Your baby this week
32 weeks pregnant

rubber bands

In the know

To allow passage of the baby through the birth canal, the cervix must widen (dilate) to 10 centimeters -- about four inches across -- and thin (efface). The cervix can be compared to a thick rubber band: as it stretches, it both widens and thins.

See it in action in this animation: 3D childbirth video

Pregnant woman

Too close for comfort?

P&B reader Karen asks: "During a recent ultrasound in my 20th week, the Ob/Gyn said that my placenta was very close to my cervix... Are there any ways and/or exercises that can help shift the placenta away from the cervix?"

Wanda Steele, RNC, answers: "The placenta is formed wherever the egg decides to attach to the wall of the uterus. Usually, it is in the upper two thirds of the uterus, but occasionally it attaches in the lower uterine segment near or over the opening to the cervix. As the pregnancy progresses, placentas do tend to gravitate up as the uterus grows up and out of the pelvis. Placentas that entirely cover the opening to the cervix usually do not make that drastic a change.

"This is called placenta previa, meaning that the placenta is in front of the baby and entirely covers the opening to the cervix. There are partial placenta previas, where only a portion of the cervical opening is covered, and these are the ones that may shift upwards in the uterus as it grows."

Click here to learn more about placenta previa, and how it's managed.

How does it feel?

Wondering how something you never have experienced before will feel -- namely, the elements of childbirth? We (ahem) know the feeling.

Check this out: What does labor and birth feel like?

Just for you...

Here are six cool things you can do -- exclusively for women pregnant for the first time. Take advantage!  

>> 6 things for you to experience during pregnancy

Happy woman

Birth word: Station

Nothing to do with where trains or buses pick up fares, this is all about how close your own little “passenger” is to being born. Your caregiver will refer to the measure of the baby's descent through the birth canal in terms of the station, or the point his or her head (or whatever part is emerging first) has reached.

There are eleven stations, measured in centimeters, measured upward and downward from the middle of the pelvis -- which is assigned station 0 (zero). The five stations above that point are referred to in negative numbers, and the five stations below are referred to in positive numbers.

START HERE: Your birth guide!

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