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1st trimester

2nd trimester

3rd trimester

33 weeks pregnant


Your baby at 33 weeks

Baby at 33 weeks pregnant

Your baby is developing a firm handshake and getting ready to look you in the eye when she's born. Her vision is limited at first because she has to learn how to adjust the lens in her eye to focus on near and far objects properly. She's still putting on weight, but not so rapidly as she realises space is at a premium.

  • By week 33 your baby is likely to have shifted so that she's lying in the head-down position. Her head will be in your pelvis and her legs up against your ribs. In first pregnancies this happens earlier when you still have abdominal muscles to direct your baby - in later pregnancies your baby may be swimming around slightly longer. This head-down position gives you more room to breathe as there is less pressure on your diaphragm, but you may still feel short of breath.
  • The amniotic fluid your baby swallows helps develop her gut and bowels: it contains up 10-15% of the protein your baby needs for growing them. Your baby's bowels will take a while to develop. Other organs like the liver also take a while to mature. At birth, your baby's liver may struggle to break down a substance called bilirubin (some of which the body makes naturally - it's the stuff that in high levels makes babies look a bit yellow).
  • Your baby has learnt to suck - something she will rely on for months after she is born - and her sucking ability is already incredibly strong.
  • Her heart rate has been slowing down from its original gallop in week 20 to a more sedate average of 142 beats a minute. It speeds up when she moves her arms or legs and seems to peak between 8am and 10am and slow down between 2am and 6am.
  • She may be developing a taste for specific foods. If you want to share a curry with her sooner rather than later, you should eat some spicy foods now as they filter into the amniotic fluid and may get her used to them. During this last trimester she will be swallowing up to a litre of amniotic fluid a day.

Your body at 33 weeks pregnant

Insomnia It can feel impossible to get to sleep in your third trimester. You may struggle to find a comfortable position in bed. Your abdomen may feel relentlessly heavy. Just as you get comfortable you'll find your baby will shift position and you'll have to start all over again. Then your bladder will feel full and you'll be waddling off to the toilet. You may find that when you're quiet in bed your mind is working overtime.

You need to have a nap or lie down for an hour in the day whenever you can. Gradually relax before you go to bed and make sure your room is as comfortable and dark and quiet as possible.

Stress and work While you're pregnant you're bound to read something about stress being harmful to unborn babies. Some studies also find work can affect babies, for example research showed teachers and others who stand a lot at work had babies who weighed on average 500g less than women who did not have these types of job.

If you're stressed or have a job that means you stand there may be little you can do about it. But any effect on your baby will be small and if you can compensate by sitting down with your feet up whenever you can and trying to avoid being stressed then this will help. You should also tell your antenatal team if you're worried or finding work too much.

Emotions You may find you cry at the slightest thing. A news item about a child dying will make you sob uncontrollably. Pregnancy seems to trigger a deeper response to these things and to preserve your sanity you may want to avoid tragic stories. You may also be generally anxious about whether your baby will be healthy and how you will cope.

Antenatal classes are helpful at relieving these anxieties. So is chatting things through with other pregnant women on Mumsnet Talk.

Dreams It's common to get strange and very vivid dreams in pregnancy that can be upsetting and feel incredibly real. But they aren't. They can be sexual or involve the death or illness of children or babies, but they don't mean anything. They are entirely normal and the fact that your sleep is interrupted means you are more likely to recall them. 



Pregnancy Encyclopedia book coverIllustrations taken from The Pregnancy Encyclopedia, £25, published by DK.

Disclaimer: The information in the pregnancy calendar is for general information and is not intended as a substitute for the medical advice of your own doctor or antenatal team. Not all babies develop at the same time and in the same way, so this week-by-week guide may not always match your own experience. If you have any worries, consult your antenatal team or GP.

Last updated: 3 months ago