33 weeks pregnant

What is it like?

You are five weeks into your third trimester and your baby is about the length of an average pumpkin. This is the week when the amount of amniotic fluid has maxed out and it begins to decrease to give more room for the baby to grow. From now on, her kicks and punches might feel pretty sharp as there is less fluid to soften the blows. Your baby is getting pretty cramped in there, and all her senses are sharpening. She can hear many sounds, including your stomach growling, your breath and your heart beating.

Your baby’s growth

Body size

Your baby is now about 18 inches (460 millimeters) long and weighs around 5.5 pounds (2500 grams). She’s about the length of an average pumpkin.

Head characteristics

Your baby’s head will continue to expand due to the rapid brain development – she’ll continue adding all those folds and crevices that give her intelligence.

Body appearance

Your baby continues to gain weight, at the rate of ½ pound per week. She’ll fatten up all over, especially around the shoulders.

Internal organs

Most of your baby’s organs are fully developed, and this week, she’ll strengthen her immune system, with antibodies provided by you, of course.

What happens inside your body?

You’re probably well acquainted with the third trimester pregnancy symptoms, but as your pregnancy progresses, you may have to add one more – insomnia. Third trimester insomnia hits about 75 % of women, so if you find yourself counting sheep, just remember you’re not alone. It might be hard to figure what’s causing it – it could be that your mind is racing from all you have to think about, frequent urination, heartburn, constipation, headaches, or it might be just hard to get comfortable. Make sure you go to bed with plenty of pillows, and arrange them anywhere that makes you most relaxed. If you are having trouble sleeping, try taking a warm bath before bed. If that doesn’t work, you can try a light snack – warm turkey has amino acid tryptophan, which is soporific, or a glass of milk, which can also help aid sleep.

If you find your baby is pressing into your stomach in an uncomfortable way, there are several things that you can do to shift her weight. Try breathing deeply and stretch one arm over your head. As you breathe out, let your arm fall and try with the other arm too. Another way of making her shift position is to get on all fours in a cat position, and try curving your back and stretching your spine upwards and downwards. Staying relaxed and positive is a matter of making sure that you are comfortable.

How different will you look?

You have a basketball belly, pregnancy mask, and glow like a beacon. Welcome to the final weeks of pregnancy! As the levels of pregnancy hormones increase – they rise throughout the pregnancy – you may find that your nails are growing faster, and become more brittle. If this is the case, try adding biotin – vitamin B7 – to your diet. Biotin is found in bananas, avocados, nuts, and whole grains. It can also be bought over-the-counter from most pharmacies in gel capsules that are safe for pregnancy.

Tips for choosing a pediatrician

You may be slightly doctored out, what with the visits to obstetricians, family doctors and midwives, but you have one more to consider: choosing a pediatrician for the little one. Talk to your partner about the qualities that she looks for in a good pediatrician and make a list of questions to ask when you are there. You’ll find it easier if you choose a doctor near to you. Make sure that you choose one who is compatible with your insurance plan. If you don’t know of anyone who is available, you can always ask friends and family. Alternately, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) offers referrals to certified practitioners on its website.

Tips to help you go through trimester

  • We’ve all heard about the importance of omega-3 fatty acids to the health of the mother, but did you know that they are essential to your baby’s growth too? There are three major fatty acids that are important — Alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), Eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). Of these, DHA is particularly important to the development of Junior’s eyes and brain. Almost all of a baby’s accumulation of DHA occurs during the last trimester. DHA may also help prevent preterm labor and protect against postpartum depression. Pregnant women should get at least 200 milligrams of DHA every day.
  • If you are worried about eating seafood because of the mercury or contamination with Listeriosis or another bacteria, fear not, the FDA says you can eat up to 12 ounces (two average meals) a week of a variety of fish and shellfish that are low in mercury, such as shrimp, tilapia, red snapper, salmon, pollack, and catfish. Swordfish, tilefish, and shark have the highest mercury, so should only be eaten sparingly.

You’re baby is the length of an average pumpkin and is fattening up quickly. As you put on weight, make sure that you eat small meals frequently to avoid constipation and heartburn. Try to be mindful of your diet and make sure that you get enough omega-3 fatty acids, especially Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) for healthy development of Junior’s eyes and brain.