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Week #32 of Pregnancy

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Your Pregnancy: Week 32

By Erin Horner, edHelperBaby

  Your Baby
           This is an exciting week for your baby!  Many researchers believe that there is very little difference in brain development between a 32-week-old baby and a newborn baby.  This means that while your little one will have to learn how to breathe and eat after birth, he may already be thinking, learning, and remembering things even now, while in the womb.  By this week, your little one's arms and legs are now fully proportioned in relation to his head size.  He or she is also starting to prepare you for the years of diaper changes ahead by passing water from the bladder.  At this stage of development, your baby has also begun to develop her rooting reflex.  This is the reflex that causes baby to turn towards your breast or bottle in search of milk.  While your little one now knows how to root for her milk, her ability to latch on and suck will not be complete until week 35 or 36.


Your Body
           Your body is officially in overdrive, mom, and you are doing a great job!  By this week, your blood volume has increased by 40-50% in order to accommodate the miracle that is growing within you.  Much of this extra blood tends to pool in your lower limbs resulting in lower cranial blood pressure.  This means that standing up too quickly may cause you to experience quite a rush, but not the enjoyable kind.  You may end up feeling light-headed and dizzy.  Take your time when getting up after long periods of being off of your feet.  This is also a good idea when getting out of bed in the morning.  Allow your body a few extra minutes to adjust as you wake up; first slowly sit up on the edge of the bed, then slowly stand up make your way to the shower.  There's no longer a need to hop out of bed when the alarm goes off, and truth be told, at this stage of your pregnancy, its hard to hop anywhere at all!


  You're Wondering. . .
           I'm starting to feel pretty big and bulky, and would love a little more emphasis on the "pretty" part.  Is there anything that I can do to pamper myself that is safe for my baby?

       There are several wonderful pampering options for mommies-to-be when it comes to taking some much deserved time for yourself.  Here are a few ways to relax, rejuvenate, and remember what your body felt and looked like before your sweet baby took it over.

       What to Enjoy
  1. Pre-natal Massage.  Find a spa or massage therapist in your area that specializes in pre-natal massage.  This wonderful treatment will not only help you to relax, but may also alleviate any back or leg pain that you have been experiencing.  It is, however, very important that your masseuse has been trained specifically in how to give a pre-natal massage.  Not only do you need your growing belly accommodated for with a special massage table or positioning, but it is also crucial that the masseuse be aware that when certain areas of your body are stimulated it can cause contractions.  While it might seem like fun to go straight from pampering to parenthood, it's not time yet!
  2. Body Scrub.  Enjoy a body scrub treatment either at home or at the spa.  If you are pampering yourself at home pick up a sugar or salt scrub and slather it all over your body during a nice, warm, shower.  Do be careful, however, as the scrub can make the shower floor a bit slippery and you don't want to fall and inadvertently turn a few moments of pleasure into hours of pain!  These at-home scrubs are a great and inexpensive way to treat yourself and will leave your skin feeling as smooth as your baby's.
  3. Pedicure.  By this stage of the game it might be a bit tricky to try and bend down and trim those toe nails, so enjoy an hour of pampering and let a professional do it for you.  Not only will your toes enjoy the attention, but when you do manage to put your feet up for a moment of rest, you will like what you see!
  4. Manicure.  Skip the tips or acrylics, but do let yourself enjoy a manicure if your fingernails are feeling a bit neglected.  The safest nail polishes during pregnancy are those that are toluene, formaldehyde and dibutyl phthalate (DBP) free.
  5. Facial.  We all know that pregnancy is supposed to make us "glow" but if Mother Nature needs a bit of help in this department, treat yourself to a facial.
  6. Haircut and Highlights.  If you feel like your pregnancy hair needs a little "umph" consider a great haircut or some highlights.  Many medical professionals advise against dying your hair during pregnancy for fear that when the hair dye comes in contact with the scalp it may pass into your blood stream and ultimately reach your baby.  Highlights, on the other hand, are generally seen as a safer alternative as the chemicals rarely come in direct contact with the scalp.  This might also be a good time to find a great, easy to style (emphasis on the easy part) hair cut.  By getting your hair cut now, you'll have a few weeks to practice styling it and learn all the "how-to" beauty short-cuts before baby arrives.

       What to Skip?

       Pregnancy is not the time for glycolic acid peels, microdermabrasion, or skin treatments with harsh ingredients.  Remember, even treatments that you have easily handled in the past, may be too much for your sensitive skin and might not be safe for baby right now.


  Your "To-Do" List
           If you haven't already done so, take a tour of the hospital or birthing center where you will deliver your baby.  Many facilities offer group and private tours, so call ahead and set up a time to see all that the hospital has to offer.  This tour will help to relieve some of your labor worries as you will learn where to check in upon arrival, what the labor rooms look like and what amenities are offered.  This trip may also impact your birth plan as you will become familiar with the different birthing policies that this facility practices.  If your partner is available, take him with you.  When the big day arrives, he needs to know where to go and the drive to the hospital will be a good dress rehearsal for you both.


Your Homework: Preparing For Parenthood
           Enjoy a movie night this week, but make it a movie for baby!  Pick a night, pop some popcorn, plop down on the sofa and watch a DVD designed especially for infants.  You will probably be able to find several copies at your local library, if you haven't already received some as baby shower gifts.  As you watch the DVD, be aware of the types of images that are being shown, the pace at which the images change, and the music that is played in the background.  I am not encouraging you to do this activity because I am advocating infants watching television.  I am actually encouraging you to watch this video to help you learn how to interact with your baby without watching television.   This activity is designed to help familiarize you with the types of images, movements and colors that your baby will enjoy.  Use this DVD as a starting point and then think about the ways that you and your little one can play together by mimicking some of the ideas you see.  Remember, while your child may enjoy gazing at an object shown on a DVD, she will love gazing at that same object if it is your smiling face that she sees in the background rather than a television screen.


  My Experience
           My husband and I did this before our children were born and it turned out to be a great tool in preparing us to play with our infants.  As new parents, we weren't really sure how to "play" with an infant.  We had the feeding, diaper changing, singing and reading stuff down, but how do you play with a baby that just lies there all day?  I think that my husband thought that they would be ready to play "Giddy up Horsey" immediately upon exiting the womb.  By watching this video together, it helped him realize the types of games and interactions that were going to be pleasing to our little one.  It also helped us both slow down and enjoy this stage of simple playtime.


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