At week 32, your little one is about the size of a cantaloupe or squash, measuring around 17 inches and weighing about 3.5-4.5 pounds. The soft downy hair that has covered the majority of the baby's body, the lanugo, is starting to disappear. Some babies may be born with some remnants of this on their shoulders or back, but most will lose this furry look before birth. Baby's skin is becoming smoother and softer, and with fat deposits underneath your little human, he is looking more like the baby you will see in a few weeks come due day.
The baby also forms nostrils and gets his lungs prepped for actual breathing. He is practicing swallowing, sucking, and breathing in preparation for digestion. The baby isn't really breathing and gets all he needs from the placenta at this stage, but this practice will help his lungs develop. The breathing motion encourages cells to produce more surfactant, the protein substance necessary for healthy lungs.
While you don't want your baby to be born this early, it is nice to know that most babies born at this stage will survive without life-threatening complications. They may spend an extended time in the hospital and need medical interventions, but they should eventually make enough strides to make the journey home.
Whenever your baby is born, you will likely have questions about how to care for him or what might make him a happier baby. The Happiest Baby on the Block DVD might be able to answer your questions, and you can watch it while you rest in these last couple of months.
- American Pregnancy Association - Week 32