Your growing baby now measures 42cm from crown to heel and weighs approximately 1.8kg. Babies born at 32 weeks or later have a good chance of surviving.
Ultrasound image umbilical cord Doppler blood flow at 32 weeks gestation.
The fetus now weighs around 1.8kg and measures approximately 42cm from crown to heel. The final growth spurt is continuing, with weight gain occurring rapidly. Babies born at 32 weeks or later have a very good chance of surviving and will require considerably less medical intervention than babies born before 32 weeks. They will however still require help with breathing and feeding.
The lungs are still developing at this stage and will not be fully matured until just before birth. The fetus continues to inhale amniotic fluid to prepare the lungs for breathing air after birth. Other skills essential for life outside the uterus are also being practiced. These include swallowing and sucking.
The skin is losing its translucent appearance and becomes more smooth and opaque as body fat continues to accumulate beneath it.
If the baby is male, the testicles are likely to have now fully descended into the scrotum. In some cases however the testicles remain in the pelvic cavity at and after birth. Undescended testicles usually resolve during the first year of life with no need for medical intervention.
Weight gain continues at a steady rate, with most women gaining around 450g each week until they give birth. This weight gain is normal and is largely the result of your baby’s final growth spurt before birth. As throughout your pregnancy, eating a healthy, balanced diet is important for both you and your baby and there is no reason to be concerned about your weight gain if you are eating healthily. Your midwife will monitor your weight throughout your pregnancy and will advise you if necessary.
You may start to, or continue to experience Braxton Hicks. These are ‘practice’ contractions, during which you may feel your uterus clench or harden periodically. Women describe the sensation as a tightening at the top of the uterus that spreads downwards. The length of time that the sensation lasts varies between 15 seconds to two minutes and is a normal part of your body’s preparation for labour and delivery.
Many women start to feel uncomfortably large at this stage in their pregnancy and most find it hard to get comfortable in bed at night. If you are struggling to sleep because you can’t get comfortable, you could try sleeping on your side, with your knees bent and using an additional pillow as support underneath them. Cramping muscles can also disrupt sleep and are especially common in the lower leg and toes. Rubbing the cramping muscle and walking around can help. Some practitioners believe that there is a link between muscle cramps and low levels of calcium. Ensuring that you are eating plenty of dairy e.g. milk, cheese and yoghurt may be helpful in reducing the frequency of cramps. Your Doctor can advise you further on this matter.
Varicose veins are another common symptom during pregnancy. Some women choose to wear maternity support stockings or tights that contain strong elastic and can help to relieve achiness in the legs.
It is important to ensure that the baby is moving well. This means at least ten episodes of movement per day. The baby may not move much one day but the next it should. If it does not you should see a medical professional. In essence the tummy should be growing and the baby moving.
Pre-eclampsia, vaginal bleeding, premature birth and obstetric cholestasis are important complications in late pregnancy. Pre-eclampsia manifests as headaches, disturbances of vision, swelling particularly of the legs and face and upper abdominal pain. It can result in a small baby and the tummy being smaller than it should be. Vaginal haemorrhage (bleeding) is abnormal in late pregnancy. Painful contractions can result in premature birth. Itching of the palms of the hands and the soles of the feet may be due to obstetric cholestasis which is a threat to the baby. More generalized itching is common and usually harmless.
Visits to the midwife or GP become more frequent in later pregnancy. She will ask about symptoms take the blood pressure and check the urine. The midwife will measure the tummy with a tape measure. This is a crude, basic method of estimating the size of the baby. Referral will be made to the consultant as necessary. If there is a serious threat of early birth then an injection of steroids is given to the mother which will help to protect the baby from respiratory distress.
In a private self referral clinic additional blood tests and ultrasound scans can be done at short notice with rapid reporting of results. This is important if the baby is smaller than it should be or not moving enough. The woman and her partner can see a consultant for opinion and advice. This is done at a convenient time and with plenty time for discussion.
' Professional and reassuring 'Helen Campbell
The sonographer was ready as soon as I arrived, and she was extremely calming, personable and professional. The scan and blood test where efficient without feeling rushed and all very easy. These appointments can feel uneasy and make you feel anxious but I felt reassured and in professional hands the whole time
I saw Kate throughout my first pregnancy and am now doing so again with my second. She is absolutely amazing, she explains everything really clearly, and has answered all sorts of bizarre questions and worries I have had. On top of being clinically excellent she is also just the loveliest person and always a pleasure to see.Sarah Elliott
We had the harmony test with the Birth Company and had a reassurance scan with sonographer Kirsty McGarry who was absolutely lovely and really put our minds at rest. We had been scared by our NHS dating scan and left feeling like there was something wrong. We explained the situation and was treated very professionally and with good care. Also speedy appointments also as I had phone in the morning and got an appointment by afternoon. So thankful.Ashley and Tom
Really friendly, efficient service. Great experience overall. Had the Panorama. My appointment was with Kate who was absolutely fantastic. The results came really quickly. Have a comparison with private healthcare elsewhere and must say that The Birth Company was just how I would like to be treated when I pay for medical services - attentively, calmly, friendly, in a pleasant environment that doesn't look like hospital. Top marks!Anna
' Efficient, friendly and always on hand to provide last minute appointments 'Hannah Murphy
The Birth Company has been excellent, providing timely scans and blood tests during my IVF treatment abroad. Staff are always friendly and extremely efficient. I would highly recommend coming here.
' Professional and friendly 'Lyndsey Dilla
When I first contacted the Birth Company I spoke to Danielle. She was fantastic. She went above & beyond to put me at easy & make the journey from Kent as stress free as possible. Every staff member that myself and my husband have come into contact with have been approachable, professional and friendly. Kate scanned me the first time and put me completely at easy. Lisa on reception is professional and very approachable. Highly recommended
' Highly recommended 'Emelie
Donald was so lovely! I was so nervous as I have a bad history and he was super quick and confirmed my baby's heartbeat as quickly as he could. He spent time showing me the baby and the anatomy and it was the best money I have ever spent! The reception girls were lovely too - considering they deal with babies day in day out they were super excited for me! Thank you so much one and all! If only I lived in London and could have all my scans with you!
Great Portland Street