33 Weeks Pregnant: The 33rd Week Of Pregnancy
Only 7 more weeks until your baby arrives. Here is what you can expect this week.
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 surrounding the baby. Only 1 in 10 women experience a dramatic gush of amniotic fluid, and even then it usually happens at home, oftentimes in bed. Other women only notice a small trickle. Sometimes the amniotic sac breaks or leaks before labor begins. It is common to be uncertain about whether leaking fluid is amniotic fluid or urine. Amniotic fluid is clear and odorless. If you think your membranes are leaking or have ruptured, 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. Most doctors will evaluate you and your baby as soon as the membranes rupture due to the risk of developing an infection. Y our doctor may also decide to induce labor at this point.
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 vary for each baby during this time, your baby may be a little off from these measurements, which in most cases is completely normal.
Pregnancy Week 33: What is happening with your baby?
Your baby’s skin is beginning to look less red and wrinkled. Fat stores are continuing to be deposited under the skin. The bones are all beginning to harden except for the skull because the skull needs to remain soft and pliable for delivery.
Pregnancy Week 33: What should you plan for this week?
Your next prenatal appointment is a good time to discuss an episiotomy with your doctor. An episiotomy is a surgical incision occasionally necessary to enlarge the vaginal opening to help deliver your baby. Many health care providers prefer not to perform an episiotomy unless it is absolutely necessary. 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.
Another decision is whether to store your baby’s cord blood. Storing your baby’s cord blood is a type of insurance to protect your growing child from future conditions that might be diagnosed later and treated with the stem cells from that stored cord blood. The American Pregnancy Association recommends Affordable Cord Care and ViaCord.
The following are preventative measures to lessen the chances of needing this surgical incision:
- Good nutrition (Healthy skin stretches more easily).
- Kegels (an exercise for your pelvic floor muscles)
- A slowed second stage of labor where pushing is controlled
- Warm compresses and support during delivery
- Perineum massage techniques
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. Nonetheless, there are ways to 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 discussing birth control options for after delivery. Your partner is currently going through many changes, so she may not even have begun to think this through. Be intentional to bring up this subject. More than likely, you will want to research this so you and your partner can choose an effective method. Remember, there are some forms 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.