A quick snapshot
If this is your first baby you'll probably be feeling a mix of excitement and apprehension. 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.
Your baby will depend on you to predict and care for its every need. It will take time and practice for you to learn how to do this.
What’s changing in your body
- 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. 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 from 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 that 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. 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 doctor if you experience these changes.
- Your prenatal checks will become a fortnightly affair from now until around week 36. 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 third trimester, problems such as pre-eclampsia, gestational diabetes and premature labour are more common.
How your emotions are affected
- 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 pregnant 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.
How your baby is growing
Third Trimester: Week 32
- Your baby is around 1.8kg this week and just under 50cm long. They are gaining most of their weight in these last few weeks, around 250g a week. Your baby is spending a lot of time kicking, swallowing, moving their little arms around, sucking, grimacing and frowning. They can move their head from side to side and open and close their eyes.
- The baby fills all the space in your uterus now, touching the sides and really using the room to their own advantage. Your nerve endings are picking up every movement so you are very much aware of your baby.
- Your baby is still having periods of rest and activity that 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 fortified with calcium.
Tips for the week
- 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 than when you are standing, so give it time to adjust.
- Invest in some pregnancy underpants. 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 that will make you feel as if you've got a brick sitting in your stomach. Instead, go for light, easy to digest foods that 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, look into buying a good one, then set it up and make sure the batteries are charged. You’ll want to catch those early precious moments.
- Speak with your 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.