33 Weeks Pregnant: Symptoms and What to Expect
Your Growing Fetus at 33 Weeks
Your bundle of joy is the size of a loaf of bread at 17.2″. But it’s a heavier bundle, weighing in at about 4.2 lbs now!
This is one busy baby!
- This week our love child is learning to coordinate sucking and swallowing with breathing.
- If you think about it this will be a really important skill to have when the baby tries to nurse.
- You can’t swallow and breathe at the same time without choking so practice, practice, practice!
- Baby’s brain is continuing to develop and the eyes are open whenever he or she is awake. Eyes open. Smarter. I wonder if there’s a connection?
- Baby’s bones are hardening up so arms, legs, spine and, ribs are more sturdy but the baby is still “soft” headed. In order to fit through the birth canal, the skull is still “soft” which means it still has some give to it.
- This is possible because of two spots called fontanels.
- These are tough membranes covering the brain and soft tissues surrounding it that still need protection until the hard bones of the skull grow together.
- If you’ve seen a skeletal head this is where you see the “sutures”.
- The posterior (or rear) fontanel will grow over very quickly in just a few months after birth.
- The anterior (or front) fontanel will be apparent for 18 months or possible until age 2. So baby has a soft head for quite a while and needs plenty of care when being handled.
This kid is putting on some fat around the arms and legs for that cute cuddly look we expect. Chubby baby! This is how newborns regulate their body temperature in the very beginning but he or she will still need lots of help with that. Skin to skin contact with mom and dad, siblings and close family members will be very helpful there. And who doesn’t want to snuggle with a baby?!
Right now your baby is probably shedding. It’s true! There’s a soft hair called lanugo that helps protect baby from chaffing while floating in the amniotic fluid. This usually falls off before birth but a few babies emerge with a little fuzz on their back or shoulders. If so it will fall off fairly quickly afterward.
If you’re having a high-risk pregnancy, having a complication or carrying more than one fetus you will probably have a 33 weeks pregnant ultrasound as one step of a biophysical profile (BPP). This will measure baby’s breathing, general muscle tone, movement, and the amount of amniotic fluid in the womb. The Non-stress test is another part of the BPP that measures the change in a fetus’ heart rate when it moves during contractions. Knowing that all is well is always a good thing and you get to see just how much baby has changed!
Pregnancy Superfood for Weeks Thirty-Three
They just look happy and healthy and they are full of Vitamin C. In fact, one large orange can give you all the C you need for the day! But they also give you folic acid, B1 and a lot of blood pressure regulating potassium! To make them even more And that’s not all.
The citric acid and citrates they contain help increase your ability to absorb iron in some foods and they also provide antioxidant carotenoids and phenolics (phenolic compounds). Yes, they’re full of the sugars, glucose, fructose, and sucrose but did you know they are low on the glycemic index?
At somewhere between 31 and 51, they are “low” on the index because of the polyphenols and fiber, which help manage a slower increase in blood sugar. Oranges are also rich in pectin, cellulose, hemicellulose and lignin, the very fiber that helps moderate blood sugar and keep your cholesterol in check.
On top of all that they are tasty fruits that pair very well with all kinds of foods, providing a sweetness that equals honey and maybe even a bit of a tart edge to things that are bland. They make a great addition to a refreshing salad but let’s try a recipe that puts them right at the center of things with a surprising spicy flavor!
Spiced Orange Salad:
- Oranges – 6 medium, thinly sliced
- Onions – mild, thinly sliced, separated into rings
- Olive Oil – 1 T
- White wine vinegar – 4-6 T
- Sugar – 1 Tsp
- Mint leaves – ½ c finely chopped (+ extra leaves for garnish)
- Cilantro – 2 T finely chopped (+ extra leaves for garnish)
- Black olives – ½ c kalamata (or Nicoise)
How to Prepare:
- Mix olive oil, vinegar, and sugar in a bowl and stir in onion slices to soak.
- Dressing: Mix the following spices evenly into one powder.
