33 weeks pregnant

You and your baby's development

What's happening in week 33 of your pregnancy

Week 33 and you are probably counting down the days!

At a glance

  • Your baby's bones are starting to harden
  • Swimming is a great way to relax and get some exercise
  • Try and get in little naps when you can
33 Weeks pregnant

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How big is my baby at 33 weeks?

Your baby is now around 4.4lbs in weight and around 44cm long. They might already have a head of hair, and will have perhaps shifted position and gone head down in your womb, with their little legs folded up to their chest. This position readies them to move further down into your pelvis in preparation for birth!

Your baby's bones are also continuing to harden at this stage too, except for those in their skull, which stay soft and pliable to enable baby's head to be born safely.

When they are born, your baby will have two soft places on their head where the skull bones haven’t yet fused together. The one at the back of the head is triangular in shape and called the posterior fontanelle. It closes at around 8 weeks old. The other, bigger, diamond-shaped one on the top of your baby’s head takes longer: it won’t close until they’re a year or 18 months old.

Facts to know about your baby in week 33

  • Your baby is now around 4.4lbs in weight and around 44cm long
  • When babies are born, parts of their skull may overlap to help them squeeze out - leaving the head temporarily cone-shaped after delivery
  • The bridge of the nose isn't there at birth it grows later, so babies have a small `button' nose"

You at 33 weeks pregnant

You are probably really feeling (and looking) very pregnant now, and might have adopted the pregnant lady waddle thanks to your growing baby's position!

Pelvic pain is something one in five women will experience when they are expecting, and for some, it can be quite severe and debilitating.

It’s caused by the ligaments around your pelvis get so relaxed and stretchy they can’t keep your pelvis correctly aligned. Your midwife might suggest a few exercises, refer you for physiotherapy, or suggest you wear a supportive belt to help ease the discomfort.

Although you might be feeling pretty exhausted quite a lot of the time, and finding you get out of puff and worn out more quickly than usual. Trying to keep as active as possible is still really encouraged though, even when you are at this late stage. Swimming is brilliant for mums-to-be as it is both a great way to relax and get a bit of exercise all while being supported by the water and feeling weightless. 

You could also give yourself an energy boost with nutrient and iron rich snacks when you feel yourself flagging (much better for you than chocolate!) - and of course, get lots of rest and feet up time!

Facts to know about you in week 33

  • Scrubbing floors on all fours and sitting backwards on a chair can help your baby's head engage
  • Your amniotic fluid levels are at their lowest so your baby's kicks can feel a bit sharp!
  • The placenta can weigh around 2lbs.

What to think about in week 33

You might be having real problems sleeping now, not only because of your mega bump, but also because of the weird dreams which can occur in late pregnancy!

It can be infuriating not being able to nod off – or nodding off then waking lots in the night – but try not to stress over a lack of sleep too much. Instead, just try and make it up when you can (and don't feel guilty about it!).

An afternoon snooze on the sofa, or in the sunshine in the back garden will do you the power of good – and you really do need to make the most of every opportunity to put your feet up and rest now! Safer sleep advice from Tommy's says that you should always sleep on your side in the third trimester of pregnancy as lying on your back can increase the risk of stillbirth. 

Signs and symptoms at 33 weeks pregnant

Varicose veins

In appearance varicose veins can look twisted, lumpy or swollen, and are usually purple or blue in colour. Other than their visual appearance, here are no real symptoms attached to varicose veins. Some mums-to-be however do complain that they cause them pain, itching, and even a feeling of heaviness in the legs and some swelling. You can help treat varicose veins by wearing compression stockings, which help to squeeze the blood vessels to help to improve your circulation. If they really bother you after pregnancy you can also try sclerotherapy, which involves injecting the veins to form scar tissue, to seal them off, or in severe cases surgery can remove the affected veins altogether.

Braxton Hicks

In your third trimester it’s common for many mums-to-be say that they’re having Braxton Hicks contractions. They help your body prepare for labour and occur randomly and are not regular like real contractions are. They tend not to last long, and be fairly weak, and do not increase in intensity. You can help them to ease off by walking, having a rest or changing position. You will know when the contractions are a sign of real labour as they will be regular, frequent, last for longer, are more painful, and get more intense as your labour progresses.  

Watch our videos below:

Video 1: Pain relief options

Video 2: How to keep a sleeping baby safe

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At a glance

  • Your baby's bones are starting to harden
  • Swimming is a great way to relax and get some exercise
  • Try and get in little naps when you can

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