Congratulations on reaching week 33 of your pregnancy!
In this article, we’ll cover what’s happening in pregnancy week 33, from your baby’s development to dealing with symptoms to how to take care of yourself in these final few weeks of your journey.
Later in the article, we’ve got answers to FAQs about this stage of pregnancy, so sit back, read on, and get ready to learn about this exciting week of your pregnancy journey!
Your baby’s development at 33 weeks pregnant
At 33 weeks, you’re so close to the big day. By this stage, your baby has already undergone many major developments, and they’re still growing!
Check out some of the main areas of development in week 33:
At 33 weeks pregnant, your baby’s major organs are fully developed, including its heart, lungs, liver, and kidneys.
Weight gain and muscle development
Your baby continues gaining weight and building muscle, weighing around 4.5 pounds and measuring approximately 17 inches long. At 33 weeks, they’re about the size of a pineapple!
The baby’s lungs are almost fully mature, and they practice breathing movements by inhaling and exhaling amniotic fluid.
Your baby’s brain grows rapidly, allowing for more advanced cognitive development. They are developing their senses, including touch, taste, and hearing, and may even be able to recognize your voice.
Your baby’s eyes can open and close, and they may be able to distinguish between light and dark.
Your baby’s skin is becoming less translucent and developing a layer of fat that helps regulate body temperature after birth.
Preparing for life outside the womb
At 33 weeks pregnant, your baby’s skull bones are still relatively soft and flexible, which allows them to pass more easily through the birth canal during delivery.
Your baby is getting ready for life outside the womb, with their organs and systems fully developed and their body growing stronger and more capable with each passing day.
Understanding symptoms at 33 weeks pregnant
Pregnancy symptoms can be overwhelming at times, and even though you’ve already been pregnant for around eight months, dealing with them doesn’t necessarily get easier.
Still, the more you know about these symptoms and how to deal with them, the fewer chances they can bring you down.
Feeling tired is normal during pregnancy, especially in the third trimester. To combat fatigue, try to get plenty of rest, take naps during the day, and prioritize getting enough sleep at night.
2. Shortness of breath
As your baby grows, it can pressure your lungs and diaphragm, causing shortness of breath.
Try to sit up straight and take deep breaths to alleviate this symptom. Try sleeping with your upper body propped up with pillows.
3. Braxton Hicks contractions
These practice contractions can feel like a tightening or hardening of the abdomen. They are usually painless and irregular and can be relieved by changing positions or taking a warm bath.
This is a common symptom caused by the hormones that relax the muscles in the digestive tract.
To reduce heartburn, eat smaller, more frequent meals, avoid spicy and acidic foods, and avoid lying down after eating.
As your body retains more fluid, you may notice swelling in your feet, ankles, and hands. To reduce swelling, try to elevate your feet when possible and avoid standing or sitting for long periods.
6. Back pain
As your belly grows, it can strain your back muscles and spine, leading to discomfort. To alleviate back pain, try practicing good posture, wearing supportive shoes, and using a heating pad or ice pack as needed.
7. Blood pressure
Your blood pressure may increase slightly due to the extra strain on the cardiovascular system from the growing uterus and increased blood volume.
8. Difficulty sleeping
Many women find it difficult to get comfortable at night as their bellies grow, leading to insomnia or restless sleep.
To improve sleep quality, try using a body pillow or pregnancy pillow to support your belly and back, and avoid drinking caffeine or fluids before bedtime.
Self-Care at 33 Weeks Pregnant
Self-care during pregnancy is crucial for your health and the health of your growing baby. Suppose you’ve been researching how to best care for yourself throughout pregnancy. You already know the importance of a healthy and balanced diet, hydration, exercise, and rest.
These simple self-care practices make a huge difference to your and your baby’s well-being. In addition to self-care around your health, consider the following as you approach your due date:
- Pack your hospital bag: Make sure you have a bag packed and ready to go with essentials like toiletries, comfortable clothes, and baby clothes.
- Write a birth plan: Think about your preferences for labor and delivery, and communicate them with your healthcare provider. This can help ensure that your wishes are respected during the birthing process.
- Attend childbirth classes: Many hospitals and birthing centers offer childbirth classes to help you prepare for labor, delivery, and postpartum recovery. These classes can help you feel more confident and informed about birthing.
- Install a car seat: Make sure you have a car seat installed properly in your vehicle so you’re ready to transport your baby home from the hospital.
- Nesting and organizing: Use this time to organize your home and prepare for your baby’s arrival. This can include setting up the nursery, washing baby clothes and linens, and stocking up on essentials like diapers and wipes.
- Practice relaxation techniques: Labor and delivery can be intense, so relaxation techniques like deep breathing, meditation, or pregnancy yoga can help you stay calm and focused.
