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32 weeks pregnant: Tips and nutrition

In week 32 your baby will produce larger than usual amounts of cortisol in preparation for labour. Pregnancy hormones like this may make your digestive system slow, but there are ways you can cope.

    3-minutes read


    At week 32 baby is producing a lot of cortisol ready for labour. Are you using a kick-counter app? If not, it might be worth downloading one. Is your digestive system a bit slow, try eating fibre rich foods and drink plenty of water. Have you had Braxton Hicks contractions yet? Read on to tell the difference between these practice contractions and the real thing. Learn more about what you should be eating to increase your fibre intake and what to expect at 32 weeks pregnant.

    What happens at 32 weeks pregnant?

    The size of your baby at 32 weeks pregnant is about the size of a honeydew melon. Although their ‘birth’ day is still some weeks away your baby is looking more and more like a proper little human now. Their skin is starting to lose its redness and become less transparent thanks to fat accumulating underneath. The adrenal glands are disproportionately big at the moment as they prep baby for labour – they’re small glands on top of each kidney that produce hormones, including cortisol. Cortisol helps baby respond to stress, and even helps induce labour when the time is right. It also lets organs like the lungs mature.

    Right now, baby is producing ten times more cortisol than a normal adult, but once born the adrenal glands will shrink until they’re in proportion.

    What happens to your body at 32 weeks pregnant?

    Weirdly, getting kicked should be a thing to look forward to right now. Kick-counting apps are worth downloading since it’s important to monitor your baby’s movement. If you feel your baby’s movements have reduced, contact the hospital right away.

    Is your itchy belly feeling itchier? Not surprising with the final stretch upon you. If your moisturising cream isn’t soothing enough try calamine lotion. There are even over-the-counter anti-itch creams available these days. Oats are known to soothe so you could always add them to your warm-ish bath for extra relief. While itching is very common, it’s best to contact the hospital, your midwife or GP in case it requires a closer look.


    What to eat at 32 weeks pregnant?

    By now your uterus is so big it’s crowding your insides and you might have that ‘always full feeling’. Your appetite may decrease rather than increase, so try to eat regular healthy snacks rather than big meals — even half a banana counts.

    Has your digestive system been a bit slow lately? It’s just those hormone levels, like your ‘stress hormone’ (cortisol), rising during pregnancy. On that note, too much cortisol in mum isn’t great for baby. So, if you can’t stand the heat, get someone else in the kitchen while you put your mind at ease and your feet up.

    Now, back to the food. Try eating fibre-rich food to help your bowels function better and improve your feeling of wellbeing. If you’re not used to eating a lot of fibre it’s best to increase your intake gradually to avoid bloating and diarrhoea. Remember, drink lots of water to keep the fibre moving through your digestive tract.

    Here’s a few easy ways to up your fibre intake:

    • Eat the skin on washed fruit and veg, that’s where most of the fibre is

    • Choose wholegrain instead of white: bread, rice, crackers and cereals

    • Add beans or lentils to your soups and salads – they are so high in fibre

    • Berries, pears, melons and oranges are among the highest fibre fruits

    • Did you know artichokes are one of the most fibrous vegetables?

    What are the symptoms of 32 weeks pregnant?

    Week 32 pregnancy symptoms can include Braxton Hicks. What does Braxton Hicks feel like? You’ll feel your lower abdominal area tighten then relax. Usually, Braxton Hicks are irregular and don’t hurt, however some women find they feel like menstrual cramps and can be a bit uncomfortable. You will be able to tell Braxton Hicks from the real thing as the contractions are irregular, vary in intensity but don’t get progressively stronger, are infrequent and may stop when you move or change position. True contractions come at regular intervals and get closer together over time, contractions get steadily more intense and don’t improve when you move. Read our article to find out more on the signs of labour.


    Pregnancy tips at 32 weeks pregnant

    There are so many lovely baby things available these days. But what do you actually need? Here’s a handy baby wardrobe starter-pack:

    • Five to seven bodysuits, tops and sleep-suits.
    • One or two little cotton caps.
    • Muslin cloths
    • A sleep bag for when they are a little older.
    • Cardigans, rain/snowsuits if the weather calls for it.
    • Sun or wool hats according to the season.

    Babies outgrow their clothes really quickly – they don’t stay tiny for long! So, don’t buy too much. And don’t forget a baby-seat for the car. You’ll need one to get home from the hospital. On a tight budget? Read our article on ten money-saving tips for having a baby on a budget.

    You can find everything you need to help you prepare for baby’s arrival here. On top of this, you’ll need equipment for sleeping, bathing, changing nappies, eating and playing. Why not try our Mother of all Checklist web app to create your list? Find a list of useful items and add to it as you see fit.

    On the subject of fun and games, have you thought about a baby shower? Some people arrange one before the baby arrives, when they are more able to mingle. This also helps as people often bring gifts so you can cross some of your shopping list off before baby arrives. No one needs five baby bouncers, unless you’re the proud carrier of quintuplets. Our Mother of all Checklist has you covered with our handy planning a baby shower checklist.

    One more thing to prepare now, is your hospital bags. Three is the magic number. One for labour, one for afterwards and one for the baby. Your partner should pack a bag too. If you suddenly go into labour, the last thing you’ll want to deal with is packing.


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