Week 32 of Pregnancy

Written by Amina Hatia RM and medically reviewed by Marley Hall RM

Published on March 1, 2022
Live & Online 60,000+ Community

You should be having regular antenatal appointments with your midwife in your third trimester – with an appointment around 32 weeks to check your wellbeing and ensure all is well with baby.

Alongside the regular checks of blood pressure, urine, measuring the size of your bump / baby, and listening to your baby, your midwife will also be feeling your bump to see what position your baby is lying in.

By discussing where your baby is kicking, and having a feel of your tummy, your midwife will be able to determine what position your baby is – head down or breech, lying to your left or right – or on your back, and if they are getting ready to enter the pelvis. It may seem strange that your midwife can tell all this from feeling your tummy – but they are feeling for markers – such as a hard round part that indicates baby’s head, or a wider, more lumpy part that is baby’s bottom. The midwife will also try to feel along baby’s back to see which side they are lying on, with the hand and feet on the opposite side indicating where the back is.

Try not to worry if you can’t make much sense of it – your midwife will write down their findings in your notes, often using acronyms such as the ones below:

  • Ceph / Cephalic: Head down
  • Breech: Bottom down
  • LOA: Baby is lying head down with the back of their head towards the front and back towards the left. You are probably feeling kicking mainly on your right-hand side 
  • ROA: Baby is lying head down with the back of their head towards the front and back towards the right. You are probably feeling kicking mainly on your left-hand side.
  • OP: Baby is lying head with the back of their head towards your back and their back along your back.  You are probably feeling kicking all over.

How big is my baby at 32 weeks?

Your 32-week baby is now just over 43 centimetres tall from head to heel, and weighing around 1.7 kilograms, around the size of a squash but much cuter!

What happens in week 32 of pregnancy?

As your baby and bump continue to grow, the amount of amniotic fluid around your baby also increases. Amniotic fluid is important in helping to keep your baby at the right temperature, whilst also providing cushioning against any bumps from the outside too.

You may also be surprised to find out that your baby is also drinking and sipping the amniotic fluid, digesting it and then passing it out as urine. Whilst this seems very bizarre, it’s helping your baby to develop their digestive system ready from when they feed after birth.

Another big change you may notice is what feels like big somersaults happening inside you, as your baby starts getting ready for birth. Most babies settle into a head down position in the uterus in the final few weeks of pregnancy – for first time mums they tend to stay in that position too.

Week 32 pregnancy symptoms

Breech – Breech is used to describe one of the positions your baby can adopt in the uterus during pregnancy. When a baby is in a breech position, they are lying with their bottom down towards or in your pelvis instead of the more common head-down position.

Babies change position in the uterus often in the first, second and early third trimester. At approximately 28 weeks, 1/4 of babies are breech, but by 32 weeks only 7% of babies remain breech, with the number dropping down to only around 3% towards due dates.

Breech positions are often picked up by your midwife or doctor during routine antenatal appointments, by feeling your tummy. This will then lead to a scan to verify if baby is breech. After this your midwife will discuss with you the options for birth if your baby remains in this position, it will always be your choice in the end, but your midwife / doctor will go over the risks, benefits and options with you in detail.

You may also be offered a procedure called external cephalic version (ECV) if suitable for you. An ECV is when an obstetrician applies pressure to your tummy to try and turn the baby into a head-down position. Whilst it sounds scary, it’s a safe procedure and results in about 50% of breech babies being turned into a head down position.

Week 32 pregnancy tips

  • If you are inquisitive about what position your baby is in, try belly mapping. Have a think about where you feel baby kick the most – that will give you a great indication of which side your baby is lying on. 
  • A birth ball / pregnancy ball is also a great tool to start using now if you haven’t already – by sitting on a ball instead of an office chair, you’ll be more inclined to sit in an UFO position – Upright, forward leaning and open.
  • Are you aware of all the tools and positions you can use in labour and during birth to help you birth your baby? Antenatal classes, like our live and interactive classes run by our expert midwives are a great place to find all the information you will need in an easy to understand and fun way.

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