Understanding your pregnancy: Week 33

Understanding your pregnancy: Week 33

A quick snapshot

It's getting harder to forget you are pregnant now. Frequent niggles and pains, kicks and prods mean you are constantly being reminded that there is a baby in there. Space has become tight in your uterus so there is probably less of the tumbling and turning going on, which was so frequent earlier in your pregnancy. Kicks from strong feet, feeling an elbow high in your ribs or a sharp boot into your bladder will all become part of the everyday for you.

If this is your first pregnancy, you'll have the benefits of being able to focus on yourself and your partner. But if you've got other children to care for, your opportunity to rest and ponder will be limited. Try to take some quiet time each day to just be in the moment and not think about what the future holds for you. This can be such a busy time with organising and planning that days can go by without any real appreciation for them. When you can, just sit, breathe, relax and be still, both you and your baby will benefit.

What’s changing in your body

  • You may find yourself having some urinary leakage or incontinence around this stage of your pregnancy. This is more common in women who've been pregnant before. When you laugh, sneeze, cough or lift something heavy, a small amount of urine may leak out of your bladder. This is a common problem towards the end of pregnancy. Some women need to wear a light incontinence pad inside their underpants to avoid embarrassment. Doing pelvic floor exercises will help strengthen the muscles which support your bladder.
  • If you normally wear contact lenses, you may be finding them even more irritating by now. Fluid retention and changes to the shape of your eye will mean they don't fit as comfortably as they used to. Many women revert to wearing glasses until after their baby is born and their eyes return to normal. Avoid getting a new prescription for glasses and contacts at this stage of your pregnancy. Your eyes are going through a transitional stage and an assessment of your vision now, will not give an accurate reflection of your sight.
  • Heartburn can make its presence felt again right now. The baby is pushing your stomach and intestines up and out of their normal positions. This means you don't have the luxury of being able to digest your meals comfortably. Some foods will make indigestion and heartburn worse and cause you more than a little regret. Spicy, hot, large meals are the worst culprits so avoid temptation and go for what you know is safe. Check with your doctor or pharmacist about safe antacids to use in pregnancy. Milk, yoghurt, custard and cheese can also help to settle heartburn.
  • You might experience more Braxton Hick's contractions. These painless uterine contractions are nature's way of providing a practice session for the real thing. They will also help to create a surge of oxygenated blood to the placenta. Unless they are accompanied by pain, become regular or you are losing fluid from your vagina as well, don't be concerned. A simple change of position or warm shower can often help them to settle.

How your emotions are affected

  • Mood swings may cause you to feel emotionally unstable this week. You could be feeling fed up with your body shape and a little over being pregnant. Look for things that give you pleasure and tell your partner how you feel. Other women can be a source of great emotional support and understanding. Pick up the phone or email someone you know who cares about you and who will listen without judgment.
  • If you're experiencing insomnia this won't help your mood swings. Try to stick with a regular bedtime and have a bedtime ritual where your body gets to wind down for the day. Avoid drinking caffeine or eating chocolate in the afternoons and evenings and don't exercise past 4pm. If you are still working, aim for a simple home life where you don't place too many demands upon yourself.

How your baby is growing

Third Trimester: Week 3333

  • Your baby's lungs are maturing even more in week 33. If your baby were to be born now, they may or may not need support to help them breathe. Their own little body is producing surfactant which will help their airways to stay open and not collapse.
  • The amniotic fluid surrounding your baby is peaking in volume around now. There is about 1 litre of it, creating a warm, sterile bath for your baby to float around in. The amount of amniotic fluid is a sign of how well your baby's kidneys are working. They should be producing around 500ml a day at this stage of your pregnancy.

Tips for the week

  • Aim to put some money aside each week to help balance your household budget after the baby is born. Becoming financially dependent can be a big change for many women, who've always prided themselves on being able to contribute to the family income. It is easy to buy things for the baby but many times, mothers miss out. It is important to treat yourself every now and then and have your own stash of cash.
  • Start putting your pets and animals outside if they're used to sharing your house. No matter how much you love them, most couples find their relationship with their pets change once they become parents. As you get bigger and a little more awkward, you need to reduce the risk of tripping over your pets. Keep the door of the baby's room closed.
  • Develop an awareness of your baby's cycles of activity and rest. If there are changes, you are the best person to know whether your baby’s movements are normal.
  • Take some time to enjoy your baby's movements. Hard as it may be to understand now, many women say they miss the sensation of having their baby moving around inside them after it is born.