Week 33 is here! Only 8 weeks to go! By now, you have probably gained about 22 to 28 pounds, and will continue to gain about ½ kilo (a pound) each week until you deliver. Your baby at 33 weeks has probably moved into the head down position required for delivery.


Week 33

Your Baby this Week

Your baby is now around the size of an honeydew melon at about 43-48cm and weighing between 1.9 and 2.6kg (4.2 to 5.8lbs).


In the following weeks, your baby will gain about a ¼ kilo (half a pound) per week. He has more than likely turned to the birth position – head down – and is getting ready for his delivery.


Your baby is practicing to breathe by inhaling and exhaling small amounts of amniotic fluid. This exercises his lungs and also produces pulmonary surfactant which will keep his lungs from collapsing when he takes his first breath. In fact, if it were necessary to have an amniocentesis late in your pregnancy, the level of surfactant in the amniotic fluid is measured to determine the maturity of the baby’s lungs. 


At 33 weeks, your baby probably has a full head of hair now. His sleep patterns have been set for some time now. Usually, when you are active during the day, your baby is sleeping. When you are still at night, your baby is active - you have probably already noticed this! At this stage in your pregnancy, it is believed that a baby even has dreams during sleep.


Rapid eye movements (REM) have been documented in 33 week old foetuses. Your baby has been able to see light for some time now and the pupils of his eyes dilate and constrict. He is listening to the world around him and can feel your touch. Fat continues to develop and his skin is now turning pink.



Your Body this Week


During week 33, you might start to notice that your maternity clothes are now getting a little tight. You have gained about 22 to 28 pounds now and still have a bit to go. Don’t worry too much about it. Just get some baggy sweat pants big t-shirts. After all, you only have a few weeks left! You may also notice that the weight gain has caused your belly button to pop out. If this has not happened yet, it will soon. This too will go away once you deliver your baby.


As for symptoms, in week 33 you will have most of the same symptoms as you have had in the last couple of weeks. You could feel more tired now with the weight gain and you are probably experiencing shortness of breath due to the baby pressing up on your lungs. Pain in the pelvic area is common as the weight stretches your abdominal and back muscles and ligaments.


You could start to have Braxton Hicks contractions at this time. Braxton Hicks contractions usually occur during the last month of pregnancy. Some believe that these little contractions are the body’s way of practicing for labour. Braxton Hicks contractions are small sporadic contractions of the uterus.


These contractions are not painful, they do not get stronger or closer together, and they are usually only felt in the front of the abdomen. When you experience Braxton Hicks contractions, your cervix does not dilate or get thin as it does during normal labour.



Although Braxton Hicks contractions are not painful, they can be annoying. To relieve Braxton Hicks contractions, get moving. Just changing positions or going for a walk will sometimes make the Braxton Hicks contractions subside. Others say that a warm bath or a glass of warm tea will make the contractions go away.


Pregnancy Tip


Even at this later stage in your pregnancy calcium remains an important part of your daily diet. As your baby use calcium from your body to harden his or her bones, it’s very easy for your body to become deprived of calcium, causing your bones and teeth to weaken. Make sure to consume plenty of calcium rich foods like low fat milk and cheese.