You’ve almost made it to the end of your pregnancy journey! At 33 weeks pregnant, you only have about 7 weeks to go until your due date. This exciting time brings many changes as your body prepares for labor and delivery. Here’s what to expect when you are 33 weeks pregnant.
Key Things to Know at 33 Weeks Pregnant
- Your baby is the size of a pineapple and weighs over 4 pounds now. Their bones are hardening and organs maturing.
- Common symptoms include back pain, trouble sleeping, increased vaginal discharge, Braxton Hicks contractions, and swelling.
- The baby has likely turned head down in preparation for birth. But some babies are breech at 33 weeks.
- Your doctor will check the baby’s position at appointments going forward. Let them know if you feel less movement.
- While still early, your doctor may do an internal exam to see if your cervix is dilating or effacing.
- You’ll need to schedule a prenatal class this month if you haven’t already to prepare for childbirth and baby care.
- It’s time to install car seats and pack your hospital bag if you haven’t yet. Tour the labor ward too.
Changes to Expect with Your Baby at 33 Weeks
Your baby is really packing on weight now. At 33 weeks, they weigh around 4 1/4 pounds and are over 17 inches long. The average 33 week fetus is the size of a large pineapple. Pretty soon your baby will be nearing 6 pounds!
Brain and Lung Development
Your baby’s brain and lungs are still developing. The lungs are forming surfactant, a substance needed for breathing air after birth. The brain is building vital connections and gaining new skills. Some late brain growth involves the cerebral cortex which controls language, thought, reasoning, and memory.
Bones and Organs
The bones continue hardening but are still soft and pliable. This helps baby maneuver through the narrow birth canal. Your baby’s organs are maturing and becoming fully functional, getting ready for life outside the womb. The digestive system works and kidneys produce urine. Senses like vision, hearing, taste, and smell are sharp.
Lanugo and Vernix Disappearing
The downy hair layer (lanugo) and waxy coating (vernix) protecting your baby’s skin is almost gone now. These are shed as the skin transitions to adapt to life outside the womb. But some premature babies are born with lanugo and vernix still present.
As space becomes cramped, you may notice your baby is less active. But you should still feel steady movements each day, even if less frequent or vigorous. If you ever go more than a day without feeling movement at 33 weeks pregnant, contact your doctor right away. Decreased fetal movement can indicate a problem.
Head Down Position
By 33 weeks, most babies flip into the vertex head down position in preparation for delivery. Your doctor will check the position at appointments going forward. If baby is breech (feet or bottom down) at 33 weeks, they may try turning on their own still. But your provider will likely discuss options like attempting an external cephalic version after 37 weeks if breech persists.
Common Symptoms at 33 Weeks Pregnant
You’re likely anxious to meet your baby at this point! But 33 weeks pregnant still comes with discomforts. Here are some common symptoms women experience:
- Back pain – Your growing belly shifts your center of gravity, strains muscles and ligaments.
- Trouble sleeping – Difficulty finding a comfortable position, having to pee frequently, and anxiety about labor disrupt sleep. Try pillows, relaxation techniques.
- Increased vaginal discharge – More estrogen causes a thicker, mucus-like discharge that’s normal unless foul-smelling. Use panty liners.
- Braxton Hicks contractions – Practice contractions of the uterus that are typically sporadic, painless tightenings. Drink water and rest if they become frequent.
- Swelling in feet and ankles – Extra fluid retention can cause swelling and varicose veins. Prop up your feet and avoid standing for long periods.
- Heartburn and indigestion – Progesterone relaxes the esophageal sphincter causing stomach acid to back up. Avoid trigger foods, eat smaller meals, chew gum.
- Shortness of breath – Your growing uterus presses on the diaphragm making it harder to take deep breaths. Sit upright vs. slouching.
- Fatigue – Your body works harder as your baby develops. Nap daily and go to bed earlier. Delegate tasks to your partner.
- Bleeding gums – Swollen gums prone to bleeding are common. Brush gently with a soft toothbrush and use ice on sore spots.
- Leg cramps – Muscle cramps are caused by nutrient deficiency, dehydration, or pinched nerves. Stretch before bed, soak in a warm bath, and drink electrolytes.
- Dizziness or fainting – Your circulatory system struggles under pregnancy hormones. Move slowly, stay cool, and get up slowly.
- Constipation – Progesterone slows digestion causing poop to move slowly. Drink water, exercise, and eat fiber-rich foods.
- Hemorrhoids – Constipation and pushing can cause swollen veins in the rectum. Use ice packs, sit in warm baths, and try topical ointments.
- Skin changes – Darkened areolas, belly line, and new stretch marks as your skin expands. Moisturize daily with lotions to help itchiness.
- Moodiness – Hormonal changes and worries about labor may make you more irritable or anxious. Confide in loved ones for support.
- Clumsiness and forgetfulness – You may feel off balance and be more absent minded. Take things slow and write reminders. It will improve after birth.
- Increased sweating – Raging hormones and extra blood volume make you perspire more. Use breathable natural fabrics, avoid wool.
