Welcome to week 33 of your pregnancy. With just seven weeks to go in your pregnancy, you can’t wait to hold your bundle of joy in your arms. At this stage, you may be feeling several aches and pains and other symptoms like insomnia, fatigue, and swelling. The good news is that these symptoms will go away once your baby is born. Find out more about the changes in your baby and your baby during week 33 of pregnancy.
Pregnancy week 33
At 33 weeks, your baby’s organs are fully developed. If your baby were to be born this week, she has an excellent chance of survival. You are steadily gaining weight at the rate of one pound a week now. It is now getting difficult to maneuver your bump around furniture, fit into a car, or even stand at the kitchen sink.
1. Low back pain
Increased levels of pregnancy hormones relax the joints in the pelvis to accommodate the growing uterus and to enhance the flexibility of the pelvis, which can lead to back pain. As your uterus grows bigger, it also puts extra pressure on the sciatic nerve, which can lead to back pain. Take a warm bath, use a heating pad, and switch the side that you sleep on to relieve back pain. Physical therapy can also help to reduce this pain (1).
It is normal to feel warmer when you are pregnant. Hormonal changes, faster metabolism, and increased blood volume can raise your body temperature. I n addition, your fetus radiates body heat, causing you to feel hot from increased skin temperature. Though you may feel uncomfortable because of this heat, it is difficult for your body temperature to rise to harmful levels due to these factors. To prevent overheating, stay hydrated, splash cold water on your face, soothe your feet in cold water and sleep in a cool room.
The inability to get comfortable in bed, frequent urination, and leg cramps, can all make a good night’s sleep elusive for pregnant women. Anxiety about birth can also keep them up at night (2). Try and use a pregnancy pillow to help you sleep better. If you still can’t sleep, get up and read a book or take a warm bath.
4. Shortness of breath
Your growing uterus puts pressure on your lungs, which prevents them from expanding further. Stand up straight and sleep on your left side.
5. Urinary incontinence
You may notice some urinary leakage during this stage of your pregnancy. When you laugh, cough or sneeze or lift something substantial, some urine may leak out from your bladder. You can wear a light pad to avoid embarrassment. Pelvic floor exercises help to strengthen the muscles that support your bladder.
6. More Braxton Hick’s contractions
You may notice more Braxton Hick’s contractions during this stage of your pregnancy. These practice contractions are painless and irregular. They also help to create a surge of oxygenated blood to the placenta.
7. Mood swings
Fatigue, physical changes, changes in metabolism, and hormonal changes can all lead to mood swings. Try and do activities that give you pleasure. Talk to your family and friends about your feelings.
8. Numbness in fingers
You may also start feeling numbness and tingling in our fingers, hands, and wrists at this stage. As your body retains fluids, the tissues of your body swell and put pressure on your wrists. Stretch your hands and wrists.
9. Varicose veins
Varicose veins can be itchy, uncomfortable, and even painful. They tend to get more pronounced as you get larger. Exercise is the key to preventing varicose veins. Keep your feet elevated whenever possible, and flex your feet.
Your body at week 33 of pregnancy
The top of your uterus is now a little over 5 inches from your belly button. You have now gained between 22 to 28 pounds. The milk-producing glands in your breasts are growing larger and increasing the size of your breasts. At 33 weeks, your uterus contains more of your baby and less amniotic fluid. This is the reason why you can feel her kicks and pokes better now.
Your baby at week 33 of pregnancy
By the end of this week, your baby will measure 16.5 inches in length and will weigh around 5 pounds.
- Your baby is gaining weight rapidly, at the rate of half a pound a week.
- As your baby gains weight, her skin looks less red and wrinkled.
- The pupils of your baby’s eyes can adjust to light now.
- Her bones are fully developed now but are still soft. Her skull will also remain soft and flexible so that she can pass through the birth canal during delivery.
- Your baby can experience deep REM sleep.
- Your baby’s brain is developing fast. Her head circumference has increased by half an inch this week.
Tips to be followed when you are 33 weeks pregnant
1. Pack your hospital bag
Only one in 20 babies are born on their due date. So, it is a good idea to keep your bags packed and ready in case the baby comes early. Your hospital bag should contain:
- Your birth plan and hospital notes
- Your medicines
- Your baby’s clothes and nappies
- Something comfortable to wear during labor
- Spare clothes
- Nursing bras and breast pads
- Sanitary pads
Studies have shown that sleeping on your side during pregnancy can reduce the risk of stillbirth (3). Lying on your back during the later stage of pregnancy can put pressure on the major blood vessels and reduce the blood flow to the womb. This can restrict your baby’s oxygen supply, which may lead to stillbirth.
3. Plan ahead
After the birth of your baby, you will have your hands full. It is a good idea to plan in advance and get your home ready for the new arrival. Prepare storage space for your baby’s clothes and nappies. Stock up your refrigerator with meals as it may be difficult to cook during the first few days.
4. Eat well
Eat healthy and balanced meals over the next few weeks. At this stage, what you eat and how much you eat can impact your baby directly. Over the next few weeks, your baby’s requirement for fats and proteins are the highest. Meat, poultry, eggs, beans, and nuts are rich in proteins. You must also add more calcium to your diet in the form of milk, cheese, and yogurt.
Your pregnancy week 33 doctor’s visit
From week 28 to 36, you will visit your doctor every second week. During this visit, your healthcare provider will weigh you, check your blood pressure. He will also measure your abdomen to see your baby’s growth. You will also give a urine sample to test for protein and sugar. Your doctor may also do a pelvic exam to see if your cervix is dilating.
There are no routine lab tests or ultrasounds during this time. However, if you have a high-risk pregnancy, your doctor may order a biophysical profile. BPP is a detailed ultrasound during which the technician checks the amniotic fluid levels, your baby’s muscle tone, and your baby’s movements, and breathing patterns.
Tips for the partner
If, after the birth of your baby, you are going to become a one-income household, it can put a strain on your household budget. Plan and put some money aside for use after the birth of your child. This saving will help you out when the money is tight.
Your baby is now gaining weight at the rate of half a pound per week. You are also steadily gaining weight, and your growing uterus is causing symptoms like back pain, breathlessness, leg cramps, and insomnia. Eat a diet rich in healthy fats, lean protein, and calcium to ensure the proper growth of your baby.