Remember, every pregnancy and birth experience is unique. You may catch yourself unprepared for everything, so it’s key to have an emotional and professional support system ready to help. Still, the more prepared you are before the big day, the smoother the overall experience.
FAQs at 33 Weeks pregnant
Got more questions about pregnancy week 33? That’s completely normal.
Moms-to-be typically have plenty of questions and concerns before the baby arrives. This is a significant time in your life, and it’s your right to ask as many questions as you have in your mind.
Check out our answers to FAQs about pregnancy week 33 below.
What should you not do at 33 weeks pregnant?
At 33 weeks, you’re so close to that big day.
As such, it’s important to take extra special care of yourself. That means avoiding certain things, such as:
- Lifting heavy objects: Avoid lifting heavy objects or carrying heavy loads, as this can put unnecessary strain on your back and can increase the risk of injury.
- Smoking and exposure to secondhand smoke: Smoking during pregnancy can increase the risk of complications such as premature birth, low birth weight, and respiratory problems. Exposure to secondhand smoke can also be harmful to you and your baby.
- Drinking alcohol: Avoid drinking alcohol during pregnancy as it can cause fetal alcohol spectrum disorders, leading to lifelong physical, behavioral, and cognitive problems for your child.
- Taking certain medications: Some medications can be harmful to your developing baby. Always consult your healthcare provider before taking any medicines, including over-the-counter drugs and supplements.
- Eating certain foods: Certain foods can be harmful to your developing baby. Avoid raw or undercooked meat, fish with high levels of mercury, unpasteurized dairy products, and foods that may be contaminated with bacteria or parasites.
- Strenuous exercise: While moderate exercise is generally safe during pregnancy, avoid strenuous exercise or activities that could cause injury, such as contact sports.
Is it safe to deliver at 33 weeks?
Delivering at 33 weeks is considered premature. It is possible for babies born at this gestational age to survive and thrive, but it carries risks and complications.
Babies born at 33 weeks may have difficulty breathing independently and require respiratory support, as their lungs are not fully developed. They may also be at risk of other complications such as infections, jaundice, and feeding difficulties.
However, advances in medical care have improved outcomes for premature babies. Many babies born at 33 weeks receive specialized care in neonatal intensive care units (NICUs) that can help them overcome these challenges.
The decision to deliver a baby early is usually based on medical reasons, such as a risk to the mother’s health or concerns about the baby’s well-being.
Sometimes, doctors may recommend an early delivery to prevent complications or address a medical condition.
If you are at risk of delivering prematurely, you must talk to your healthcare provider about your options and what to expect. They can help you understand the risks and benefits of different approaches and develop a plan that is best for you and your baby.
What should you be feeling at 33 weeks pregnant?
At 33 weeks, you probably feel intense emotions, from excitement and anticipation to worry and nervousness. Your feelings are valid, and none are ‘bad’ or ‘wrong.’
This is an incredibly significant time in your life, and anyone in your position would simultaneously feel a wide range of emotions.
Physically, you may be feeling a lot of fatigue. Your baby is almost fully developed and weighs around 4.5 pounds; carrying the weight of your growing baby can be tiring, in addition to the added pressure on your pelvic area at this stage.
You may also feel shortness of breath as your uterus expands and pushes against your diaphragm.
Is a 33-week fetus fully developed?
While a 33-week fetus is well-developed, they are not considered fully developed yet. At this stage of pregnancy, most of the major organs and systems have formed and are functioning, but they continue to mature and develop.
One of the key areas of development that is still ongoing at 33 weeks is the lungs.
While this stage forms the lungs, they are not yet fully mature and may be unable to function independently outside the womb. This is why premature babies born at 33 weeks may have trouble breathing and require respiratory support.
Additionally, while the brain is nearly fully formed by 33 weeks, it is still developing and will continue to do so throughout childhood.
Overall, while a 33-week fetus has reached an important milestone in their development, they continue to mature and will require additional time in the womb to fully develop before they are ready to be born.
How many pounds should a baby be at 33 weeks?
At 33 weeks, the average weight of a baby is about 4 pounds, and they typically measure around 17-18 inches in length from head to toe.
However, every baby grows at their own pace, and there can be a wide range of normal weights and sizes at this stage of pregnancy.
It’s important to note that ultrasound estimates of fetal weight can be inaccurate, and the actual weight of a baby at birth can vary. Genetics, maternal health, and nutrition can all influence a baby’s growth and weight.
At 33 weeks pregnant, you’re so close to meeting your little one!
While you may feel discomfort and anticipation, remember that every day brings you closer to holding your baby in your arms.
Take care of yourself and your growing baby, and don’t hesitate to contact your healthcare provider if you have any questions or concerns.