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33 Weeks Pregnant


Image: Fetal Development At 33 Weeks

Your little one may have a full head of hair by now! Some babies are born with thick hair but this doesn’t guarantee it will stay thick as they grow up. On the other hand, babies born with just a few little wisps tend to have fine hair throughout life.

By this point, your baby is likely to have settled in a particular position – in most cases cephalic (head down). Having said that, if yours is still headface up, not to worry, there’s still time. There are exercises you can do to help encourage your little one to turn, so ask your midwife.

By now your baby’s rhythms of sleep and waking are probably pretty regular. Sometimes she will be in high-brain activity REM sleep, where she may even be dreaming! More often though, she will be all tucked up in a calm non-REM sleep. Ahhh.

Did you know that half the weight you’re gaining right now goes directly to your baby? Phew! As we speak, she’s filling out and her skin is getting plumper and healthier-looking. Having said that, most babies tend to look a little bit wrinkled when they’re born, but this disappears as they begin to plump out in the big wide world.

Make sure you’re eating well right now as your baby is drawing thick and fast on your nutritional reserves. If you’re struggling with large meals then why not try eating little and often? Remember to keep your iron levels topped up with iron-enriched cereals, wholemeal bread, dark green veg (a great source), or even dried apricots.

Believe it or not, it’s not too late to start exercising in pregnancy if you haven’t before. You might want to try out some pregnancy yoga classes as they can be great for loosening you up in preparation for the birth. Just remember to go easy – never push yourself if it doesn’t feel right.

Feeling the itch? It’s common for women’s skin to feel very irritated at this point in pregnancy and there are things you can do. Remember that any soothing products you use must be pregnancy-friendly. And if the itching seems too severe then have a chat with your midwife – in rare cases it can be a sign of a liver condition called obstetric cholestasis.
I can’t decide where to give birth…
Home birth has been getting a lot of press over recent years, as there are a growing number of mums-to-be going back to it. However the overwhelming majority of women (about 97%) give birth in a hospital or birthing centre of some sort.

Cities tend to have a few available hospitals to choose from, but if you live in the countryside your options may be more limited. Having said that, there are likely to be local, small midwife-run units or a larger consultant-led unit in your nearest city or town.

You may find that when you talk to friends and family, people have strong opinions about birth choices. Some may embrace the idea of a home birth and favour a more natural approach. Others may insist you’ll end up at the hospital anyway or worry about available care at home. This sort of thing may leave you confused, so we’ve put together a little list of pros and cons for each option.

Potential benefits and drawbacks of home births and hospital births

  • At home you’ll be in familiar surroundings, with the freedom to boss your partner about and tell him exactly when to feed you (etc)!
  • At home you’ll have your own resources to order – for example if you want particular music
  • Many hospitals have restrictions on the number of birth partners you can have in the room (usually 2) and at home you can have as many as you want.Although in truth you’re unlikely to want a crowd.
  • Certain types of anaesthetic can only be administered by an anesthetist (for example epidural). Your pain relief options will be limited at home. You may have to uproot yourself in the middle of labour if you find you need stronger pain relief.
  • If there are any complications with the birth then you will have to go to hospital, which again would mean you’d be uprooted in the middle of labour
  • Many women find they feel safer, more reassured and therefore calmer in a hospital with every possible resource to hand

Planning is the key, but be flexible too!
Whether you choose to give birth at home or in a hospital, the key is to plan ahead and decide what sort of atmosphere and resources are important to you. You can create a birth plan to keep with your notes.

Find out about the resources at hospitals in your area. For example you might want to use a birth pool to help you relax. You might want to know that there’s an epidural on hand if you need one (and not all hospitals offer them 24 hours). If there are any routine procedures you object to or drugs you don’t like the sound of (for example syntocinon, which is commonly used to assist with delivering the placenta), it’s your right to say so.

Try not to feel pressured by the advice of friends or family. It’s your baby, your birth, your choices.

At the same time, be prepared to be flexible – until your waters break and the pain comes, you just can’t be sure.

Possible Scan at Week 33
A 3D Ultrasound is a special scan that shows the baby in three dimensions. This forms part of a 4D Scan. The 4D Scan has the additional dimension of time so that you see a moving image.

Many parents choose to have a scan in 3/4D because they’re curious to see their baby’s face and find that it really enhances the bond with their little one. Parents often find it reassuring, not to mention exciting – especially the prospect of showing their child a moving image of themselves in the womb in later years.

Possible Scan at Week 33
The purpose of a Well-being Scan is to check that the baby is growing well and that the pregnancy is developing normally. You may want to have this scan if your baby has been moving less, if you have had unusual tummy pains, light bleeding or if you have had some kind of accident (for example on the road or in a fall).

A Wellbeing Scan is particularly important if you have had pregnancy complications or problems in a previous pregnancy. This scan is usually only offered by the NHS if there is a complication with the pregnancy.

Possible Scan at Week 33
A Sexing Scan (also sometimes called a Gender Identification Scan) can be performed to find out the sex of your baby at this stage.

The baby will also be measured and your medical professional will assess his or her wellbeing. Sexing scans are highly reliable but can be more difficult if a woman is very overweight, or if the baby is in an unfavourable position.

Gender Scan or Sexing Scan

Gender Scan (Boy) Picture (Click image to enlarge)

Generally, if a healthcare professional is unsure about the sex of your baby they won’t guess. But thankfully it’s very unusual to be unable to determine the sex of the baby.