Your Pregnancy: Week 32
Are leg cramps keeping you awake at night? This is a common – and highly painful – complaint around this time, but there are several things you can do to prevent them. First of all, the cramps could be a result of walking, so be sure to take lots of breaks throughout your day to get off your feet. Secondly, there’s a chance your muscles could just be dehydrated, so load up on the agua. Thirdly, your calcium and potassium levels might be unbalanced, so try snacking on a banana with a glass of milk.
This week your baby is weighing in at around 4 pounds – which means there are only a few more pounds to go! (Yes, it is possible for your belly to get bigger, believe it or not.) Your baby’s lungs are continuing to mature, producing increasing amounts of surfactant, a fatty liquid that lines the inside of the lungs and helps the sacs within expand efficiently for breathing. Your baby is also practicing sucking and swallowing (which fully coordinates between 32 and 34 weeks), but he/she would still need to be fed with a tube if born this week because suckling might not be efficient.
- Have your car detailed – or just have your partner clean everything out for the baby.
- Start seeing your practitioner every two weeks.
- Decide when you’ll leave work (or if you’ll work until the very end), and make sure your maternity leave is squared away.
- Call your insurance company and let them know your due date and find out how to add your child to the policy once he or she is finally here.
Advice from Dr. Shari E. Brasner
At around 32 weeks, women may find that back pain peaks. This is the point at which pain is also felt intensely in the hips, due to the continued relaxation of pelvic ligaments in preparation for the passage of a baby. One of the most common places that pain tends to collect at this point is around the front of the body, directly under the ribs on the right-hand side. There’s no real explanation for this; it just seems, anatomically, to be a choice place for a baby’s body parts to settle, and as a result women often experience tenderness in that particular region. The entire area surrounding the uterus gets very sore, too. (In my own third trimester, I felt as though I had been punched in that spot repeatedly.) The vagina itself may feel sore from further engorgement of the tissues. Patients often tell me of a sensation of vaginal pressure, even though the baby’s head is nowhere near; it’s merely the increase in blood volume and fluid that creates this often unpleasant feeling.”
Babble recommends Dr. Brasner’s pregnancy book, Advice from a Pregnant Obstetrician.
Mom-To-Mom Advice: Yikes! Fear About Birth
Birth is a big deal; they don’t get much bigger. As the exciting event grows closer, the anticipation of childbirth can bring up a lot of deep feelings and anxieties. Here’s a look at a few of the big worries and what you can do about them.
Fear of pain: Hearing about the horrific pain of birth can get to us, and make us question our body’s abilities. We’re not going to say it won’t hurt, but birth is a normal physiological process and the hormones of labor do include some relief. There are also lots of pain-coping strategies, from rocking to vocalizing to hydrotherapy to an epidural. The idea of pain can be scarier than the reality. Once you actually feel it you can do something about it. Try to focus on the things you CAN DO, rather than what’s out of control.
Fear of death: A hundred years ago, infections and hemorrhaging were big scary problems, but those days are over. Now we have sterile methods, antibiotics and a clean blood supply, which have all but eradicated those issues. Better nutrition has made our pelvic bones more suited to birth as well. Childbirth has never been safer for moms or babies. You have twice the chance of dying in a transportation accident in any given year than you do of dying in childbirth. And with good prenatal care and neonatal medical support, the chances of a baby dying at birth are extremely low as well. Still, it is hard not to worry when there is so much at stake with this tiny, vulnerable creature. Fears about your baby’s safety will probably be popping up throughout the months (and years) ahead, so this is really just an introduction to the intensity of normal, loving, parental worry.
Fear of pooping: After talking about death, this seems a little ridiculous, but it’s a very common concern. The fact is you might poop a little when you are pushing – it’s the same set of muscles at work. But you will very likely never know it. Nurses, doctors and midwives are so used to this happening they hardly notice, either. They will quickly deal with it without blinking an eye. Gone.
It’s natural to worry about birth – hey, it’s a huge undertaking and the threshold to your future. But try not to let your fears get the best of you. Birth is not easy, but it is one of the things our bodies are made to do – yours too! Sometimes, birth worries can actually be more about what they represent. For example, there’s very little chance of dying during childbirth, but there will be a symbolic death: the death of your non-parent self. And it’s ok to feel sad about that. You need to mourn the passing of one phase, even as you rejoice the beginning of a new one. In general, it’s important to separate what’s really going on in birth from the mythology and what it might mean to you. Looking at these meanings may actually help you to defuse some anxiety – or put it where it belongs.
Babble recommends From the Hips, by Rebecca Odes and Ceridwen Morris.
Read more about Week 32 at BabyZone’s Pregnancy Guide!