The article was consulted professionally by Bsck II Pham Thi Xuan Minh – Obstetrics and Gynecology Department, Share99 Hai Phong International Health Hub.
At the 32nd week (8th month) of pregnancy, the fetus is in full development. During this period, the child already has visual development; formation of new muscles such as nails, toenails, hair; and rapid increase in body weight.
1. Fetal changes at week 32 of pregnancy
32 weeks during pregnancy, or 30 weeks after conception, the baby continues to develop completely. This is called the stage when the baby is practicing breathing. The mother can see the fetal respiratory rhythm through observation of the up and down rhythm in the abdomen.
At this time, the 32-week fetus has had some significant developments such as:
- Toenails and nails have sprung up, along with real hair, which is visible through ultrasound.
- The silky soft undercoat that has covered the baby's skin over the past few months (fluff) began to fall out this week.
- The fetus is growing faster: By now, the baby can be 11 inches (280mm) long from the top of the head to the buttocks and weigh 1,700 grams. How much the weight of the pregnant woman increases each week, then half of it is transferred to the baby. The weight of the pregnancy will increase by 1/3 to 1/2 before birth in the next 7 weeks in preparation for the process of adaptation to the external environment of the uterus.
- Babies are already able to focus on large objects not too far away, and this ability to focus will remain so until birth. At this time, the baby does eye-opening activities, squinting, blinking and practicing eye control. When there is strong light through the womb, the baby is able to avoid itself, close his eyes, and the homies regulate to limit the light that enters the eyes.
2. What should pregnant women prepare at this stage?
2.1 What to do when the shortness of breath increases?
At this stage, the pregnant mother may feel shortness of breath. That's because your uterus is pushing up near the diaphragm – especially during high pregnancy, multiple pregnancies or excessive amniotic fluid.
Now you may find it difficult to breathe because more oxygen is needed to provide the fetus and the body is trying to adapt to meet this need in many ways. Increased hormones, especially progesterone, directly affect the lungs and stimulate the respiratory center in the brain. And although the breathing rate per minute varies very little during pregnancy, the amount of air inhaled and exhaled with each breath increases significantly.
Shortness of breath during pregnancy can also be aggravated by pre-existing conditions, such as asthma, anemia or high blood pressure. If you find it a little difficult to breathe, try these tips to relieve pain:
- Do things a little slower and don't try too hard when you're active.
- Sit upright and keep your shoulders straight (especially when sitting) to increase your lung's oxygen supply.
- A few extra pillows can be added when lying in bed at night.
- Try to be patient: After childbirth, your breathing will soon return to normal.
Tell your doctor if you have trouble breathing because of respiratory illnesses, such as influenza. Pregnant women with respiratory diseases often have more serious symptoms and are more likely to develop complications, such as pneumonia. (That's why influenza vaccination is so important if you're pregnant during the flu season.)
In addition, you should also tell your doctor if you have blood clot problems. Because blood clots during pregnancy are likely to reach the lungs causing pulmonary embolism. See your doctor immediately if you have symptoms:
- Sudden or severe shortness of breath
- More severe asthma
- Fast circuit
- Tachycardia or irregularity
- Feeling about to pass out
- Chest pain or breathing pain
- Lips, fingers or toes turn blue (signs of hypoxia)
- Feel that the body is always in a state of not receiving enough oxygen
- Persistent cough, cough along with fever or chills, or coughing up blood.
2.2 How to soothe Braxton Hicks contractions?
Braxton Hicks contractions are non-continuous uterus contractions that begin during the early part of pregnancy, although you will probably not pay attention to them until birth. It is named after John Braxton Hicks, the English doctor who first described contractions in 1872. As pregnancy progresses, Braxton Hicks contractions tend to occur more frequently.
Braxton Hicks contractions are usually painless, but they can be uncomfortable. To alleviate discomfort from Braxton Hicks contractions, try the following measures:
- Change of activity to relieve pain: Walking or resting reduces contractions, should be applied flexibly. (Be aware, real labor contractions persist and progress no matter what you do.)
- Drink some water because these contractions can sometimes be caused by dehydration.
- Practice relaxation exercises or slow, deep breathing: While not preventing Braxton Hicks contractions, it can help you cope with discomfort (Practice some pain control strategies that you learned in the childbirth preparation class).
Call an ambulance or go to the hospital if contractions become more rhythmic, painful or frequent, or if there are any signs of premature labor:
- Menstrual-like abdominal pain or cramps
- Normal contractions (at least 6 times/hour, or every 10 minutes, even if they are painless)
- Vaginal bleeding
- Increased vaginal discharge or abnormal changes such as being watery, looking like mucus or having blood (even if it is only pink)
- More pressure in the pelvic or lower abdomen (as the fetus is pushing down)
- Low back pain, especially if previously less present or mildly present.
The 32-week fetal period is an important milestone, the mother needs to be examined:
- Regular examination: Measure weight, signs of survival, check for signs of edema, high uterus,…
- Fetal ultrasound: Ultrasound screening for fetal malformations (If the 28-week mark has not been checked)
- Blood test: Check blood glucose levels, electrolysis, …
- Urine test.
Share99 International Health Hub currently has packages of maternity health care packages with outstanding quality. Pregnant women are supported by an experienced obstetrician and gynecologist at Share99 during pregnancy – labor – post-birth. Maternity packages at Share99 International Health Hub include:
- 12-week maternity package
- 27-week maternity package
- 36-week maternity package
- Package maternity – labor.
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Reference source: Webmd.com; Babycenter.com
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