CHANGES TO MUM
By 33 weeks of pregnancy you may find that you begin to gain weight more rapidly in the third trimester due to the rapid growth of your baby. Your uterus now measures approximately 13cms above your belly button.
You will be getting very excited as the weeks become less and less. By this stage of pregnancy you should be thinking about having your hospital bag packed and ready to go. Your hospital will give you a guide on what you need to pack and take with you.
Most hospitals want you to book in advance. It is then just a matter of simply making a phone call when you go into labour, before arriving at the hospital so they can be prepared for your arrival.
Some pregnant woman may be suffering from some discomfort caused by swelling, particularly in your feet, ankles and hands. It is best to remove any of your rings at this stage of pregnancy as your fingers may become puffy and your rings can get stuck on your hands.
Swelling during pregnancy known as oedema is when your body is holding too much fluid and is caused by extra blood circulating in your body due to being pregnant. Between 50 and 80% of women suffer from oedema while pregnant.
Swelling will be particularly worse during summer and in hotter climates. Do your best to keep off your feet, elevating them when possible. Support tights can help to stop blood from pooling around your ankles.
Drinking plenty of water during the day will also help to improve and reduce swelling, as well as eating well and avoiding high sodium and salty foods.
If your feet and ankles become very swollen try soaking them in cool water, and once again using pillows to elevate them. Massage can help to move fluid away from your feet and ankles.
While swelling (oedema) is to be expected and is perfectly normal during pregnancy, however you should watch out for any sudden swelling over a period of a few days and particularly in your face. Sudden, severe and prolonged swelling can be quite serious; it could be an early sign of pre-eclampsia and often related to high blood pressure and protein in the urine.
Pre-eclampsia can be very serious and make both you and your baby unwell if not treated. Contact your midwife or obstetrician for advice if you feel your swelling is abnormal.
Leg cramps can be a very common side effect of pregnancy at this stage. Like swelling, do your best to stay off your feet, and when you do have to stand for long periods of time be sure to shift your weight between your two legs, changing positions frequently.
Elevate your legs when resting, however be sure to still keep active; simply wriggling your toes when sitting and laying can help maintain blood flow and circulation. Short walks and light exercise may help with cramps.
When a cramp does occur, massage or squeeze the muscle with your hands. Calcium can also help reduce cramping, either through diet such as increasing your milk and cheese intake or via a supplement.
CHANGES TO BUB
By 33 weeks of pregnancy your baby will be steadily gaining weight and will do so for the remainder of your pregnancy. The amniotic fluid is at its highest point by 33 weeks, with your baby weighing approximately 2 kgs and measure about 44cms from head to toe.
Each week your obstetrician or midwife will be paying particular attention to your baby’s presentation (position) as he/she becomes ready for birth. While most first time mothers will have their baby getting ready for delivery by turning upside down and moving down into the pelvis, second time mums can expect this to happen a week before labour or even just before labour starts.
Less than 5% of babies remain breech (feet or bottom first), your obstetrician or midwife may try to turn your baby manually by putting pressure on your stomach.
There are also positions that you can put yourself in that may encourage your baby to turn, your obstetrician may encourage you to try these. Generally if a baby does not move to head down before delivery you may need to have a caesarean section.
While your baby’s head and skull is still quite pliable so that he/she can ease out of the birth canal, the brain continues to grow and increase the size of the head. The bones in the rest of the body are becoming hard, with skin looking much more of a baby pink than red and wrinkled as fat deposits accumulate.
At 33 weeks of pregnancy a baby boy’s testicles will have moved from their location near the kidneys, through the groin to the scrotum while a girl’s clitoris is now very noticeable. Not sure what you are having? What a wonderful surprise! It won’t be long and you will be holding your little one in your arms.