Your baby has grown incredibly over the past 33 weeks. What started out as little flutter movements have now become hard kicks and punches. She is perfectly formed, proportioned and looks like a newborn. Her lungs are still maturing. But at 33 weeks, she is proactive in developing her breathing skills. Her heart tones and position will be checked at each prenatal appointment from now until delivery.
At 33 weeks, your baby weighs approximately 3 to 4 pounds and is anywhere from 16 to 18 inches long measuring crown to rump length. She continues to grow quickly and packs on brown fat from now until the birth. Her weight and size make moving around your abdomen a bit less roomy. This means that you will probably start feeling bigger movements like rolling instead of just tiny kicks and punches.
Large deposits of fat are accumulating under your baby’s skin which gives him a plumper and pink look, provides energy and will help regulate his body temperature after the birth. The fine lanugo hair that once covered his entire body is now growing very thin. He may still have some lanugo when born, but it will fall off soon after the birth. He is covered with a white, cheesy substance called vernix which helps protect his skin from his aquatic environment. His fingernails easily reach the ends of his fingers and may need to be cut shortly after the birth to prevent him from scratching.
Your baby is quite aware of the outside world and may respond to voices or music. If a bright light is pointed toward your belly, her pupils may actually dilate and contract as a response. She gets the hiccups often and you may feel these as continuous rhythmic jerks in one spot. She swallows amniotic fluid to help prepare her lungs for breathing, and excretes approximately one pint of amniotic fluid daily. Her lungs are still developing so that she can breathe without assistance after birth.
The goal is to keep your baby nice and snug inside of you until 37 weeks. Therefore, you should be watchful of premature labor signs which include: regular contractions, rupturing of the amniotic sac, bleeding from the vagina, low back or abdominal pain, or a possible infection. If you experience any of these symptoms, you should contact your health care provider immediately. The most common reason women experience premature labor is because of dehydration. Dehydration can cause painful contractions. Make sure you drink enough fluids to stay hydrated during your pregnancy, especially during the warmer months.
By 33 weeks, many babies are in the head down position. However, some babies are more comfortable in the breech position, which means that their rump is sitting in the pelvis instead of the head. If your baby is breech at 33 weeks, it’s important to remember that she still has time to turn around. You can try encouraging her to turn around by using imagery, light, sound or herbs and homeopathics. If you want to use herbs or homeopathics, it is wise to consult a herbalist or homeopathic practitioner to assist you. Your doctor may also recommend that you see a chiropractor who is skilled in the Webster technique, a technique used for turning breech babies. Any of these techniques can help her flip around into a vertex or head down position, but it’s up to her whether or not she wants to stay in the birth position.