As you round the middle of the third trimester of your pregnancy, your baby is putting on the pounds at a rapid pace and starting to position herself for birth, according to the American Pregnancy Association. Even though in weeks 32 through 35 she isn't ready to make her grand appearance, her organs are nearly fully developed and she's looking more and more like a newborn.
A baby's lungs don't fully mature until somewhere between weeks 38 and 40. By week 32, according to the Health and Human Services Department's Office on Women’s Health, "Lungs are not fully formed, but practice 'breathing' movements occur." According to the APA, most babies' lungs are mature by 36 weeks of gestation. If you and your physician know that delivery may come early, the APA explains, "In some cases, an injection of steroids will be given to the baby before the delivery in order to speed the development of the lungs."
Height and Weight
Typically developing babies continue to gain weight throughout the third trimester. After 32 weeks, they are 15 to 17 inches long and weigh 4 to 4 1/2 pounds, according to the Office on Women's Health. Over the next three to four weeks they reach 16 to 19 inches in length and their weight increases to 6 to 6 1/2 pounds.
Getting Ready for Birth
Between weeks 32 and 35 your baby will begin changing positions. It must turn around into a downward-facing position — toward the birth canal — before labor begins. A few weeks before your anticipated delivery date, your health care provider will feel your abdomen to check if your baby has turned yet, notes Dr. Sean Lambert of North Pointe OB/GYN Associates in Cumming, Georgia. He may try to manually turn your baby by placing his hands on your belly and manipulating the baby from the outside. If this doesn't work and your baby doesn't turn on his own, your doctor will discuss your birthing options.
At 32 weeks your baby may begin to lose the thin hair — called lanugo — that has covered her body for several weeks. Although most babies shed their lanugo during this period, some don't fully loose their prenatal hair until months after they are born. During weeks 33 through 36, your baby's skin will also lose some of the redness and wrinkles that it's had up to this point.