32 weeks pregnant

You and your baby's development

What's happening in week 32 of your pregnancy

Week 32 and not long at all until your baby's due date!

At a glance

  • Your baby's finger nails are starting to grow
  • Babies can dream at this stage of pregnancy
  • Your belly button may pop out, but it should go back
32 Weeks pregnant

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How big is my baby at 32 weeks?

Your growing baby is now around 42cm long and weighs just under 4lbs. They’re so well developed and turning into such a real little person that their finger nails are even sprouting in the womb. 

If you go overdue, you might find they are born with long nails that will need an immediate trim!

Their skin is now soft and smooth as they continue to take on fat, gaining around half a pound per week. Their skin is a lot less transparent and more opaque as the fat continues to develop.

Your baby is enjoying periods of rest and wriggles now – and while they doze, they will be having dreams! Really! Scientists have discovered that babies dream at this stage of pregnancy and that their dream sleep patterns are much the same as adults! Can you even begin to imagine what they might dream about?

When they are awake, your baby will practicing all the skills that are necessary for the world including swallowing, breathing, kicking and sucking.

Your baby will very likely have moved into the engaged position by now, but don’t worry if not they might just be taking their time. 

If they don’t move, they’ll be breech (which affects less than 5% of births) and your midwife will be able to advice on options for the birth.

At your next antenatal appointment (at 36 weeks) your baby’s position will be checked If your baby has their bottom downwards they’ll be classed as breech, but there’s still time for them to turn before the birth. 

If your baby is lying sideways across your womb it’s called ‘Transverse’ and if you and your baby are spine to spine it’s called ‘Posterior’.  ‘Anterior’ (where your baby is facing your spine) is the best position for birth.

Facts to know about your baby in week 32

  • Your baby's ability to smell has developed, but because there's no air inside the womb, your baby can't smell anything yet
  • Your baby's skin is starting to thicken
  • Your baby's bones are continuing to harden, except for those in their skull, which stay soft to enable baby's head to be born safely

You at 32 weeks pregnant

You might find your belly button 'pops' as your bump gets bigger, and sticks out from your tummy by 32 weeks. It will go back to normal after your baby is born, so don't worry!

From now till around week 34, it's fairly common for your baby to “drop” from up near your ribs to down near your pelvis, in preparation to spend the remaining time of your pregnancy in the head-down position. If this does happen to you, you may become aware of previously “carrying high” to now “carrying low.” This does not happen to every woman in every pregnancy though, some babies don’t drop down until mum is in labour.

You are no doubt thinking more and more about when you might go into labour now, and what your action plan will be on the day – have you got someone to take you to the hospital if your partner is stuck somewhere?

Are there contingency plans in place if your birth partner can't get to the hospital on time? Lots of things to think about and organise! Have a look at our page on writing a birth plan if you haven't already done so – there's really not long to go now!

It can be a good idea to start practicing breathing and relaxation techniques to support your emotional wellbeing in these last few weeks of pregnancy and in preparation for labour.

Facts to know about you in week 32

  • Eating the placenta goes back as far as the 1500s in Chinese medicine - but the jury's still out on its benefits!
  • Progesterone is slowing your digestion down so your body can absorb more nutrients to pass to your baby
  • You may notice that your baby kicks more after you have a meal
  • Induction (starting labour off artificially) is offered to all women who don't go into labour naturally by 42 weeks to prevent problems for the baby.

What to think about in week 32

Even if you are now counting down the days to your maternity leave, you might be wondering just how you are going to fill your time while everyone else is at work - particularly if you know the novelty of relaxing in front of daytime TV will wear off after just a couple of days. 

Obviously you should be relaxing and getting as much rest as possible pre-baby, but gentle exercise and keeping active is still really important.

Once you go on leave, why not meet up with working pals for a lunchtime swim a couple of times a week to keep boredom at bay and take the weight off your bump?

It's also worth giving some thought to your family finances, and considering whether to put safeguards in place to protect your child financially. 

No matter how well-laid your plans, things do sometimes go wrong - so it's important to take the unexpected into account. What would happen if you or your partner became unable to work or passed away? How would the family cope financially?

No worries if you’ve still not nailed down the perfect name choices. Even if you get to the point where you’ve had your baby and still not decided, you have up to six weeks after your baby’s born to register his/her birth but only 21 days in Scotland). 

Enjoy browsing, after all there’s loads of help out there with endless lists of names and what they mean to help you pinpoint the perfect baby name for you. Bounty is here to help and if it is a cool name with a bit of an edge you’re looking for, browse our too cool for school baby names and you may just find that little gem that gets that decision made.

With all the planning that goes into preparing for the birth of your baby, you may not have thought much past giving birth, so what can you expect straight after birth? Once your baby is delivered, it is important to bond straight away with skin-to-skin contact. Your midwife will place your baby directly onto your chest just as soon as you’re ready to hold your baby. This is the first one to one bond with your newborn, and is a really important part of getting to know each other.

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Sign and symptoms at 32 weeks pregnant


In your third trimester, your growing baby begins pushing up under your diaphragm, so you might experience the feeling of breathless. Your diaphragm squashes your lungs, so they just don't have the same capacity as they would normally and you breathe faster but not as deeply. Resting well supported with cushions during the day may also help as well as practising pregnancy yoga (with a teacher to specialises in pregnancy) and practicing some deep-breathing exercises.

Leg cramps

Leg cramps often occur in the third trimester. They can strike randomly and can be very painful while they last. They are often a real nuisance and happen worse at night. Some mums-to-be find massaging the muscle brings relief while others say it is much too painful to touch. If you can, it is best to try to stretch the affected muscle by holding the tips of your toes, flexing your foot to make a 90° angle to your shin and holding this position. You can also try lunging forward on your other leg, with the cramped leg stretch out behind but with a flat foot. Some experts think sluggish circulation caused by pregnancy hormones, can be to blame for leg cramps in pregnancy.

Watch our videos below: 

Video 1: Pain relief options 

Vidoe 2: Caesareans explained

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At a glance

  • Your baby's finger nails are starting to grow
  • Babies can dream at this stage of pregnancy
  • Your belly button may pop out, but it should go back

More pregnancy & baby preparation advice