Stay tuned in to your body and alert your doctor about any unusual or severe symptoms. For the most part, aches and pains are normal and will pass.
33 Weeks Pregnant Belly and Ultrasound
Your uterus continues expanding upward during the 33rd week, causing your belly to really pop. Expect strangers to ask “boy or girl?” and give you that knowing smile.
Doctors measure from your pubic bone to the top of your uterus in centimeters. Fundal height often matches gestational age. So around 33 weeks pregnant, your fundal height is likely around 33 cm.
The average 33 week pregnant belly measures around 36-37 inches around. But every woman carries differently. Gaining a pound a week is ideal this month as baby bulks up.
You may get another ultrasound now if your doctor wants to recheck fetal growth or the amniotic fluid level. Otherwise ultrasounds are typically only done earlier unless complications. Your 33 week ultrasound shows a fully formed, active baby that looks like a tiny newborn!
Checkups and Tests at 33 Weeks Pregnant
Your prenatal visits increase to once a week now until delivery. Here’s what happens at 33 week appointments:
Weight, Blood Pressure, Urine
Your provider will check your weight, blood pressure, and urine for protein at each visit. High blood pressure, excess weight gain, or protein in urine can indicate preeclampsia.
Fundal Height Measurement
The doctor will measure from your pubic bone to the top of your uterus with a tape measure. This fundal height often aligns with gestational weeks.
Baby’s Heart Rate
A fetal doppler detects your baby’s heart rate, which should be around 110-160 bpm. An irregular rhythm or low heart rate is concerning.
Your provider will feel the outline of your belly to determine what position your baby is in – head down, breech, or transverse. Most babies are head down by now.
It’s still early, but your doctor may do an internal exam to see if your cervix has dilated or started effacing yet in preparation for labor. For first time moms, this usually doesn’t happen until around 40 weeks.
Group B Strep Test
Between 33-37 weeks, you’ll get a vaginal and rectal swab test done in the office to check if you’re positive for Group B strep bacteria. Left untreated during labor it can infect the baby.
Further testing like another ultrasound or Non-Stress Test to monitor baby’s heart rate may be ordered if your provider has any concerns like low amniotic fluid or poor growth. Otherwise, things are pretty straightforward at 33 week visits.
How Your Body Is Changing at 33 Weeks Pregnant
As you near the end of your pregnancy journey, you body adapts in important ways.
The relaxin hormone softens and loosens ligaments and joints in the pelvis and other areas to help your body open for delivery. This leads to some achiness and instability.
Your cervix begins effacing (thinning out) and may dilate slightly open. These changes prep it for labor but take time, especially in first pregnancies.
Your improved sense of balance helps offset your protruding belly. But moving around and getting up from chairs may be challenging. Take it slow.
Braxton Hicks contractions
You’ll likely notice more Braxton Hicks practice contractions, though they are still sporadic and painless at this point. Stay hydrated and rest when they occur.
Your hair may be lush and nails strong due to prenatal vitamins. But some hair loss is common postpartum. Skin darkening continues. Use creams to prevent itchiness.
Swelling in the feet, ankles, legs, wrists, and fingers is common. Elevate your feet and avoid standing for too long.
Increased vaginal discharge
You’ll notice more vaginal secretions as estrogen levels rise to help prevent infection. Wear a liner and avoid douching.
It’s harder to get comfy at night and bathroom trips disrupt sleep. Nap if possible and reserve your bed for just sleep and sex.
Carrying extra pounds places more demands on your body, which tires you out. Prioritize rest and delegate tasks to your partner.
By 33 weeks, internal exams likely show your cervix is still long, closed and firm. But in very rare cases, premature dilation and effacement may begin.
Your gastrointestinal tract slows thanks to progesterone. Drink plenty of fluids, exercise, and up fiber to prevent constipation and hemorrhoids.
Colostrum (pre-milk) leaks out as your breasts gear up for lactation. Wear nursing pads and properly fitting bras for support. Breasts may grow another cup size.
Shortness of breath
Your growing uterus presses against the diaphragm limiting lung capacity. Sit upright and use pillows for support. Take rest breaks between activities.
33 Weeks Pregnant Checklist
You only have 7 more weeks to go until your due date! Here are some important tasks around 33 weeks pregnant:
- Pack your hospital bag – Include clothes for mom and baby, toiletries, phone charger, and paperwork. Don’t forget the car seat for discharge!
- Install infant car seat – Get the car seat base installed properly and tight by a certified technician. Learn how to strap baby in correctly too. Practice, practice!
- Take a hospital tour – Walk through where you’ll deliver, see the labor rooms, and ask questions to the staff. It’ll make you more comfortable.
- Interview pediatricians – Meet with doctors to choose your baby’s pediatrician. Consider office location, hospital privileges, personalities, and insurance.
- Finish nursery – Put the crib together, wash all bedding, hang decor, and stock up on diapers, wipes, and essentials if you haven’t already.
