—you may need to get your dose prescribed by an on-site practitioner)
  • Mints, lollipops, or other hard candies
  • Newborn diapers and wipes
  • Newborn mittens to prevent scratches
  • Nursing pillow
  • Phone charger, battery pack, and photo or video equipment
  • Pillow from home (in a colored pillowcase to distinguish it from hospital or birthing center pillows)
  • Pre-registration forms for the hospital (bring an extra set, even if you already submitted one)
  • Robe and nightgown (make it an open-in-the-front nursing nightgown if you’re planning on breastfeeding)
  • Slippers (for safer walking during labor) and extra socks
  • Snacks that are easy to digest like plain crackers
  • Swaddling blankets
  • Toiletries (deodorant, toothbrush, toothpaste, mouthwash, shampoo, soap, hairbrush, hair ties, lotion, contact lenses and solution, glasses, lip balm, etc.)
  • Two easy-to-put-on going-home outfits for baby (just in case), booties, baby hats, onesies, etc.

Your Week 32 Checklist

Advice for Partners

Make sure both you and your partner pack an overnight back. Even if you don’t plan to stay overnight, you might be there longer than you expect. Grab a duffle and think about adding the following for delivery day:

  • Any labor support tools you and your partner have discussed (speakers for soft music, massage oil, stress balls, etc)
  • Change of clothes (pack a bathing suit if you have a water birth planned)
  • Handouts or notes from childbirth class that you might want to reference
  • List of everyone you want to call or text once labor kicks in and/or baby arrives
  • Phone charger, extra battery pack, and any photo/video equipment
  • Snacks, as well as change for the vending machines
  • Toiletries, prescription eyewear, and any medications you take
  • Watch with a second hand (for contraction timing if you don't have a smartphone)

At Your Doctor’s Office

You might be back at your provider's office for another regular visit this week. You know the prenatal visit routine pretty well by now, which typically includes:

  • Answering your questions
  • Blood pressure check
  • Discussion of symptoms
  • Fundal height measurement (now around 32 centimeters, give or take a centimeter or two)
  • Listening to the baby's heartbeat
  • Swelling check
  • Urine test
  • Weight check

Weight Gain

Just as your baby continues to grow late into your pregnancy, so do you. The recommended weight gain for people with a normal body mass index (BMI: 18.5—24.9) at the start of pregnancy is 25 to 35 pounds.

In most cases, you should be gaining roughly a pound a week. Based on this loose guideline, you may have gained approximately 23 pounds from the start of your pregnancy to now. As each pregnancy is different, talk to your provider about how much weight you have gained to find out if you are on the right track.

Position of the Baby

Your provider may feel your belly to check the position of your baby. As you get closer to your due date, the baby should turn to the head-down position.

Upcoming Doctor’s Visits

You will likely stay on an every-other-week visit schedule until you reach 36 weeks. At that point, most providers will want to see you every week until you deliver. Your next routine prenatal visit will likely be around 34 weeks.

A test for a bacteria called group B strep (GBS) is recommended between 36 and 38 weeks.

Special Considerations

If your pregnancy is considered high-risk, you are carrying more than one baby, or your provider wants to check on your baby's well-being, you might be scheduled for additional tests beginning at week 32.

Fetal Non-Stress Test

The fetal non-stress test (NST) monitors the baby's heart rate as they move. For this test, you are hooked up to an external fetal monitor. The baby's heart rate should go up when they move, but sometimes it takes a while to observe this pattern if the baby is sleeping.

When the test is reactive or shows two or more increases in heart rate in 20 to 40 minutes, it is a good sign that the baby is doing well. If the baby's heart rate doesn't go up or it goes down during the test, your provider will likely order more testing.

Biophysical Profile

The biophysical profile (BPP) is offered after 32 weeks for high-risk pregnancies and those experiencing complications. It’s also sometimes given to pregnant people who have passed their due date.

BPP is painless. It starts with a detailed ultrasound during which the technician checks your amniotic fluid levels, the baby’s muscle tone, and movement of their body and breathing. Since digestion can stimulate these movements, you might be asked to eat a meal before you come in for the test.

The ultrasound is generally followed by a non-stress test, where the baby's heart rate and possible uterine contractions are monitored. For this portion, you’ll be asked to lay on your side while two monitoring belts are secured around your abdomen.

