Baby Born At 32 Weeks: Care and Development


When a woman has a full-term pregnancy, it helps in the proper growth and development of the baby. But it is not always possible for a woman to complete the full term of pregnancy as certain complications during pregnancy may lead to premature delivery. Babies born before the 37th week of pregnancy are termed as preterm babies.

In this article:

What Causes Childbirth at 32 Weeks?
Development of a Premature Baby Born at 32 Weeks
Health Complications Faced by a Baby Born at 32 Weeks
How to Take Care of a Preemie Born at 32 Weeks?
What is the Survival Rate of Babies Born at 32 Weeks?
How Long Will a Baby Born at 32 Weeks Stay in Nicu?

A Guide for Baby Born At 32 Weeks

What Causes Childbirth at 32 Weeks?

  • Presence of multiple babies such as twins or triplets.
  • Problems in the placenta that may lead it to be separated early.
  • When the placenta is unable to provide enough oxygen and nutrition to the baby.
  • The pregnant woman has an infection.
  • Consuming illegal drugs, drinking alcoholic beverages or smoking while pregnant.
  • The irritable uterus or an incompetent cervix leading to failure in holding the baby securely.

Baby Born At 32 Weeks

Development of a Premature Baby Born at 32 Weeks

Babies born at 32 weeks of pregnancy generally weigh around 1.5kgs and are usually 20 inches in length. Most babies can breathe by themselves even though the lungs are not developed fully by this time. But they need a supplementary oxygen supply to help maintain healthy oxygen levels in the body. This is why they are made to stay in the NICU of the hospital. As the reflexes of swallowing and sucking do not develop in babies up until around 34 weeks of pregnancy, they are not able to eat or rather suck on their own. Hence, they receive nutrition and fluids intravenously (iv).

In some premature babies, the hair will be present in good quantities while others may have only a few. In male babies, testicles usually descend down into the scrotum but for some, it may happen over time. A baby born at 32 weeks should be totally aware of the surroundings as all of the senses should function pretty well and may rarely have any disabilities related to sensory perception.

Babies gain a considerable amount of body fat by this time and may look plump but if they do not put weight, they may be kept in an incubator to keep the body temperature warm.

Health Complications Faced by a Baby Born at 32 Weeks

  • Maybe born underweight – a premature baby may be underweight or low birth weight. Since the weight of the child is not at a level that it ought to be, feeding the child becomes the prime priority to help gain weight. If the child doesn’t gain weight, they may suffer from hypothermia. Hence, the child is placed in an incubator until weight gain is normalized over the next few weeks.
  • May not be able to suck – as the sucking reflex develops in the babies around 34 weeks of gestation, the preemie born at 32 weeks may not be able to feed or suckle at the breast successfully. At times, underdeveloped babies also find it hard to digest breastmilk effectively which may lead to further health complications. In such a case, the baby will be given nutrition intravenously.
  • May have brain development issues – baby born at 32 weeks is likely to have learning and behavioural problems as the brain may not be fully developed by now. By the 32nd week of pregnancy, the baby’s brain is developed only 66% of its final development stage which is why doctors keep them in the NICU.
  • May have a weak immune system – a baby’s immunity receives a mega-boost from the pregnant woman in the final stages of the pregnancy. But due to premature birth, the baby may not have a strong immune system, hence making them an easy target for infections. The tubes and injections being used to support the child may also lead to an infection.

How to Take Care of a Preemie Born at 32 Weeks?

By undertaking proper prenatal care, the risks of premature birth can be minimized and premature labour itself can be stopped or delayed. But if the baby is born at 32 weeks of pregnancy, they must be fed well. Since feeding is paramount, the baby can be given breastmilk via a nasogastric tube. A baby is most likely to stay in NICU which will be beneficial for the health.

Doctors also recommend kangaroo care, as it helps in the growth of the baby. Kangaroo care basically means giving skin-to-skin contact to the baby as it helps with the baby’s immunity and weight. If the baby is born at 32 weeks, hold the baby against the bare breasts for as long as possible to keep naturally warm and safe.

Be careful about taking the baby home once discharged from the NICU. Keep the environment in and around the home safe and disinfected. The premature baby might face developmental delays too, so look for special programs that can help the child learn things the right way and help in developing.

What is the Survival Rate of Babies Born at 32 Weeks?

The chance of survival of a baby born in the 7th month is quite high. Advancement in medical science and technology has made it possible to use cutting-edge equipment and techniques to reduce infant mortality and ensure that the baby can grow up in a healthy manner. But it also depends on the health condition of the baby. Doctors alone can tell whether a baby born at 7 months can survive or not.

How Long Will a Baby Born at 32 Weeks Stay in Nicu?

The babies need to stay in NICU until they are healthy and strong. Preterm babies sometimes tend to resemble a full-growth newborn but are not completely developed. For a baby to be discharged from the hospital, the immune system should catch in order to fight off infections successfully. The strength to be able to suckle at the breasts should manifest too so that the tubes can be removed and the baby can suckle at the breasts naturally. Once the baby develops completely and meets all the milestones like feeding, breathing, able to stay warm without any external support, then only the doctor will discharge the baby.


32 weeks of pregnancy can be quite unnerving for a woman. But by taking measures to protect the baby and letting them develop in a secure environment, the baby should be healthy and fine!