If you’re feeling like you’re pretty over this pregnancy thing already, you wouldn’t be alone: lots of moms at this point are tired of all the symptoms, the mobility issues, and generally just sharing their body with their new roommate. But don’t hurry things along too fast! This is a great time to continue your preparations for the big day.
The average woman at this point has gained just under 30 pounds. Your uterus is now about 5 or 5.5 inches above your belly button, where it’s likely putting serious pressure on your diaphragm, making it harder to get a full breath. And believe it or not, your uterus still has some serious growth planned over the next six weeks.
Around this time, some women experience what’s called “lightening.” This occurs when the baby drops toward the birth canal, actually lowering your uterus in your abdomen. This might make it easier to breathe, but it can feel strange at first (and it’s not a sign of premature labor). It also puts extra pressure on your bladder, so you might have to pee even more often, and it can sometimes compress nerves, causing you to feel pins and needles in your feet and legs. This will go away after delivery, but if it really bothers you, try lying on your side. It can also be normal for you to never notice this sensation or not for a few more weeks.
Your baby is now 32 weeks old and weighs 4 to 4.5 pounds, with a total length of about 18 inches from the tip of the head to the tip of the toes. In terms of size, your baby is larger than a 2 lb. bag of flour but not quite as large as a 5 lb. bag.
While you’re no doubt anxious to deliver and get your body back to yourself, there’s a good reason babies need to develop for the whole 40 weeks of pregnancy. Although they tend to need less medical support than babies born earlier, babies born at Week 34 still often need medical support and almost always spend some time in the NICU before they are allowed to go home. The main issues at this point with typically developing children are lung issues, as well as problems regulating their body temperature, knowing how to feed without getting too tired, and keeping their blood sugars stable.
As you near the end of your pregnancy, your healthcare provider will likely switch you to weekly visits for monitoring. These visits are not a cause for alarm—they are part of typical prenatal care and give your care provider a chance to carefully watch your progress as the due date nears.