Pregnancy Week 33

Mother who is 33 weeks pregnant

Only 7 more weeks until your baby arrives. Here is what you can expect this week.

Pregnancy Week 33: What changes are occurring with your body?

The top of your uterus is a little over 5 inches (12.7 cm) from your belly button. Your total weight gain should be between 22 and 28 pounds (10 to 12.7 kg). You may wonder if you will be able to tell when your water breaks (also called rupturing of the membranes). This is the breaking of the fluid-filled sac (amniotic fluid) surrounding the baby. Only 1 in 10 women experience a dramatic gush of the amniotic fluid, and even then it usually happens at home, often in bed.

Sometimes the amniotic sac breaks or leaks before labor begins. This may be just a small trickle. It is common to be uncertain about whether leaking fluid is amniotic fluid or urine. Many pregnant women leak urine in the later stages of pregnancy, so be sure to have it checked. If you think your membranes have ruptured, you should call your health care provider.

Until you see your physician or midwife, do not use tampons, have sexual intercourse, or do anything that would introduce bacteria to your vagina once your water has broken. Let your doctor know if the fluid is anything other than clear and odorless, particularly if is greenish or foul smelling, because this could be a sign of infection. Your doctor should discuss with you what to do if your membranes rupture. Most doctors want to evaluate you and your baby as soon as the membranes rupture because of the risk of developing an infection. Your doctor may decide to induce labor.*

Pregnancy Week 33: How big is your baby?

Your baby is approximately 16 ½ inches (42 cm) long and weighs between 4 ½ to 5 pounds (2 to 2.3 kg). Because growth can be so different for each baby during this time, your baby may be a little off from these measurements which in most cases is totally normal.*

Pregnancy Week 33: What is happening with your baby?

Your baby’s skin is beginning to look less red and less wrinkled. Fat stores are continuing to be deposited under his/her skin. His/her bones are all beginning to harden except for the skull. The skull needs to remain soft and pliable for delivery.*

Pregnancy Week 33: What should you plan for this week?

Have you discussed an episiotomy with your health care provider? An episiotomy is a surgical incision occasionally necessary to enlarge the vaginal opening to help deliver your baby. Many women and health care providers prefer not to go through an episiotomy unless it is absolutely necessary.

The following are preventive measures to lessen the chances of needing this surgical incision:

  • Good nutrition (healthy skin stretches more easily!)
  • Kegels (exercise for your pelvic floor muscles)
  • A slowed second stage of labor where pushing is controlled
  • Warm compresses and support during delivery
  • Use perineum massage techniques

The practice of performing episiotomies during delivery is becoming a less frequent occurrence. According to research published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), episiotomies can actually cause more problems than if natural tearing were to occur. Read more about episiotomies and talk to your doctor or midwife about your concerns.

Pregnancy Week 33: Tips for making your pregnancy better

Many women may wonder if it is still safe to have sexual intercourse at this point in their pregnancy. It is safe as long as your health care provider has not told you differently. However, the changes in your body may make this a little more difficult. There are some tips that can make sex during pregnancy a little more comfortable and enjoyable.

Tips for mom’s partner:

Even though the birth of your baby is still several weeks away, you and your partner need to begin to discuss birth control options for after the baby’s birth. Your partner is going through so many different things currently she may not even have begun to think this through. Bring up this subject and have a discussion.

Most likely you will want to research this to some degree so that you and your partner can choose a method that will be effective for you as a couple. Remember, there are some methods of birth control that cannot be used if a woman is breastfeeding, and breastfeeding is not a reliable form of birth control. For more information please see Birth Control & Preventing Pregnancy.

Last Updated: 1/2013