Pregnancy Week 32: Fetal Development, Ultrasound Cautions & the Stages of Labor by 30Seconds Pregnancy

Pregnancy Weekly
4 years ago

Pregnancy Week 32: Fetal Development, Ultrasound Cautions & the Stages of Labor

About Baby

Baby is preparing for her grand entrance! At 3 1/2 to 4 pounds, 15 to 17 inches long and about the size of a head of Chinese cabbage, she’s busy practicing those skills she’ll need once she’s born: sucking, kicking, swallowing and breathing. She’s also preparing for those newborn pictures by beginning to shed her lanugo, the fine downy hair that covers her body, and accumulating fat so her skin is no longer opaque. She’s also back in fetal position, mainly due to lack of room to move around now. Between now and 38 weeks, your baby will get into a head-down position to prepare for birth. If Baby doesn’t get into head-down position, that’s is a breech birth (relax, only 5 percent of babies are breech).

Photo: Baby at 32 weeks of development

About Mom

Are you packing on the pounds, Mom? No worries! Right now you’re probably gaining about a pound a week. Most of that is due to the volume of blood your body is producing – and your growing baby, of course.

Thinking of asking your doctor for another ultrasound peek at Baby? The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) advises moderation in the use of ultrasound, recommending its use only when medically necessary and suggesting that while there are currently no known harmful effects, ongoing research may prove otherwise at some point in the future.

So how many ultrasounds are OK? “The answer to the question 'how many ultrasounds should I have?' should be answered by each pregnant woman and her doctor,” says double board-certified OB/GYN and Maternal Fetal Medicine Physician Dr. Kecia Gaither. “The decision should be relegated to the clinical situation at hand with medical advice from the health provider to make the pregnancy the safest and most joyful experience it can be.”

Learn more by reading Prenatal Ultrasound Safety: How Many Ultrasounds Should Pregnant Moms Have During Pregnancy?

The Stages of Labor

Did you know that labor is broken down into stages? But keep in mind, no two pregnancies are the same and no two labors are the same. Each time you are in labor there may be new hurdles. No matter who is taking care of you in labor, always remember to ask questions. With that said, here's the basics of what moms-to-be need to know about the stages of labor during pregnancy:

  • First Stage of Labor: The first stage of labor is divided into a slower latent phase and a faster active phase. The transition point is not the same for all women, but usually occurs between 4 and 6 cm of dilation. But you can’t predict when exactly your labor will speed up. You can only know retrospectively after your medical provider checks your cervix. During this stage your medical provider will intermittently check your cervix and may consider augmenting, or assisting, your labor progression by giving you medications or helping to break your bag of water.
  • Second Stage of Labor: The second stage of labor starts when you are completely dilated and ends when your baby is delivered. Mothers push during this stage and their medical providers intermittently assess the progress or descent of the child through the pelvis.
  • Third Stage of Labor: The third stage starts when your baby is delivered and ends when the placenta is delivered. If your baby is healthy and crying and/or screaming your provider may cut the umbilical cord (or have you do it) or they may offer delayed cord clamping. Either way, healthy babies are usually put skin-to-skin on the mother's chest to facilitate bonding and encourage breast-milk production while sicker infants may be assessed by a nurse or physician as they transition to their new life outside the womb.

Mom-to-be, that’s not all! Learn even more about the stages of labor.

Bump Talk

“We have a secret in our culture, and it’s not that birth is painful. It’s that women are strong.” – Laura Stavoe Harm, author and doula 

The content on is for informational and entertainment purposes only, and should not be considered medical advice. The information on this site should not be used to diagnose or treat a health problem or disease, and is not a substitute for professional care. Always consult your personal healthcare provider. The opinions or views expressed on do not necessarily represent those of 30Seconds or any of its employees, corporate partners or affiliates.

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Elisa Schmitz
With my twins, Baby A was head first and Baby B was breech. Delivered both vaginally with no pain medication. Here's my birth story: pregnancy: Preemie Twins Natural Birth: Fast Delivery After Six Weeks of Hospitalized Bed Rest

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