Pregnant woman sits on the couch and holds a pair of baby shoes in front of her baby bump.

Pregnancy WEEKS

Pregnancy Week 33

The Ninth Month of Pregnancy Begins

Although you are now in your ninth month of pregnancy, it will still be a while until your estimated due date. Pregnancy usually lasts for a total of 10 months, so you are now about halfway through the third trimester. Read on to find out what your baby is up to, why you should get hold of some oil, and other important information now that you are 33 weeks pregnant.

What's Going On in Your Belly at 33 Weeks Pregnant?

The fetus is around 17 inches long (crown to heel) and weighs approx. 4-4.5 lbs.

The lungs have been developing rapidly. If your baby were to be born prematurely now, it would have an excellent chance of surviving outside the womb with very little intervention. The immune system is also making good progress. The placental barrier is becoming increasingly permeable in order to supply the baby with antibodies from the mother.

If you are expecting a boy, the testicles should have dropped into the scrotum by now.

Your baby is now about the size of a head of celery.

Your baby is now about the size of a head of celery.

It is now about time for your little one to position itself head-down ready for the birth. Prodromal contractions will help it to drop further down before labor starts. 

It is important to pay attention to your baby’s movements, as feeling your baby move is a sign that they are well. You should continue to feel your baby move right up to the time you go into labour and during your labour too! Always trust your gut instinct, if you are worried or notice a change in the normal pattern of your baby’s movements, call your midwife or maternity unit.

How Do You Feel at 33 Weeks Pregnant?

Prodromal contractions are sometimes perceived as a pulling in the pelvis and back. They ensure your baby drops lower into the pelvis. This may cause the appearance of your belly to change. This change in position brings with it a major advantage for you: You will be able to breathe a little more easily. However, the baby's new position can increase the pressure on the bladder (but you're probably already used to that by now anyway!).

You should definitely seek medical advice if you experience pain in the upper abdomen, bleeding, watery vaginal discharge, or if you notice a sudden significant weight gain or severe fluid retention. These signs could indicate a pregnancy disorder. Although the risk of this is very low, it is best to play it safe and have it checked out.

The list of symptoms does not get any shorter during the last few weeks of pregnancy, so allow yourself to rest as often as possible. Maybe your partner likes to spoil you with a foot and/or back massage? Those who are not so lucky can at least entrust themselves to professional hands. With your belly now in the way of everything, a pedicure with massage feels particularly good and relieves you of some of the more tedious aspects of your body care regime.

Speaking of body care, you can now start stretching the perineal region (the tissue between the vagina and the anus) to prepare the vagina for childbirth and to prevent perineal tears.

How do I massage my perineum to prepare for the birth?

  • Wash your hands very thoroughly to avoid bacterial infections.  
  • Then apply a little oil (e.g., almond oil, olive oil or special perineal care oil) to your fingers.
  • Stretch the entrance to the vagina and the perineal region for a few minutes by stroking, circling, and pulling with your fingers. The pulling actions may be strong, but should not be unduly painful – after all, the intention is to avoid any damage to the tissue. If you are unsure, seek advice on the best method from your doctor.

Ultimately, the aim is to leave the skin suppler and to become used to the stretching sensation. If you are well prepared, you can go into labor feeling more relaxed – and the more at ease you feel, the better the birth experience will be! 

Photo Credit: Shutterstock