Pregnancy week 33

Week 33 of Your Pregnancy

Find out how your body is changing—and how your baby is developing—in week 33 of your pregnancy.

It's week 33 of your pregnancy and, with just a few weeks left until your due date, you may be getting anxious about labor and delivery. You may also be wondering about what comes next, i.e. what does life with a newborn look like. But for now, let’s focus on the moment. Let’s learn all about the changes you and your unborn baby are undergoing at 33 weeks pregnant. Oh, and learn the difference between “practice” contractions and real contractions—so you’re ready to go, when the time comes.

Pregnancy Week 33 Quick Facts

  • At 33 weeks, you are 8 months pregnant
  • You have 7 weeks until your due date
  • You're in the third trimester

Your Unborn Baby's Size at 33 Weeks 

Your unborn baby is about the size of a pineapple. The fetus weighs between 4.23 pounds and is about 17.20 inches long.

how big is baby week 33

Pregnancy Symptoms Week 33 

During week 33, your pregnancy symptoms will be similar to week 32 (and earlier weeks). However, the intensity of said symptoms may increase this week. You may experieince:

"Braxton Hicks contractions are a normal and common occurrence during pregnancy. These contractions, also known as ‘practice contractions,’ are the body's way of preparing for labor. It is important to note that, if you experience frequent or painful contractions, it is best to contact your health care provider to ensure that there are no underlying issues or complications," says Stanislaw Miaskowski, M.D., OB-GYN with the Orlando Health Winnie Palmer Hospital for Women and Babies in Orlando, Florida. 

Braxton Hicks are characterized by the tightening of the uterine muscles. "The contraction can last anywhere from 30 seconds to 2 minutes and can occur sporadically or in a regular pattern,” says Dr. Miaskowski. “True labor contractions [on the other hand] will typically maintain in a regular pattern, with contractions occurring every two to five minutes and lasting for 30 to 60 seconds for at least an hour. Additionally, the contractions will increase in intensity over time.”

That said, Braxton Hicks can be disruptive—and can catch you off guard. So how can you best manage Braxton Hicks contractions? Dr. Miaskowski suggests changing positions, resting, hydrating, and practicing breathing techniques such as slow, deep breathing or belly breathing to help relax the body and reduce the intensity of Braxton Hicks contractions. Massaging the abdomen can also reduce the discomfort caused by Braxton Hicks contractions.

It is important to note that if you experience frequent or painful contractions, it is best to contact your health care provider to ensure there are no underlying issues or complications.

You may have already been experiencing frequent urination for some time, but in week 33 (and beyond) some pregnant individuals find they need to rush to the bathroom all of the time. "Frequent urination is due to additional pressure on the bladder from the growing uterus and the increased circulating fluid volume in pregnancy," says Teresa Tan, M.D., OB-GYN at Altos Medical Group with Stanford Medicine Children's Health in Mountain View, California. 

In most cases, this is normal, but pregnant individuals should be concerned and seek out medical guidance if there is corresponding pain and/or burning with urination, increased urgency, and/or fever and chills.

Experts recommend pregnant individuals do their best when it comes to breathlessness. Again, it may not be a new symptom, but by week 33—and beyond—symptoms may start to increase. According to Dr. Tan, this is due to the pressure the pregnancy is placing on the diaphragm.

For pregnant people who have a chronic respiratory condition, breathlessness may make things harder. So, if you have pre-existing respiratory issues like asthma, it's important to keep your rescue medication nearby at all times. 

And whether you have a history of respiratory issues or not, Dr. Tan says she would be very concerned if a pregnant individual has severe symptoms, including "difficulty talking, chest pain, swelling in the face or throat, or any other concerning issues relating to breathlessness." Simply put, if you feel you are having a respiratory emergency, head to your closest emergency room or medical facility, or dial 911. 

Remember, if you have questions about any symptoms—big or small—don't hesitate to call your health care provider.

Developmental Milestones 

Developmentally, big changes are happening to the fetus during week 33. Your unborn baby is practicing their breathing movements as their lungs continue to develop and get stronger. They now have their very own immune system. In fact, antibodies can now be passed from you to your fetus as they continue to grow. Once the unborn baby is delivered and outside the womb, its immune system will help fight against germs.

Your unborn baby's brain and nervous system are now fully developed and their bones will continue to harden with one exception: the skull. A fetus' skull bones stay soft and separated until after the birth to make the journey through the birth canal easier.

Prenatal Tests and Doctor's Appointments 

The majority of pregnant people will have this week off, having had a visit last week and a visit scheduled next week. However, if there were scheduling conflicts or if you are high-risk, you may have a 33-week appointment. 

As is the case with most prenatal visits, there are a number of routine tests and procedures: you will probably be weighed, have your blood pressure taken, and have your urine tested. During the standard 32 to 34 prenatal visit, your provider will monitor your unborn baby's fetal heart rate, and notice any changes with your unborn baby's fetal growth measurements. 

Many providers will also check on the position of the unborn baby. The most common fetal position is anterior, meaning the unborn baby's head enters the pelvis facing your back and is considered to be the least risky position for a vaginal birth. The breech position is when the unborn baby is lying bottom or feet first. Transverse position is when the unborn baby is positioned horizontally across the uterus rather than vertically. 

If you do not want to know your weight, let the staff know as soon as you're called into the exam room. It's important to advocate for yourself during your prenatal check-ups.

Common Questions at This Pregnancy Stage

What can I do about frequent urination?

While frequent urination is not dangerous, it can be an unpleasant (and disruptive) pregnancy symptom. But what can you do about it? According to Dr. Tan, the best way is to plan accordingly: "Frequent urination can be helped with planned/timed voiding to avoid sudden urges and emergencies. Pelvic floor strengthening exercises can also be useful."

Is my unborn baby in the right position?

When it comes to labor and delivery, you want your baby to be positioned head-down, facing your back, with their chin tucked to their chest. This is called cephalic presentation. Most babies settle into this position between the 32nd and 36th week of pregnancy, but some babies may move into this position sooner—or later. If you are concerned about babies positioning, speak to your doctor, midwife, or health care provider.

Should I be meal prepping?

While you still have several weeks left in pregnancy, it is never too early to start meal prepping—especially crock pot-style meals which can be frozen in Tupperware containers or Ziploc bags. Kimberly Zapata, an associate editor at Parents, started the process in her eighth month. Not sure where to begin? Think casseroles, stews, soups, and other meals which are easy to prep, freeze, and reheat.

Things You Might Consider This Week 

At 33 weeks pregnant, now is a great time to check out breastfeeding classes—if you are considering breastfeeding and want more information. La Leche League has free online resources and their meetings (both online and in-person) are often very welcoming to pregnant individuals and first-time parents. Don't think you have to wait until after you've given birth to join a breastfeeding support group community.

You may also want to consider packing your hospital bag during week 33 of your pregnancy. While you still have time, it’s never too early to get things in order—especially when you consider that you could give birth before your due date. But what do you need to pack in your hospital bag? I mean, where do you begin? Check out this handy checklist to ensure you have everything in order. 

Support You May Need This Week

You may have a lot of energy this week, specifically organizational energy. Commonly referred to as nesting, this instinctual reaction is one of the ways expectant parents unconsciously prepare for birth. But while you may want to do all the things all at once—like meal prep, paint, build furniture, and babyproof your home—it’s important you don’t overextend yourself. Instead, ask for help. No task is too silly (or small) and every little bit helps.   

Head over to week 34 of pregnancy

What Week 33 of Your Pregnancy Is Really Like

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