33 Weeks Pregnant
We’d tell you to take a deep breath and relax, but it’s probably tough to do either of those at 33 weeks pregnant. In fact, it’s probably hard to get comfortable at all, since you might be feeling overheated on top of your other symptoms too. But you’re probably getting super excited to meet baby, and we can’t blame you. Week 33 of pregnancy is a good time to start packing your hospital bag. You might also want to read up on postpartum care and stock your medicine cabinet with some essential new mom care supplies. (The hospital will have plenty as well, so no need to worry if you overlook something.) Sure, you might not see baby for another month or so, but if you have an early surprise arrival, at least you won’t have to think about which shirt to pack or whether or not you have hemorrhoid cream at home. (About that…sorry.)
At 33 weeks pregnant, baby is as big as a head of celery. They weigh about 4.2 pounds and measure about 17.2 inches—and may grow up to a full inch this week. Amazing!
Thirty-three weeks pregnant is eight months pregnant, although most doctors refer to your progress in pregnancy by week, not month.
If we had to sum up 33 weeks pregnant symptoms in one word? Discomfort! Here’s what you’re probably feeling this week.
- Overheating. You’re one hot mama-to-be because your metabolic rate is through the roof.
- Headaches. Hormone fluctuations at 33 weeks can cause headaches. So can stress or dehydration, so try to take it easy and drink plenty of water. A few extra trips to the ladies’ room is worth the sacrifice.
- Shortness of breath. By now, you may be used to not being able to fully catch your breath (especially if you’re 33 weeks pregnant with twins). Imagine what a relief it will be when baby “drops” and frees up some space around your lungs. For different moms-to-be, this happens at different times, but chances are, it could be very soon.
- Forgetfulness and clumsiness. This is the unproven phenomenon also known as " pregnancy brain." Your flightiness may be less due to your physiological changes and more due to the stress and anxiety of expecting baby in less than two months.
What should you be feeling at 33 weeks pregnant?
Have you been gripped with an overwhelming desire to clean your house or get all of baby’s onesies and diapers organized in the nursery? You’re nesting, an impulse that takes over in the final weeks of your pregnancy as you prepare for your new little arrival. The only thing slowing you down, aside from those 33 weeks pregnant symptoms? Lack of sleep, which is common in the third trimester. There are a number of possible causes, ranging from a full bladder to an active and kicking baby. Take care of yourself and rest when you can!
By 33 weeks pregnant, you may have gained around 22 to 28 pounds total—32 to 42 pounds if you’re 33 weeks pregnant with twins. For some moms-to-be, having some extra curves makes them feel sexy. Know that as long as your doctor has said sex is okay during your pregnancy, you can continue to enjoy it right up until delivery day.
If you feel your belly tightening occasionally, you’re probably having Braxton Hicks contractions. Here’s how you know: Braxton Hicks aren’t painful and often happen after sex or exercise. They’re different from regular contractions because they stop when you switch positions. Real contractions keep going—there’d be at least five in an hour—and mean actual labor. Yep!
At 33 weeks pregnant, cramping like you’d have with a period could be a sign of preterm labor. So can vaginal bleeding, unusual discharge or leaking. At 33 weeks pregnant, pressure in your pelvis could be a sign too. Be on the lookout for these symptoms. If anything worries you, empty your bladder, lie on your left side, drink water and call your OB immediately.
What position is baby in at 33 Weeks?
It’s almost go time, so baby is likely positioned head down, or will be very soon. A 33-week fetus is also making its way toward your pelvis, so you may feel like your belly has “dropped” lower. Some babies wait until the last minute to make this move, however, so don’t worry if you don’t feel any changes.
It’s early still, so at this point having real contractions would be considered preterm labor for a baby at 33 weeks along. Certain complications and conditions make you more likely to go into labor early, such as having excess amniotic fluid or being 33 weeks pregnant with twins.
If you were to have a 33 weeks pregnant ultrasound, you’d see that baby is keeping their eyes open while awake. Baby is also starting to coordinate breathing with sucking and swallowing—an important skill for life “on the outside.” Your 33-week fetus’s bones are hardening. And baby is going through (more) major brain development—that's one smart baby!
A 33 weeks pregnant ultrasound might be done as part of a biophysical profile (BPP). This test is done in the third trimester for high-risk patients (so if you’re 33 weeks pregnant with twins, you might be getting these every so often) and after 40 weeks for women who go past their due dates. The ultrasound will gauge your 33-week fetus’s movement, breathing, muscle tone and amount of amniotic fluid. The other part of the BPP—the non-stress test—will measure how baby’s heart rate changes when they move or you have contractions.
Think of it as an extra peek to confirm all is well with your 33-week baby. Maybe the peace of mind will help you with that whole relaxing thing.
Use a cold compress
Apply one of these to the back of your neck to relieve headaches without medication. Bonus: A cold compress will also cool you down when you’re feeling super hot. Refreshing!
Keep your cool
And speaking of overheating, you may want to invest in a portable cooling device, especially if you're at 33 weeks during the hot-weather months. It can be anything from a desktop air conditioning unit that plugs into an outlet to a battery-powered, handheld fan you carry with you for a quick blast of cool air.
Increase your odds of a good night’s sleep
If you feel fatigued and forgetful during the day, create a bedroom environment that invites sweet sleep. Try a white noise machine or light-blocking window coverings, or spritz calming lavender essential oil onto your sheets. Needless to say, set your thermostat so the room is nice and cool, and you won’t lose sleep sweating through the night!
You’ve got a lot on your plate right now, so don’t let anything slip through the cracks because of #PregnancyBrain. Write everything down, whether it’s in a to-do list or a digital calendar app on your phone.
Reminders for the week:
Medical content was reviewed November 2020 by Sherry A. Ross, MD, an ob-gyn and women’s health expert at Providence Saint John’s Health Center in Santa Monica, California, and author of she-ology and she-ology, the she-quel: let’s continue the conversation.