It can be normal to experience “practice” or Braxton Hicks contractions around 32 weeks. But what if it’s the real thing?
Going into labor unexpectedly and having a baby at 32 weeks can be a stressful start to life with your new little one.
But it’s good to know that the care of preterm babies is improving all the time, and the help your baby receives will give them the best start to life.
The conditions of babies born at 32 weeks can vary massively, and your experience will probably be different to others in the same situation.
So how do you know what to expect with a 32 weeks preemie?
Here’s a guide just for you.
In this article 📝
- What does a baby born at 32 weeks look like?
- What happens if a baby is born at 32 weeks?
- Do babies born at 32 weeks need NICU?
- What are the chances of survival for a baby born at 32 weeks?
- Can a baby born at 32 weeks be healthy and normal?
- Are babies fully developed at 32 weeks?
What does a baby born at 32 weeks look like?
A baby born at 32 weeks is very preterm and will be much smaller than a baby born at 40 weeks.
They may weigh around 4lbs, and they’ll likely double their weight by the time they reach their original due date.
Their skin will likely be opaque by this point, but their muscle and fat will be underdeveloped, so their limbs will be particularly skinny-looking.
What happens if a baby is born at 32 weeks?
You might be wondering how long the hospital stay is for a newborn born at 32 weeks.
The annoying answer is that the length of time will vary from baby to baby, so it’s hard to say.
The doctors will be looking for your 32-week preemie to be able to breathe, feed, and keep warm without medical intervention before you’re discharged.
This may be as little as a few weeks or could be a couple of months if they face other complications.
Do babies born at 32 weeks need NICU?
Yes, the majority of babies born at 32 weeks will have to spend some time in NICU.
Most babies born at 32 weeks will likely require at least supplementary oxygen to help them breathe, although this may be for a shorter amount of time than babies born earlier.
Their feeding reflex will be weak, and they may need help getting nutrition.
They will also probably need help to keep warm as their ability to regulate their body temperature hasn’t matured yet, and their lack of fat stores means it’s easy for them to get cold.
So, they’ll probably spend time in an incubator in NICU until they can regulate their temperature, while their breathing is also carefully monitored.
They’ll also be observed for things like jaundice (due to immature liver function) and low blood sugar levels.
What are the chances of survival for a baby born at 32 weeks?
Research suggests that the baby born at 32 weeks survival rate is around 99.5%, which is good news.
Although they’ll still be little, a 32-week old baby has done a lot of the important stuff inside you already.
Can a baby born at 32 weeks be healthy and normal?
The long-term prognosis for babies born at 32 weeks is that the vast majority will go on to live “healthy and normal” lives.
If there are no underlying health issues, a baby born at 32 weeks may only need specialist help for a short period.
Are babies fully developed at 32 weeks?
So what’s going on inside them? Are babies’ lungs developed at 32 weeks?
Well, all of the major organs will be fully functioning — except the lungs and brain.
These two are just so complex, and every week of pregnancy really counts towards their development.
At eight weeks premature, there’s still work to do.
This is why it’s very likely your little one will need extra medical care in these first few precious weeks.
While they’re under the watchful eyes of their medical team, it’s an important time for you to take care of yourself too.
Having a baby in the NICU can take its toll emotionally and physically, so remember to eat well, rest when you can, and talk to your loved ones if you’re struggling.
Wishing you all the best 💕
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