- Cumin seeds or ground cumin – ¾ Tsp
- paprika or mild dried chili – ½ Tsp
- ground black pepper – ¼ Tsp
- kosher salt – ½ Tsp
- fresh thyme – ¼ Tsp fresh, chopped
- curry powder – ¼ Tsp
- cinnamon ⅛ Tsp ground
- Place oranges and onions in a large flat bowl.
- Save oil mixture (from onions).
- Add mint and cilantro to oranges and onions.
- Add dressing spices to oil mixture and stir thoroughly.
- Pour over oranges and onions, toss gently.
- Garnish with olives and extra mint and cilantro leaves.
Top Tip for Week Thirty-Three
There are a few things you’ll need to do right about now but this is a very good time set up a Group B Strep test if this hasn’t been suggested.
It can tell you if you are carrying strep B right now and you need to know because it requires some attention before you give birth.
About 25% of women carry this bacteria in the vagina or rectum even when healthy and there are no consequences but when you’re giving birth baby needs to be protected. It doesn’t affect all babies but antibiotics make sure there’s no problem.
- If you’re planning a hospital birth due to potential complications or if a hospital is part of an emergency plan you really should take a tour and meet the staff, see how the routine works and have a look at the delivery rooms.
- If you’re planning a home birth then you will, hopefully, never have to come back but it’s good to know how it all works in case of an emergency. And aren’t you just a little bit curious about what other women go through?
Inspirational Message of the Week from Already Moms
“Whether your pregnancy was meticulously planned, medically coaxed, or happened by surprise, one thing is certain – your life will never be the same.”
– Catherine Jones
Big Efforts from your Co-Creator
If you really want to be a hero then now’s the time to read up on Postpartum Care. It sounds benign enough and it is but you should be prepared for the aftermath of giving birth.
It will help if you understand just exactly what happens to a woman’s vagina when another human being uses it as a portal into this world. Better still, it will tell you how to help return this area to a normal state in the days and weeks afterward.
There’s actually a lot to know and a lot to do and if you can manage to educate yourself in this you can save the pregnant lady a lot of stress. Just give her the broad strokes of what she can expect in the aftermath and assure her that you’ve got it covered.
We’re not suggesting that she should be kept in the dark but she’s growing a baby in her belly and there is some heavy work ahead of her still. You don’t want her to be thinking about what she’s about to do to her vagina for the sake of this baby.
She already knows it will probably hurt but it’s doubtful that she’s given too much thought as to what shape that part of her body will be in for many weeks to come. Good. You want her focused on and excited about bringing this beloved child into the world.
Massage her aching feet and tell her that you know all the ways you can help soothe, heal and comfort her amazing body when she has finished the job.
Now read up. There are some things to buy and you should put extra hemorrhoid cream on the list. Those probably won’t be going away anytime soon.
This Art of Allowing
Occasionally you’re required to do a test or have an extra ultrasound and you’re probably going to worry. Here’s the thing. Worry won’t change anything for the better unless you are honestly surrounded by incompetents who could not manage anything without you.
- Ultrasounds and tests offer information and that’s always a good thing. You have to allow others to do their job and if you ask they’ll explain why they’re doing things the way they are.
- It might be useful to give yourself a routine to take care of this.
- Create a 20-minute block of time every day to allow yourself to sit and worry.
- Make a list throughout the day of things you think you should be worried about and go over it during your 20-minute session.
Really be thorough in your worrying and see if you come up with some action you can take. If so write it down. And when your 20 minutes are up, then walk away. Allow yourself to let it go.
Pregnancy Symptoms of Week Thirty-Three
Feel the heat?: Women often experience higher skin temperature at this time during a pregnancy. Your metabolic rate is higher than normal so your body heats up. To make matters even more interesting baby is heating things up, too! He’s not just warming your heart this child is actually emitting heat. It’s gonna be a hot the third trimester.
Headaches: As your hormones continue to fluctuate they can cause pretty annoying headaches. Stress and dehydration can do it, too so relax whenever you can and drink lots and lots of water.
Shortness of breath: Still can’t get a full breath? In the next week or so this baby should “drop” and you’ll be able to fill your lungs again. Where would you like to be? What would you like to smell? Make a plan to go where you’d most like to breathe deep and enjoy all your senses.
