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weeks pregnant

33 weeks pregnant - what to expect

Wow, your baby has reached the size of a pineapple! (or thereabouts).

33 weeks infographic.

What does my baby look like?

By now your baby’s nervous system is fully developed. Their bones are also starting to firm up.

If you’ve been worried about how on earth you’re going to give birth to a baby bigger than a pineapple - fear not. Your baby’s skull is specially designed to make their exit out of the birth canal easier.

It stays soft and separated until after the birth so that it can move and slide while still protecting his brain. Amazing.

Your symptoms - what to expect

Feeling pooped?

Tiredness is likely to be kicking in now, especially if you’re having trouble sleeping. Try to put your feet up as much as you can.

Worrying about sleep problems can make them worse, but it's very hard not to think about them.

Try having a milky drink before bed and let your body rest, even if you can't sleep. Avoid caffeine, which is found in coffee, tea, chocolate and some fizzy drinks.

If you’re tired, see if you can negotiate a later start at work. That might help you make up some sleep in the morning. Talk to your midwife or GP if sleeplessness becomes a real issue for you.

It might also be difficult to get comfortable in bed. This can be even more of a problem if you need to get up to wee more often because the baby is pressing on your bladder! Use lots of pillows to help find comfortable sleeping positions.

Back pain

Are you struggling under the strain of your heavy load? Make sure you bend your knees rather than your back when you pick things up, and try to avoid carrying anything too heavy (although this is easier said than done if you already have a young child...).

It’s not too late to try something like pilates or aquanatal to help strengthen your back.

Actions to take

Go to sleep on your side if you're not already doing so

When you reach your third trimester, the advice is to go to sleep on your side because research has shown that going to sleep on your back is linked to an increased risk of stillbirth. This advice includes daytime napping and night sleeping. Read more about safe sleep positions in pregnancy

Yoga

Yoga is a great form of exercise for this stage of pregnancy. It works your muscles and won’t put too much strain on your joints. You’ll also use breathing techniques that could help you during labour.

In particular, toning up your pelvic floor muscles will help prevent you accidentally leaking wee when you cough or strain, both during your pregnancy and after your baby is born.

Plan ahead

Life with a little one is going to be a whole new world. It can be a good idea to do some practical things at home to prepare for your arrival – when you’re going to have your hands full.

Think about getting your house baby ready (where are you going to change your little one’s nappies? Where are they going to sleep?). And consider stocking your freezer with meals you can easily whack in the oven.

What you need for your newborn

Have you packed your hospital bag yet? It’s not too soon to get packing. There’s no harm in being prepared.

“Work out where and when your breastfeeding support groups are and go in pregnancy. Then when you have a newborn and are struggling to get out the house, going to the group won’t seem as daunting.”

Maria, mum of two

Read are our tips to help you stay stress-free in pregnancy.

Sources

1. You and your baby at 33–36 weeks pregnant, NHS Choices: http://www.nhs.uk/Conditions/pregnancy-and-baby/pages/pregnancy-weeks-33-34-35-36.aspx [accessed 29 May 2015] (last reviewed: 11 February 2015; next review due: 11 February 2017).

2. RCOG (2006). Recreational exercise in pregnancy: information for you. RCOG 2006; accessed online at https://www.rcog.org.uk/globalassets/documents/patients/patient-information-leaflets/pregnancy/recreational-exercise-and-pregnancy.pdf on 08.02.2015

3. Smith CA, Levett KM, Collins CT, Crowther CA (2011) Relaxation techniques for pain management in labour, Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews, 7 (12): CD009514. doi: 10.1002/14651858.CD009514: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22161453 [accessed 23 February 2015].

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Last reviewed on April 1st, 2015. Next review date April 1st, 2018.

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