Pregnancy week by week



Week 33 of Pregnancy

You may feel quite tired at this stage of pregnancy. After all, growing a baby is a hard work. Try to pace yourself, rest when you can, and boost your energy with iron rich snacks. You can’t believe that your belly can grow any more, but it can! You will be gaining around one pound per week.

This is the time to make a decision on whether or not you want to save your baby’s cord blood. Cord blood is the blood that remains in the umbilical cord and placenta following birth. This is usually discarded. Cord blood stem cells can be used to treat the same diseases that bone marrow can treat but with less probability of rejection. Discuss with your doctor to know what cord blood banking entails. You can also refer to our section on cord blood banking to learn more.

Your body

Common problems you may face around this time are leg cramps, backache, or trouble sleeping. Leg cramps especially can be very annoying. Take regular walks, increase your intake of calcium, and keep your legs elevated when lying supine. Don’t sit in the same position for too long. It is advised to sleep on the left side since this ensures unobstructed blood flow to all parts of the body and also help in digestion and breathing. Use cushions or pillows to achieve a comfortable position. Refer to our sections on third trimester symptoms to learn more.

Constipation can be quite uncomfortable during pregnancy. Your hormones relax your muscles so there are fewer contractions to push the food through your system. This allows more water from the food to be absorbed by your body, and makes your stool harder-and harder to pass. Drink plenty of fluids. Eat high fibre diet and include fruits and vegetables. Take a brisk walk to keep yourself active.

Placenta praevia is a rare complication that few pregnant women might face during this time. In this situation, the placenta completely or partially blocks the cervix. Another uncommon condition is abruptio placenta where placenta separates from the uterus. Immediate pain and bleeding are signs of the problem.

Most low-lying placentas found at the 20 week scan will change position by the time the baby is born. If your placenta covered the cervix at your 20 week scan, you will be offered another scan at 36 weeks to check. If the placenta is still covering the neck of the womb, your baby will need to be born by caesarean section to prevent you having a serious bleed. If the placenta is close to the cervix but not covering it, your doctor may offer to check its position using ultrasound scans at 1-2 weekly intervals. If you start to bleed, you will need to go to hospital. Refer to the section on danger signs of pregnancy  to know what you should look out for.

Your baby

Your baby is steadily gaining weight. He may measure about 44 cm from head to toe. He could weigh around 1.6 kg. Your uterus now sits about 13 cm above your belly button and about 33 cm above your pubic symphysis. Your total weight gain by now should be about 10-12.5 kg. He will probably settle down into a head-down position over the next few weeks. Your baby’s skin is changing from red to pink as fat is getting accumulated under the skin. His brain is growing rapidly as billions of neurons in your baby’s brain are helping him learn new things. Your baby can listen, feel and see. The pupils of the eye can detect light and constrict and dilate, allowing your baby to see dim shapes. Your baby will be sleeping much of the time and even dreaming like us. This week your amniotic fluid is at the highest level of your pregnancy. From now on, the fluid will start to decrease to give more room to your baby. Thus, you will feel considerable movement from within. By the time you deliver, the amniotic sac contains two pints of amniotic fluid. Your baby will make the greatest demand for nutrients now so it becomes important that you eat well. In these last few weeks before birth your baby will double its weight.


At this stage, you should always prepare yourself for the possibility of a Caesarean section by educating yourself about the procedure. Lack of proper information can simply create panic and anxiety at the last moment. A caesarean section is a surgical procedure wherein the baby is delivered by making an incision on the abdomen.

Caesarean section is either elective or emergency. In case of elective section your doctor will schedule a date close to your due date (ideally 39 weeks) for the procedure.  In some cases though, you may have been scheduled for a vaginal birth but at the time of labour the need may arise for a caesarean section. This happens when the labour does not progress at a satisfactory rate or there are signs of foetal distress. You can check our section on Caesarean section to learn more about the procedure.


What are the signs of labour? How can I differentiate it from false alarm?

The signs of imminent labour are blood tinged discharge, rupture of the amniotic sac (water breaking), contractions that are coming at regular intervals (five minutes apart), and expulsion of mucus plug (show). 

False labour pain may be easily confused with the true labour pains as they have similar characteristics. If the contractions are irregular, centred in your lower abdomen or don’t worsen over time, it might be a false alarm. Try changing your position or walking around as this would relieve the pain if these are false labour pains.

If you are still not sure, it is always better to speak to your doctor.

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