Forgetfulness and clumsiness: People call it “baby brain.” Call it whatever you’d like but there seems to be a greater lack of concentration than you’re used to and things you meant to do just don’t get done. Things that were said to you seem to slide out of your brain like egg whites out of the shell. And you hand can’t seem to remember to hold onto things.
No one really knows the cause but if you think about how many adjustments you’ve had to make just to get around the house there might be a clue in there. You don’t want to trip on anything, you’re not sure what you can still wear. No wonder you can’t keep track of a grocery list or return two phone calls. You can’t remember what they were about anyway! Remember.
Pregnancy isn’t forever. There. Now you’re fine.
Discharge: Here’s something mom probably didn’t tell you about and friends who have been through it don’t always think to bring up the white-colored discharge you have during the third trimester. It happens because estrogen levels increase. It’s fine, even expected but if you find something that looks like a jellyfish, a particularly gelatinous discharge with some streak of blood then your mucus plug may be coming out. This would be a sign of early labor so you should call your doctor or midwife immediately if it happens.
Sex: It’s not all bad news. Unless your doctor has given you a reason for not doing it then having sex is still perfectly fine, right up to delivery. Some women find they are disinterested in sex in the third trimester or, perhaps just not terribly eager to indulge.
- It’s not as graceful as you might like but it does require and sometimes inspire some imaginative activity.
- Don’t do anything that inhibits your breathing.
- Don’t do anything that hurts. Don’t do anything that requires great balance.
- Yours is compromised.
- If it isn’t fun, don’t do it.
- Unless you just cannot pass up whatever bribe is on offer. Hydrate after.
Sex is perfectly safe but remember that orgasms can trigger contractions. It’s very common to have Braxton Hicks after sex or any exercise and since it doesn’t hurt, it’s nothing to worry about. Just be sure they’re only Braxton Hicks (they stop when you switch positions). If they keep going at the rate of 5 an hour then you are in labor. And it’s early still, so at this would be considered preterm labor.
Aside from exercise, sex and an accident (a fall), the things that can bring them on would be dehydration or having too much amniotic fluid.
Symptoms that signal possible preterm labor would be:
- Serious cramping similar to menstrual cramps. Painful (unlike Braxton Hicks contractions).
- Vaginal bleeding, unusual discharge, or leaking.
- Pelvic pressure even without any pain could also be a symptom.
While all of these are unlikely they are not rare. All require immediate attention. If you think any of these conditions apply, take these steps.
- Pee. Really empty your bladder.
- Lay down on your left side.
- Drink water. Take sips, don’t gulp it. Use a straw if you’ve got one.
- Call your doctor or midwife right away.
Our Best Advice to Soothe The Uncomfortable
Are you hot, hot, hot? Cooling down can be tricky, especially if you are enduring hot weather in these final weeks of pregnancy. Drinking lots and lots of water may help, soaking your feet in cool water whenever you can and using a personal fan (small, battery operated, easy to carry in a purse of reasonable size). A cool, damp cloth on the back of your neck can bring a little relief and if you’re at home, keep a dish of ice cubes nearby to wet your wrists now and then.
You can also turn lunch or a snack into a cool down aid. Smoothies deliver tasty nutrition and if you freeze them popsicle molds you can enjoy a completely frozen Smoothie Pop. How about a PB&J pop? Here’s how to make 8:
Blend in a blender:
- ½ c peanut butter
- 1 c yogurt
- 1 c skim milk
- 2 tsp – 3 tbsp honey (just how sweet do you need it to be?)
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
Fill 8 popsicle molds only ½ full.
Freeze for one hour then add:
- 1 ½ c raspberries
And finally, fill the molds with:
- 1 c raspberry juice (or blueberry or strawberry or… what sounds good to you?)
- Put back in the freezer until frozen!
Preparation for Motherhood
- Have you thought about a “nanny share”?
- It may be something worth investigating, especially if you’re planning to return to work.
Week-by-Week Pregnancy Guides