women
You are 32 Weeks and 4 Days 52 days to go…

By this stage of pregnancy, your baby’s fingernails have grown and reach the tips of his fingers.

Your baby today

This image shows that the bridge of your baby’s nose is now more fully formed. The face is taking on a more rounded shape and some babies may look quite chubby from now on. Shadows around the top and sides of the head will increasingly give the illusion of hair.

By now, your baby’s fingernails have reached the tips of the fingers. The fingernails first appeared at 12 weeks, and since the development of the arms is consistently ahead of the legs, the toenails started to develop four weeks later. The future nail begins at the tip of each finger or toe, where a nail fold is formed. At the base of this nail fold, the cells start to harden into nail, in a process known as keratinization. The nails grow from new cells formed in the soft nail bed. It takes nine weeks for the nails to reach the fingertips and it will be another four weeks before the toenails reach the tips of the toes.

The nail is actually all the same color, but the white part of the nail appears white because it does not have the nail bed, with its rich blood supply, beneath it to give the illusion of color. Since the nails already reach the fingertips, it probably won’t be long after the birth before your baby’s nails need trimming—they are very fine and soft and you may find it easier to trim them by nibbling them away rather than trying to cut them. Or cut them with baby nail scissors while your baby is asleep and not wiggling around.

… Your body

Yoga is excellent exercise for the mind and body while you’re pregnant, and may be a cornerstone of your birth preparations if you choose to take active birth classes . An instructor will tailor a routine for your body and the stage of your pregnancy. The individual stretches shown below are ideal for opening up the pelvis and strengthening the legs. By practicing them while you’re pregnant, you’ll be able to use them more effectively and confidently during labor. When you’re practicing squatting, it may help if your partner supports you from behind.

Get into a squatting position. Squat only if you find it easy to hold this position with your heels on the floor and your back straight.

Sit with your left leg stretched out in front of you and right leg bent. Gently twist your body, placing your hands on the floor for additional support.

Sit with one leg stretched out behind you, and the other tucked beneath your belly. Stretch upward, breathing deeply throughout.

You are 32 Weeks and 5 Days 51 days to go…

To get used to the fact that your newborn will arrive very soon, start focusing on life after the birth.

Your baby today

In this image of the baby lying on his side, the arm is positioned beneath the head and is partly outside of the 3D view. This allows the ultrasound scan to look within the arm. Part of the bones in the elbow and forearm are seen here as bright reflections.

Friends and family might now begin talking about what will happen after the birth and what it will be like for you to have a baby.

If this is your first baby, you probably can’t really envisage what it will be like to be a mom, and even if you have had a baby before you’ve never had a second or third and so don’t know what it will be like to have another one. Of course you know that life will continue, but it can be difficult to see past the labor to the realities of life with a newborn. As ever, keep talking to those close to you about how you feel, be it excited or scared and unprepared (usually all three in rapid succession). Talk about what you think or hope it will be like after the baby is born, for example when are grandparents and other key people going to visit, and whether you would like a christening or naming party—or perhaps neither of these. This may help you get used to the idea that not only are you pregnant but there is a baby coming.

… Doctor
Q: How will I benefit from going to prenatal classes?
A: You’ll get the opportunity to share information, ideas, fears, and concerns about childbirth in a comfortable environment, and to discuss and decide upon issues that will affect the way you choose to give birth. You’ll also meet other parents-to-be. Often friendships formed at classes continue after the birth as you support each other in your new parenting role. In most classes, you’ll be given advice about:
  • Tried-and-tested labor techniques, such as breathing through the pain, massage, suitable sustenance, and some positive visualization exercises

  • Pain-relief options and a range of natural alternatives 

  • How to present (and preserve) your birth plan

  • The practical and emotional support a birth partner can offer

  • The items required for a hospital or home birth (see … Doctor and Items for your hospital bag).

You’ll be advised on how to prepare yourself for the birth, what to expect in the first few days, and how to encourage healing afterward, as well as being given tips on caring for a newborn, including diaper changing, bathing, and establishing breast-feeding.

Prenatal classes are a wonderful opportunity to swap ideas and information with a group of people in the same position as you. Long-term friendships can be made here.

In a first birth, the cervix dilates by about 0.5 cm every hour, compared to 1.5 cm an hour for subsequent babies.

First-time moms push for around an hour, compared with about half an hour for a second baby.

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