Pregnancy - 32-36 weeks
What is happening to mother
Many women plan to work up until around 36 weeks but by 32 weeks you may feel you are getting tired and ready to slow down and focus on your baby soon to be born. You can decide to take your maternity leave a couple of weeks earlier if you wish or need.
It is possible that you will be suffering from some heartburn or indigestion by now and that you find you get out of breath more quickly than usual this month. This is because as your baby grows, your womb starts to take up more space under your lungs and your stomach, leaving them less space to fully expand.
At around 36 weeks however, you may experience a sense of your baby lowering herself into your pelvis as her head engages, this is known as lightening and you will notice how there is more space for your stomach and lungs once more. Lightening will usually be more noticeable if this is your first baby as a subsequent baby will sometimes not engage in your pelvis until labour begins.
What is happening to baby
Your baby's finger/toe nails are now fully grown in and she continues to lay down extra layers of fat. Her lungs are still not fully developed as they only start to function at birth when she begins to breath air. By 36 weeks gestation, your baby measures around 30cms and weighs around 2.24kg.
Things to think about
If you are thinking of hiring a doula to support you through labour and birth and/or after your baby is born, around 32 weeks is a good time to start making contact with the doulas in your area so that you can decide which one you feel most comfortable with. Your birth doula will ask to meet with you and your partner at least twice before your baby is due so that she can find out from you what your hopes and fears are for the birth and to talk about ways in which she can offer you help towards keeping your labour normal. If this is your second baby, you may welcome the chance to debrief a previous difficult birth experience. If you are only looking for postnatal support, your postnatal doula will ask to meet with you once before your baby is due so that you have the opportunity to discuss ways in which you feel she might be able to help you and your family during the early days with your new baby. Some doulas also facilitate or lead Blessingway ceremonies, she can also help you with your birth plan (see next month).
Doula UK and Scottish Doula Network provide a free find-a-doula facility, doulas can also be found through your internet search engine.