Week 33 pregnant
Your baby is gaining lots of weight this week, up to 450 grams. That’s a lot, considering the average weight gain for a newborn in the first few months is 150-200 grams per week.
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. This causes some women to feel like an incubator, the sheer physical nature of their pregnancy making it all a little too much to enjoy.
Society’s view of pregnancy being oh-so-feminine and lovely doesn’t always match up to the reality. Many women see their pregnancy as a means to an end, a necessary process in order to get their baby at the end of the 40 weeks. Your attitude towards being pregnant is not an indication of how you will feel about your baby once it is born. Try not to worry if you aren’t enjoying every minute of the process. This is a common experience for many women, but one that isn’t talked about too often.
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.
Your physical changes this week
- You may find yourself having some leakage i.e. “incontinence”, at 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 wee may leak out of your bladder. This is a common problem towards the end of pregnancy. Some women need to wear panty-liners to avoid embarrassment. Doing pelvic floor exercises will help strengthen the muscles supporting 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 eyesight.
- Heartburn, your old friend, can make its presence felt again. 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 antacids that are safe to be used in pregnancy. Milk, yoghurt, custard and cheese can help settle heartburn.
- More Braxton Hick’s Contractions at 33 weeks. These painless contractions of the womb are nature’s way of providing a practice round for the real thing. They will also help create a surge of oxygenated blood to the placenta. Unless they are accompanied by pain, become regular and frequent, or you are losing fluid from your vagina as well, don’t be concerned. A simple change of position or a warm shower can often help them settle.
Your emotional changes this week
- Mood swings may cause you to feel emotionally unstable this week. You could be feeling fed-up with your body shape and 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 to a regular bedtime and pre-bed ritual where your body knows it is winding down for the day. Avoid drinking caffeine or eating chocolate in the afternoons and evenings, and don’t exercise later than 4 pm. If you are still working, aim for a simple home life where you don’t place too many demands upon yourself.
Your baby’s changes this week
- Your baby’s lungs are maturing even more in week 33. If your baby were born now, it is likely to need some support to help it breathe, but perhaps not. Their little bodies are producing surfactant, which will help their airways to stay open and not collapse after birth. If you were admitted to hospital with threatened premature labour this week, you would most likely be given an injection of cortisone that would help your baby’s lungs mature.
- 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 800-1200 ml/ day at this stage of your pregnancy.
Hints 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 a little “stash of cash”. This is something most mothers are glad of in those moments when money is tight.
- Develop an awareness of your baby’s cycles of activity and rest. If there are changes, you are the best person to know what is normal in terms of your baby’s movements. Space has become tight in your womb, so there is probably less of the tumbling and turning going on than earlier in your pregnancy. Kicks from strong feet, feeling an elbow high in your ribs or a sharp prod into your bladder will all become part of everyday life for you. 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.
Week 34 follows.