Your provider might instead call for a "modified biophysical profile," which is a combination of the non-stress test (NST) and a measurement of the amniotic fluid. After reviewing the results of the BPP or modified BPP, your provider will determine if it’s in your (and your baby’s) best interest to deliver earlier than planned.

Contraction Stress Test

The contraction stress test monitors how well your baby handles contractions. For this test, you are hooked up to a fetal monitor. If you aren't having contractions on your own, you may be asked to stimulate your nipples to induce contractions or you may be given a medication to start contractions.

Depending on the baby's response to your contractions, your provider will determine if the baby will be able to get enough oxygen during labor.

Doppler of Umbilical Artery

The doppler of the umbilical artery is an ultrasound of the umbilical cord to check the blood flowing to the baby. This umbilical artery brings oxygen to nutrients to the baby. An issue with blood flow might indicate a problem with the pregnancy or the baby's growth.

A Word From Verywell

With just eight weeks to go before your expected due date, time may feel like it's simultaneously speeding up and slowing down. By now, you've probably become a pro at listening to your body—and don't stop now. Take your body's cues for when to slow down or power through and remember that in a few short weeks, you'll be nearing the finish line.

Was this page helpful?
Article Sources
Verywell Family uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. Oyer CE, Sung CJ, Friedman R, et al. Reference values for valve circumferences and ventricular wall thicknesses of fetal and neonatal hearts. Pediatr Dev Pathol. 2004;7(5):499-505. doi:10.1007/s10024-004-1117-6

  2. Kiserud T, Piaggio G, Carroli G, et al. The World Health Organization Fetal Growth Charts: A multinational longitudinal study of ultrasound biometric measurements and estimated fetal weight. PLoS Med. 2017;14(3):e1002284. doi:10.1371/journal.pmed.1002220

  3. Gardberg M, Leonova Y, Laakkonen E. Malpresentations--impact on mode of delivery. Acta Obstet Gynecol Scand. 2011;90(5):540-2. doi:10.1111/j.1600-0412.2011.01105.x

  4. Toijonen AE, Heinonen ST, Gissler MVM, Macharey G. A comparison of risk factors for breech presentation in preterm and term labor: A nationwide, population-based case-control study. Arch Gynecol Obstet. 2020;301(2):393-403. doi:10.1007/s00404-019-05385-5

  5. Knobel-Dail RB, Sloane R, Holditch-Davis D, Tanaka DT. Negative temperature differential in preterm infants less than 29 weeks gestational age: Associations with infection and maternal smoking. Nurs Res. 2017;66(6):442-453. doi:10.1097/NNR.0000000000000250

  6. Futagi Y, Toribe Y, Suzuki Y. The grasp reflex and moro reflex in infants: Hierarchy of primitive reflex responses. Int J Pediatr. 2012;2012:191562. doi:10.1155/2012/191562

  7. Blackburn S. Maternal, Fetal, & Neonatal Physiology E-Book: A Clinical Perspective. Elsevier Health Sciences; 2017.

  8. World Health Organization. Preterm Birth. February 19, 2018.

  9. Manuck TA, Rice MM, Bailit JL, et al. Preterm neonatal morbidity and mortality by gestational age: A contemporary cohort. Am J Obstet Gynecol. 2016;215(1):103.e1-103.e14. doi:10.1016/j.ajog.2016.01.004

  10. Vazquez JC. Heartburn in pregnancyBMJ Clin Evid. 2015;2015:1411.

  11. Phupong V, Hanprasertpong T. Interventions for heartburn in pregnancyCochrane Database Syst Rev. 2015;(9). doi:10.1002/14651858.CD011379.pub2

  12. American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. ACOG Committee opinion no. 548: Weight gain during pregnancyObstet Gynecol. 2013;121:210–2. doi:10.1097/01.aog.0000425668.87506.4c

  13. American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. Prevention of group B streptococcal early-onset disease in newborns. Committee Opinion No. 797. Obstet Gynecol. 2020;135:e51–72. doi:10.1097/AOG.0000000000003824

  14. American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. Practice Bulletin No. 145. Antepartum fetal surveillanceObstet Gynecol. 2014;124:182-92. doi:10.1097/01.AOG.0000451759.90082.7b