What's happening in my body?
Your uterus (womb) could start preparing for the birth with Braxton Hicks contractions, which are sometimes referred to as practice contractions.
These can feel like a tightening over your bump for 20 to 30 seconds, before the muscles relax again.
It shouldn't hurt, but if the contractions become painful or begin to happen at regular intervals, contact your midwife or hospital, in case you're going into labour.
Preparing for the birth
Babies do things in their own time, and only 1 in 20 will arrive on their due date.
It might be a good idea to get a bag packed now, so that you're all ready to go if your baby decides to make an early appearance.
Get the following things ready:
- your birth plan and hospital notes
- clothes and nappies for the baby
- something loose and comfy to wear during labour
- spare clothes and underwear
- nursing bras and breast pads
- super absorbent sanitary pads
- a wash bag and towels
- healthy snacks
- any medicines
See what else you should take with our hospital bag checklist.
Group B strep
Group B strep is a common bacteria, which up to 2 in 5 people have living in their body.
If you carry group B strep while you're pregnant, there's a small risk it could make your baby seriously ill. Most group B strep infections in newborn babies are preventable.
For more information talk to your midwife, or visit the Group B Strep Support website.
Getting in touch with people when you're in labour
If you're giving birth at a hospital or midwifery unit, then you're going to need to make a couple of phone calls when you go into labour.
Make sure you've got the following information stored in your mobile phone:
- a contact number for your midwife or hospital
- your hospital reference number (if you have one) – you may be asked for this when you phone
- a contact number for your partner or birth partner
- the full address of where you're going, in case you go blank when the time comes
- a taxi firm or contact number for someone who'll take you there – as it's not safe to drive yourself
You could also write this information down, and keep it in your bag, just in case your phone runs out of battery.
Keep some change handy too, in case you need to use the payphone.
3rd trimester pregnancy symptoms (at 33 weeks)
You may start to feel like something's weighing down on your pelvis. This heavy feeling can be a sign that your baby is in the head down position, ready for birth.
Your signs of pregnancy could also include:
- painless contractions around your bump, known as Braxton Hicks contractions
- sleeping problems (week 19 has information on feeling tired)
- stretch marks (week 17 has information on stretch marks)
- swollen and bleeding gums (week 13 has information on gum health during pregnancy)
- pains on the side of your baby bump, caused by your expanding womb ("round ligament pains")
- piles (week 22 has information on piles)
- indigestion and heartburn (week 25 has information on digestive problems)
- bloating and constipation (week 10 has information on bloating)
- leg cramps (week 20 has information on how to deal with cramp)
- feeling hot
- swollen hands and feet
- urine infections
- vaginal infections (week 15 has information on vaginal health)
- darkened skin on your face or brown patches – this is known as chloasma or the "mask of pregnancy"
- greasier, spotty skin
- thicker and shinier hair
You may also experience symptoms from earlier weeks, such as:
- mood swings (week 8 has information on mood swings)
- morning sickness (week 6 has information on dealing with morning sickness)
- weird pregnancy cravings (week 5 has information on pregnancy cravings)
- a heightened sense of smell
- sore or leaky breasts (week 14 has information on breast pain) – a white milky pregnancy discharge from your vagina and light spotting (seek medical advice for any bleeding)
What does my baby look like?
Your baby, or foetus, is around 43.7cm long from head to heel. That's approximately the size of a pineapple.
Your baby's brain and nervous system are now fully developed.
The bones are hardening up, apart from the skull bones, which will stay soft and separated until the baby's around 12 to 18 months old. Having this slight flexibility with the head makes the journey down the birth canal a bit easier.
Have you thought about how you're going to bring your baby home?
You'll need a car seat. Ideally you should buy a new one, so you'll know for sure that it has never been damaged before.
It's far too dangerous to carry the baby in your arms, and it is also illegal.
Car seats can be fiddly to start with, so practise strapping it into place, and then removing it.
This week you could also...
Talk to your work
You have maternity rights. You can ask for a risk assessment of your work place to ensure that you're working in a safe environment.
You should not be lifting heavy things and you may need extra breaks and somewhere to sit.
You can also attend antenatal appointments during paid work time.
Start doing pelvic floor exercises
It's a good time to tone up your pelvic floor muscles. Gentle exercises can help to prevent leakage when you laugh, sneeze or cough.
Get the muscles going by pretending that you're having a pee and then stopping midflow.
Ask your midwife or doctor about online antenatal classes – they may be able to recommend one. The charity Tommy's has lots of useful information on antenatal classes and preparing you for birth.
Ask your partner if they would like to take part in the antenatal classes. Even if you've had children before, antenatal classes are still worth going to as you can meet other parents-to-be.
The NCT offers online antenatal classes with small groups of people that live locally to you.
Smoking, drinking and caffeine in pregnancy
Do your best to stop smoking and give up alcohol, and go easy on the tea, coffee and anything else with caffeine.
Ask your midwife or GP for support.
Vitamins in pregnancy
To keep bones and muscles healthy, we need vitamin D.
From late March/early April to the end of September, most people make enough vitamin D from sunlight on their skin. However, between October and early March, you should consider taking a daily vitamin D supplement because we cannot make enough from sunlight.
Some people should take a vitamin D supplement all year round, find out if this applies to you on the NHS website.
You just need 10 micrograms daily (it's the same for grown-ups and kids). Check if you're entitled to free vitamins.
Exercising in pregnancy
It's recommended that you do 150 minutes of exercise a week while pregnant.
You could start off with just 10 minutes of daily exercise – perhaps take a brisk walk outside. Check out Sport England's #StayInWorkOut online exercises (scroll to the pregnancy section).
Listen to your body and do what feels right for you.
There's no need to eat for 2.
Now you're in the 3rd trimester, you may need an extra 200 calories a day, but that's not much. It's about the same as 2 slices of wholemeal toast with margarine.
You just need to eat healthily, with plenty of fresh fruit and veg, and avoid processed, fatty and salty foods. Have a look at our guide to healthy eating in pregnancy.
You may be able to get free milk, fruit and veg through the Healthy Start scheme.
Emotional and mental wellbeing
How are you today?
If you're feeling anxious or low, talk to your doctor or midwife who can point you in the right direction to get all the support that you need. You could also discuss your worries with your partner, friends and family.
You may be worried about your relationship, or money, or having somewhere permanent to live.
Don't keep it to yourself – it's important that you ask for help if you need it.
Getting pregnant again is probably the last thing on your mind right now. However, now is a good time to start planning what type of contraception you would like to use after your baby is born.
Getting pregnant again could happen sooner than you realise, and too short a gap between babies is known to cause problems.
Talk to your GP or midwife to help you decide.
Talk to your midwife about newborn screening
You will be offered newborn screening tests for your baby soon after they are born.
These screening tests are recommended by the NHS because they can make sure your baby is given appropriate treatment if needed.
Your decisions about whether or not you want these screening tests will be respected, and healthcare professionals will support you.
Ask your midwife or doctor for more information about newborn screening.
You and your family should follow the government and NHS guidance on COVID-19:
To find out about COVID-19 and pregnancy, childbirth and breastfeeding, have a look at advice on the: