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You are 33 weeks pregnant; the baby is almost on his way and there are only a few more weeks of struggling with diets, medical appointments and unpleasant changes in your body. The third trimester is a time for preparation for the delivery of the baby which will soon be upon you.
Your Baby’s Growth during Pregnancy – Week 33
This is the final phase of your baby’s development. His organs, bones, and muscles are completely formed, and with a few ‘finishing touches’ he will be ready. Any remaining nails and hair have fully formed by now. Your placenta is still giving your baby his nutrients and oxygen but that isn’t stopping him from exercising his breathing abilities by drinking the amniotic fluid.
His brain is developing faster than ever, forming more and more connections between the neurons. Your baby has the ability to tell the difference between daytime and nighttime, syncing his sleep-wake cycle with your own. His immunity is stronger than ever, getting protective antibodies from your blood through the placenta.
What is the Baby’s Size
At 33 weeks pregnant the baby’s size should be around the size of a watermelon, measuring more than 42 cm from top to toe. With a weight of over 2 kg, his bones are strengthening while his skin fills in its wrinkles with baby fat except for the skull, which remains pliable so it can safely move through the birth canal. With the lack of space in the uterus, there will be fewer kicks than usual but you should still feel him squirming about.
Common Body Changes
You will experience several new body changes during pregnancy at 33 weeks.
Perineal, anal or rectal bleeding might be due to haemorrhoids, or on rare occasions, a tear in the anal tissue. Ask your physiotherapist for a perineal massage. Your doctor may even prescribe some oral or topical medication to deal with the pain.
- Varicose veins
The rising pressure on the lower body by your expanding womb can cause leg veins to enlarge and start throbbing. These are known as varicose veins. If they end up red and stiff, you might have clotting and need immediate medical attention.
- Nipple discharge
Your nipples are producing yellowish liquid called colostrum, which is meant for the nutrition of the baby’s first few days. Your nipples will be leaking colostrum all through this week in preparation for your baby. Using absorbent pads inside your bra will prevent the stains from coming into view.
With the combination of all these symptoms, you will not be getting much sleep. Try not to work out or eat food too close to bedtime. Meditation and massages help as well.
Symptoms of Pregnancy at Week 33
The 33rd week is going to be pretty challenging. However, staying aware of any pains or discomfort and knowing remedies for them will help you get through them quickly enough.
- Trouble breathing
The swollen uterus is simply not allowing your lungs to expand enough to take in as much air as you would like. Avoid strenuous activity like running, lifting weights, climbing weights, and so on.
Your increased mass is going to impact your sense of balance, making you clumsier than before. Wear comfortable shoes with flat soles so you can keep some of your balance, at least at home.
- Increased metabolic rate
Your body is going to start overheating as it tries to keep up with your increasing energy requirements. Warm skin is the only side effect, and it will pass sooner or later.
Lack of hydration can cause your head to spin and throb. Drink minimum 3 liters of water a day, even if it means running to the bathroom every twenty minutes.
Belly at 33 Weeks of Pregnancy
This week you will likely be 10-15 kg heavier than normal, more if you’re carrying twins. Your belly is touching 35-38 cm at this point, so keep the salves handy for any cracked or dry skin. Polyhydramnios, a condition resulting from the increase in amniotic fluid volume, usually shows up around this time. So if your weight has increased more than usual, ask your doctor for advice.
33 Weeks Ultrasound
An ultrasound this week would show you that your baby can open and close his eyes depending on whether he is awake. Baby’s bones are becoming stronger, in addition to his fully developed organ systems. You might want to consider doing a biophysical profile with your ultrasound if you have any risk factors that might lead to complications.
The ultrasound scan will show:
- The physical shape and tone of the baby. The doctor will test for any issues with mobility, especially in the limbs.
- The volume of amniotic fluid, as higher or lower amounts can create a problematic pregnancy that could result in premature birth or stillbirth.
- Foetal breathing motions are tested to make sure they are regular and normal.
What to Eat
Your 33rd week pregnancy food has to include a balanced diet of fresh fruit, vegetables, lean white meats, eggs, dairy, and whole grains.
- Consuming food rich in omega-3 fatty acids such as docosahexaenoic acid can help with the neural development of your child.
- Research has shown that mothers who consumed fish and flaxseed oils have children who score higher than average on standardised tests. However, avoid fish tainted by mercury such as shark, swordfish, tuna, and mackerel.
- Flaxseed is also an option for people who prefer a vegetarian source.
- If your diet is incomplete due to budget, time or availability, ask your doctor for prenatal supplements.
- Avoid all kinds of alcohol, as research has proven that every single kind has a deleterious effect on pregnancies.
Tips & Care
Here are a few dos and don’ts to keep in mind during this period
- You can attempt the different positions you could take during delivery. Some of them include getting down on your hands and knees, lying down, squatting, or using a birthing chair. Find the position most comfortable for you to ease your way through the contractions when they happen.
- Haemorrhoids can cause a lot of pain and embarrassment, but staying hydrated and consuming enough fiber can alleviate the symptoms.
- Don’t ignore any change in your baby’s movements. If he stops or slows his kicks and pushes, immediately notify your doctor so tests can be conducted to ascertain the problem.
- Varicose veins are a common symptom of your second and third trimesters. Relieving them takes some effort, such as regular exercises like jogging and swimming. Avoid remaining in the same position for too long, even if it is sitting or lying down.
What You Need to Shop for
Breast pumps and bottles are the need of the hour. You might also do well to purchase some maternity clothes, nappies, baby clothing, and a crib for your baby to sleep in. Don’t forget to invest in a pram to move your baby around when you’re too tired to carry him.
At 33 weeks you are very close to delivery. It is best to stock on the essentials in order to avoid rushing once the baby is born.
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