Week 33 – your third trimester

Your bump is probably getting in the way of everything now – sitting down at a table, fitting into the car, cuddling up to your partner, you name it! It's also very hard to judge how big you are, particularly as you're expanding all the time, so allow more space than you think you'll need.

What's happening in my body?

You might be feeling really tired now, which is hardly surprising, as you're carrying around an extra couple of kilos. However, bear in mind that the end is in sight. In around seven weeks, you'll have a beautiful baby.

Your 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 20-30 seconds, before the muscles relax again. It shouldn't hurt. If the contractions become painful or strike at regular intervals, then contact your midwife or hospital, in case you're going into labour.

In the bag: 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.

Put aside:

  • your birth plan and hospital notes
  • clothes and nappies for the baby
  • something loose and comfy to wear during labour
  • spare clothes and underwear
  • nightclothes
  • nursing bras and breast pads
  • super absorbent sanitary pads
  • a washbag and towels
  • healthy snacks
  • any medications

There are more ideas here. Keep the bag by the door, and then every time you pass it, you'll see how organised you are, and will feel a glow of smugness!

Hello, I'm 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:

  • your hospital or midwife's contact number
  • your hospital reference number, which is on your notes - you will be asked for this when you phone in.
  • your partner or birth partner's contact numbers.
  • 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 — it's not safe to drive yourself!

You could also write this information down, and keep it in your handbag, just in case your phone packs up at the crucial moment. Keep some change handy too, as mobile phone usage could be restricted in some areas of your hospital or midwifery unit and you may need to use a payphone.

Third trimester pregnancy symptoms (at 33 weeks)

You may start to feel like something's weighing down on your pelvis… and there's no prizes for guessing what that is! The heavy feeling can be a sign that your baby's in the head down position, all ready for birth.

Your signs of pregnancy could also include:

Tommy's the baby charity has produced a pregnancy guide with a further list of symptoms.

What does my baby look like?

Your baby, or foetus, is around 43.7cm long from head to heel, and weighs about 1.9kg. That's approximately the size of Swiss chard and the weight of a laptop computer.

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.

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Action stations

Have you thought about how you're going to bring your baby home? You'll need a car seat and ideally you should buy a new one, so that you know it hasn't been in an accident that could make it unsafe, even if it looks in perfect condition. It's far too dangerous to carry the baby in your arms and it's also illegal.

Car seats can be fiddly to start with, so practice strapping it into place, and then removing it. You won't want to be looking at the instruction book when you've got your baby with you!

There are more tips on what to buy.

This week you could also...

You have maternity rights and if you're worried about your safety at work, then talk to your employer. You shouldn't be lugging anything around, and you may need extra breaks and somewhere to sit. You can also attend antenatal appointments during paid work time.

It’s a good time to tone up those muscles ‘down under’. Gentle exercisesAntenatal classes can help to prevent leakage when you laugh, sneeze, cough or jump around on your future baby’s trampoline. Get the muscles going by pretending that you’re having a wee and then stop the ‘urine’ in midflow.

Attend antenatal classes to prepare you for the birth and beyond. If possible, ask your partner to come with you. Even if you’ve had children before, and been there, done that, they’re still worth going to as you can meet other parents. Also don’t expect this pregnancy to be just like your others - your baby could have other plans.

Do your best to stop smoking, give up alcohol and go easy on the cappuccinos. We know that’s easy to say, but hard to do. Ask your midwife or GP for support.

During the winter, consider taking a daily dose of the sunshine vitamin, Vitamin D. Find out if you’re entitled to free vitamins.

Get ”>moving! It’s recommended that pregnant women do 150 minutes of exercise throughout the week. Perhaps take a brisk walk in the park, or go for a swim. If you start any classes, make sure the instructor knows that you’re pregnant. Don’t overdo it though - listen to your body.

Have a fit pregnancy and sign up for a free personal activity plan.

Don’t eat for two! Eat for you. Now you’re in the third trimester, you may need an extra 200 calories a day, but that’s not much. It’s about the same as two slices of wholemeal toast and margarine.

Try to eat healthily with plenty of fresh fruit and veg, and avoid processed, fatty and salty foods. You may be able to get free milk, fruit and veg through the Healthy Start scheme.

How are you today? If you’re feeling anxious or low, then talk to your midwife or doctor 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 bottle it up – you’re important, so ask for help if you need it!

Getting pregnant again is probably the last thing on your mind! However now is a good time to start planning what type of contraception you would like to use after your baby is born. Making this decision when you’re pregnant will give you one less thing to think about when you’re looking after a newborn baby. 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 and get everything in place.

This week's treat

Ask your partner or a friend to take some photos of you, showing off your baby bump. It may seem embarrassing now, but you'll treasure the pictures in the years to come – and your baby will love to see them too, one day!

Go back to week 32

Go to week 34

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