- Sign up for a childbirth class – Take a childbirth education class at 33 weeks to learn about labor stages, coping techniques, medications, and what to expect during delivery. Breastfeeding, infant CPR, and newborn care classes are helpful too. The more prepared you feel, the better the experience will be.
- Look into doulas – Hire a professional labor coach to be by your side offering continuous support through delivery. Studies show doulas improve outcomes.
- Make freezer meals – Stock your freezer with frozen healthy dinners, casseroles, and breakfasts meals you can quickly heat up during those busy newborn days.
- Limit travel – Avoid traveling far from your doctor and hospital after 33 weeks pregnant. Get any big trips in beforehand. And stay close to home toward the end.
- Rest up and relax – Start shifting into an easygoing mindset. Spend time doing prenatal yoga, meditating, enjoying long baths, napping, and other nesting activities. Try to release stress and worries. You’ll need lots of energy soon!
33 Weeks Pregnant With Twins
Expectant mothers pregnant with multiples reach a milestone when they cross into the 33rd week. While still considered early term, the chances of twins being born prematurely drops. Here’s what to expect with twins at 33 weeks pregnant:
- Your belly is quite large now, making moving difficult. Don’t push yourself to be too active. Put your feet up often.
- It’s harder to breath with 2 babies pressing on your lungs. Sit upright, use pillows, and take regular rest breaks.
- You are likely very uncomfortable and ready to give birth. But try to cook the twins for at least 2 more weeks until 35 weeks when their health outlook improves greatly.
- Your doctor will monitor you closely for preterm labor. Report any bleeding, fluid leaking, cramping, or patterned contractions immediately. Completing steroid shots to strengthen the babies’ lungs by 34 weeks is ideal.
- You’ll have frequent growth ultrasounds now to ensure both twins are growing normally with enough amniotic fluid and normal blood flow in the umbilical cords.
- Severe swelling is common carrying multiples. But rapid excessive swelling, headaches, and visual changes can mean preeclampsia, a dangerous complication requiring induction.
- Make sure your hospital bag is packed and car seats are ready to go. You want to be prepared in case you deliver early. But rest assured, 33 weeks is a major milestone.
When to Call Your Doctor at 33 Weeks Pregnant
You’re almost there! But call your healthcare provider right away if you experience:
- Contractions 5 minutes apart or less lasting 1+ minute (possibly labor)
- Sudden severe swelling in hands/face (preeclampsia sign)
- Heavy vaginal bleeding (more than spotting)
- Fluid leaking from vagina (could be amniotic fluid)
- Signs of preterm labor like pelvic pressure, low back ache, abdominal cramps
- Reduced fetal movement (less than 10 movements in 2 hours)
- Vision changes like flashing spots (preeclampsia symptom)
- Severe headache that doesn’t resolve with rest and hydration
- Intense pain or burning during urination (could indicate infection)
- Bright red bleeding from rectum (hematochezia)
- Fever over 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit
Mild symptoms like Braxton Hicks, occasional headaches, and minor swelling is usually nothing to worry about. But trust your instincts! Reach out anytime something concerning persists. Frequent prenatal checkups help catch issues early.
33 Weeks Pregnant – Things to Look Forward To!
While the third trimester brings annoyances, try to treasure carrying your child during this temporary period. Here are sweet aspects of 33 weeks pregnant to look forward to:
- Seeing your partner or other children bond with your belly, talk to the baby, and feel kicks
- Enjoying calm quiet moments where you can visualize holding your little one soon
- Imagining how your baby might look, act, and smell based on ultrasounds
- Feeling those reassuring rolls, wiggles, hiccups, and stretches (even if weaker now)
- Dreaming up plans for fun future family adventures with the new addition
- Aftring through tiny baby clothes, toys, and gear excitedly as you set up the nursery
- Reuniting with old friends at your baby shower and being showered with love and gifts
- Reading childcare books, taking classes, and gaining confidence in your parenting abilities
- Knowing labor is only a few short weeks away and you’ll meet your baby so soon!
33 Weeks Pregnancy FAQs
Still have questions on what to expect at 33 weeks pregnant? Here are expert answers to common inquiries:
Is my baby’s brain fully developed at 33 weeks?
No, the brain is still maturing. But the 33 week fetus brain has come a long way, developing intricate folds and making vital neuron connections. Brain growth will continue all the way up to delivery.
How can I ease pregnancy insomnia at 33 weeks?
Take short relaxing sleep breaks daily. Avoid caffeine after lunch, limit fluids before bed, use cool airflow and pregnancy pillows for comfort, practice meditation, and ask your partner to handle nighttime baby movements so you can rest through them.
What causes swelling at 33 weeks pregnant?
Swelling or edema is often due to extra fluid retention from pregnancy hormones, reduced circulation, hot weather, too much time standing, or high sodium intake. Elevate your feet and avoid prolonged standing.
Why am I so clumsy and forgetful at 33 weeks pregnant?
Surging hormones like relaxin loosening your joints combined with balance challenges from your belly’s size can make you feel uncoordinated. Fatigue and focusing on the baby commonly impair memory and concentration too.