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33 Weeks Pregnant: Your Baby’s Development

At this point in your pregnancy, your baby’s brain is working hard, with all five senses working now! She can now hear and even see some of what’s happening outside the womb. When she hears your voice, her heart rate may slow down, meaning she’s more calm, and she’s also able to distinguish light from dark in her small environment. In fact, your baby’s eyes are developed enough that the pupils respond to light changes.

Your little one is still gaining a lot of weight, and she’ll continue to do so until her due date. She probably won’t grow much longer, though.

In addition to these important fetal developments, at 33 weeks pregnant your baby's bones are starting to become harder, although her skull is still soft and flexible enough to allow it to fit through the birth canal. Don’t worry if her head looks a little misshapen at birth, because the soft spots on her skull will fuse together and harden sometime in the first two years of her life.

At some point in the last few weeks of your pregnancy, your healthcare provider will try to determine your baby’s position. If your provider suspects your baby may be in the breech position—meaning either buttocks down or buttocks and feet down—he or she may suggest an ultrasound at 33 weeks pregnant to find out for sure.

So, how many months along are you at 33 weeks pregnant? Take your pick: You could be in month 7 or 8, depending on how the weeks of pregnancy are grouped into months. Learn more about what you can expect during your third trimester.

How Big Is Your Baby at 33 Weeks?

At 33 weeks, your baby is about the size of a pineapple!

 33 weeks pregnant

Mom’s Body at 33 Weeks Pregnant

At this point in your pregnancy, you may find that sleep is eluding you. With your increased size and protruding belly, at 33 weeks pregnant, sleeping through the night may be more difficult. Try to make your bed as comfortable as possible, adding pillows for your legs and abdomen. To feel a little more rested, take daytime naps whenever possible.

Back pain may be getting you down at 33 weeks pregnant. If so, do some gentle back bends to help ease the discomfort: As you stand upright, place your hands on your back and bend slightly backward (about 15 to 20 degrees). Repeat this movement a few times, as needed. Consult your healthcare provider for more information on how to exercise and stretch your back and for other ways to reduce or manage back pain.

33 Weeks Pregnant: Your Symptoms

  • Frequent urination. Your growing baby could be moving deeper into your pelvis, putting some unwelcome pressure on your bladder. This means you’re probably peeing more often by day and by night. This pressure on your bladder can also lead to leakage when you laugh, cough, or sneeze. There’s not much you can do to relieve this symptom, but if you are experiencing bladder leakage, try wearing a panty liner to keep you dry in case of minor accidents. Don't cut back on drinking water, because staying hydrated is especially important. It can be helpful, though, to make sure that you use the bathroom before you leave the house or head into a meeting at work, for example.
  • Braxton Hicks contractions. You’re getting closer to your due date, so those “practice” contractions may be kicking into high gear and getting stronger. If you feel what you think may be true labour contractions, it’s a good idea to time them; typical labour contractions will last up to 90 seconds and will come and go at regular intervals. Braxton Hicks contractions are more likely to occur in the evening and after physical activity like exercise or sex, and they subside when you move or change positions. If you have any doubts about the symptoms you are experiencing at 33 weeks pregnant, contact your healthcare provider immediately.
  • Leg swelling. Your growing uterus can place pressure on the major veins that move blood from your lower body to your heart, which can sometimes lead to swollen legs. If you experience swelling in your legs or feet, avoid standing for long periods. Whenever possible, elevate your feet to help improve circulation. Comfortable shoes and support hose can also help with this.
  • Carpal tunnel syndrome. Swelling can also place pressure on the nerves in your wrists and hands, which leads some moms-to-be to develop carpal tunnel syndrome. This affects the bones and ligaments in the wrist and can cause some discomfort, including numbness or tingling feeling in the hands. This symptom usually subsides after you give birth, and the discomfort should disappear along with the swelling. Wrist braces or splints could help make you more comfortable, and your healthcare provider may have additional advice on what to do.
  • Itchy skin. This is a common symptom that many moms-to-be experience later in pregnancy. Over the past few months, your skin has been expanding across your belly and breasts, and this can cause dryness and irritation. Make sure you’re applying a gentle moisturizer day and night, and if the itchy feeling persists, consider taking a bath with cornstarch to help ease the unpleasant sensation. If it seems like you might have a rash, be sure to mention it to your healthcare provider.
  • Abdominal cramping. At 33 weeks pregnant, cramping can be a sign of preterm labour. Sometimes, but not always, this cramping is accompanied by diarrhea. If you notice either of these symptoms, let your healthcare provider know right away.

33 Weeks Pregnant: Things to Consider

  • With your due date approaching, you may want to investigate some labour and birthing positions that may help make delivering your baby a bit more comfortable. Do some research to find out more about the options that may be available to you, like birthing chairs, stools, balls, or even pools or tubs for labouring in water. Talk to your healthcare provider to find out what your hospital or birthing centre can offer you. Naturally, you won’t know what feels best until you’re actually in labour, but take some time now to explore your choices.
  • Have you packed your hospital bag? Download our hospital bag checklist to make sure you’ve prepared everything you, your birth partner, and your baby will need while in the hospital.
  • If you get around by car, you’ll need an approved car safety seat for when your baby arrives. It needs to be rear-facing, and properly installed in the backseat of your vehicle. If you need help, some local fire departments are able to provide advice on how to install and use car seats for babies at various ages; you can also check out the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration's website to find out how to purchase, install, and use an infant seat.

33 Weeks Pregnant: Ask Your Doctor

  • Do I need to register at the hospital where I’m going to give birth? When and how do I do this?
  • If I think I’m in labour, who should I call? What if it’s after hours?
  • If I think I’m in labour, at what point should I head to the hospital?
  • Are there any tests or scans I need now or in the coming weeks?

33 Weeks Pregnant: Your Checklist

Plot and practice driving the quickest route to the hospital, timing yourself.

Get your baby’s nursery in order and decorated.

Find out more about breastfeeding and what resources are available to you, like classes or support groups.

Sign up for even more pregnancy tips here:

33 Weeks Pregnant: Your Checklist

Sign up for even more pregnancy tips here:

Plot and practice driving the quickest route to the hospital, timing yourself.

Get your baby’s nursery in order and decorated.

Find out more about breastfeeding and what resources are available to you, like classes or support groups.

Sign up for weekly pregnancy tips: