33rd – Thirty-third week of pregnancy

33 week of pregnancy

You are almost halfway through the eighth month of pregnancy, with the fetus in the final stages of its development.

Premature babies born in the 33rd week of pregnancy have a very good chance of survival: about 98%, and with no risk of long-term complications or developmental problems.

Are you ready for the birth and to welcome the baby into your home within just over a month? Are you following a prenatal course?

If you’re too “messy” among the thousand things you have to think about in this period, stop and relax. Accept that your brain is also affected by pregnancy hormones, and keep in mind that there is still time to do whatever is necessary.

There are so many doubts that, more or less consciously, could cross your mind during this period.

  • Will I be a good mother? Will we be good parents?
  • How will my body change? If I gain a lot of weight, will I go back to how I was before?
  • What if there are complications?
  • How will my life change? How will I reconcile home, work and a child?

Sometimes it may feel like you’re on the verge of a full-blown nervous breakdown. But you don’t have to worry: it’s normal to “be afraid” in such an extraordinary moment, and in the midst of a hormonal storm.

For further information on these ;fears; we refer you to the article pregnancy and fears .

The development of the fetus in the 33rd week

The development of the immune system

The fetal immune system is developing rapidly, with antibodies passing from your body to the fetus so that after birth it can fight off disease and infection.

Bone and skull development

Its bone development continues with the gradual hardening of the fetal skeleton.

In her skull, the bones have yet to join together: They will remain that way until birth to facilitate the passage of her head through the birth canal.

Until adolescence the bones of the skull will not fully weld together, this is to allow the brain to expand and the tissues to continue to grow.

The development of internal organs

These last few weeks are essential for the growth of the fetus’s respiratory system. His lungs are mature enough for your baby to breathe on his own in the event of delivery.

The pulmonary surfactant (chemical) that is produced by your fetus’s body serves to keep its airways open, helping it to breathe.

However, babies born in the 33rd week are kept on assisted ventilation for a few weeks after birth so that their lungs can pump out oxygen and carbon dioxide at a stable rate.

At the thirty-third week, almost a liter of amniotic fluid surrounds the fetus, protecting it from any external impact. The amniotic fluid reaches its maximum volume around this week of pregnancy.

This liquid contains no nutrients; however, it contains several enzymes that perform important functions for the development of the unborn child: some of these have antiseptic properties and protect the baby from the risk of infections, others favor the maturation of its lungs.

You have about 1 liter in your belly, and it’s a sign that the fetus’s kidneys are working.

In this stage of pregnancy, the kidneys should produce around 500 milliliters of urine per day (note: the urine of the unborn child does not contain toxic waste substances, because the fetal metabolism is different from that of a newborn or an adult).

The other organs and apparatuses such as the brain and the nervous system have already completed their development in the womb, while the liver of the fetus is storing the iron which the child needs to grow once it is born.

The outward appearance

The skin of the fetus now appears smoother and more opaque. The layer of fat continues to grow under it.

The baby already looks as it will on the day of its birth, even though it still has a considerable amount of weight to pack on.

The size of the fetus

The fetus is about 43 centimeters long; weighs almost 2 kilograms: it is about the size of a pineapple.

Fetal movements

The fetus doesn’t have much room to make those jerky movements you felt at the beginning of the third trimester.

The levels of its activity also depend on what is happening around or concerning the mother: for example, from external noises, and from when and from what you eat.

The fetus already behaves like a newborn, opening its eyes when awake and distinguishing day from night.

The walls of the uterus which are gradually thinning, allow a greater amount of light to penetrate and let the fetus know when it is day.

He should now already be in the correct head down birth position; however, you don’t have to worry yet if he was still in the breech position, as there is still time for him to rotate into the correct position.

However, your doctor will closely monitor the position of the fetus in the last few weeks to make sure it is positioned correctly before delivery.

The woman at the thirty-third week

At this point, the top of your uterus is approximately 12cm above your belly button.

You will probably already have gained about 10-12 kilograms. From now on, the ideal weight gain will be around 200-450 grams per week.

The hormone relaxin which is produced by the pregnant body loosens the pelvic joints and muscles in order to prepare the woman’s body for the birth of the baby.

However, the functioning of this hormone does not only affect the pelvic area, but also relaxes the muscles and joints of other parts of the body, causing pain and discomfort.

weight gain in twin pregnancies

Women pregnant with twins should gain about 700 grams per week during the third trimester.

Their overall weight gain in week 33 is usually around 30 pounds.

In order to provide both fetuses with sufficient nourishment for their correct psychophysical growth, it is essential to follow a special diet, indicated by the doctor, which will certainly be rich in iron, calcium and folic acid.

The ultrasound at the thirty-third week of pregnancy

During this time, an ultrasound may be done to assess the levels of amniotic fluid or to check the position of your baby in the uterus, in case the doctor suspects a breech baby.

Other than a complete blood test to evaluate glucose tolerance, most women do not need further medical examinations and screening tests to detect the presence of gestational diabetes and the risk of anemia.

Women whose tests show low iron levels are usually prescribed supplements, and asked to have another blood test done within a few weeks.

In the later stages of pregnancy, if infections or complications such as rupture of membranes are detected, the doctor may also order a screening test such as amniocentesis .

Ultrasound at 33rd week of pregnancy – Photo: Flickr/skippytpe licensed under Creative Commons (BY-NC-ND)

Symptoms in the thirty-third week

In this period the most common symptoms consist of,

  • indigestion and heartburn ;
  • constipation;
  • Braxton Hicks contractions;
  • leg cramps;
  • tiredness;
  • restless legs syndrome and insomnia;
  • mood swings, depression and anxiety;
  • pain in the round ligament of the uterus;
  • coccyx and pelvic pain;
  • joint and back pain;
  • clumsiness, due to the so-called “pregnancy brain”;
  • shortness of breath, and chest pain from the growing uterus putting pressure on the lungs and ribs;
  • tingling or numbness in the hands and fingers (carpal tunnel syndrome);
  • tiredness;
  • headache and dizziness ;
  • itchy skin, especially around the belly, breasts, back, and thighs;
  • stretch marks and rashes, mainly on the belly;
  • varicose veins and hemorrhoids;
  • edema or swelling of the ankles and feet.

Symptoms to watch out for

In this period the most common symptoms consist of,

  • uterine contractions, which become more frequent over time, accompanied by mucous discharge (loss of mucus plug), feeling of pressure in the pelvis, vaginal bleeding, increased vaginal discharge, menstrual-like cramps, dull pain in the lower back ( around the kidneys), flu-like symptoms (diarrhea and vomiting) and nausea (these could be signs of premature birth);
  • severe itching of hands, palms and feet, itching that refuses to go away with home remedies (this could indicate a rare liver disorder, intrahepatic cholestasis of pregnancy);
  • constant headache, extreme fatigue, nausea, upper abdominal pain and lightheadedness, together with severe nosebleeds, vision changes, edema (of the face and hands) and weight gain (which could indicate hypertension or preeclampsia);
  • pain or burning when urinating and dark or cloudy urine, accompanied by pain in the lower back, thick and white/greenish or gelatinous and yellowish discharge, nausea and pain or bleeding after intercourse (could indicate urinary tract infections, kidneys or candidiasis;
  • extreme thirst and dry mouth, together with an urgent urge to urinate but with little urine passed, sudden blurry vision, headache, abdominal pain (especially on the right side), tiredness and nausea (which could indicate diabetes gestational);
  • sudden bright red bleeding, with or without pain in the lower stomach or back (which could indicate placenta previa or low);
  • copious watery, clear or yellowish discharge (which could be amniotic fluid leakage);
  • swelling on one side, or one foot or ankle more swollen than the other (could indicate a blood clotting disorder).

When to call the doctor

  • Contractions that become more frequent over time along with vaginal bleeding, menstrual-like cramps, feeling of pressure in the pelvic area, pinkish, brown or clear mucous discharge (loss of mucus plug), nausea, vomiting, diarrhea and copious discharge watery (could be signs of premature birth);
  • pain or burning when urinating, dark yellowish or orange urine, with or without a bad smell, accompanied by pain in the abdomen or lower back (around the kidneys), thick white or jelly-like greenish/yellowish discharge, nausea and vaginal itching (could indicate urinary tract infections, kidney infections or candidiasis);
  • extreme thirst and dry mouth, along with abnormal and urgent urges to urinate, suddenly blurry vision, extreme fatigue, dizziness and ketones in urine (may indicate gestational diabetes);
  • unilateral swellings: i.e. one foot more swollen than the other, with or without tenderness in the leg (could indicate a blood clotting disorder);
  • constant headache, extreme tiredness, nausea, upper abdominal pain, lightheadedness, vision changes, sudden weight gain;
  • severe unexplained itching of the hands (especially the palms) and feet (may indicate liver disease or cholestasis of pregnancy)

Some useful tips

Some useful tips for you who are pregnant:

  • drink plenty of fluids to stay hydrated;
  • keep track of fetal kicks regularly to keep track of all types of fetal movement (kicks, bumps and hiccups) and to ensure good health;
  • do regular physical exercises to strengthen the pelvic floor (Kegel), and to better support the weight of the growing fetus: this also serves to manage incontinence and postpartum urine leakage 38 )
  • follow a diet specifically designed by your doctor. This will definitely contain Omega-3 fats (especially docosahexaenoic acid), fats that are essential for the vision and brain development of the fetus.
  • do prenatal yoga exercises or light physical exercises under medical advice, such as short walks twice a day, or such as swimming: this is to combat back and joint pain, as well as to manage constipation and prepare your body at childbirth 40
  • eat foods rich in calcium, and pay close attention to dental hygiene because the child absorbs calcium from you for the ossification of his bones, and this can considerably weaken your bones and your teeth.

Katherine Johnson, M.D., is a board-certified obstetrician-gynecologist with clinical expertise in general obstetrics and gynecology, family planning, women’s health, and gynecology.

She is affiliated with the Obstetrics and Gynecology division at an undisclosed healthcare institution and the online platform, Maternicity.com.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *