33 Weeks Pregnant

What’s happening this week

Your baby…

  • continuing to deposit fat for protection and warmth
  • gaining weight
  • may have a head of hair already
  • may settle into a head-down position over the next few weeks.

You…

  • may find the baby’s kicking more uncomfortable
  • may be slowing down as you cope with the extra weight
  • may feel uncomfortably hot in warm weather
  • are probably looking forward to the pregnancy being over
  • have approximately 1 litre of amniotic fluid.

You can feel quite tired at this stage of pregnancy. After all, growing a baby is hard work. Try to pace yourself, rest when you can, and boost your energy with iron-rich snacks.

Fight tiredness with iron

If your iron levels are low, you may feel very tired indeed. Here are five easy ways to get more iron:

  • Drink orange juice, not tea, with your meals; remember, the tannin in tea prevents the absorbtion of iron
  • Munch a handful of sunflower seeds as a snack; they are high in iron and better for you than crisps!
  • Swap white bread for wholemeal which has more iron in it
  • Try baked beans on toast for an iron-rich snack
  • Fancy something sweet? Try licorice, it’s got iron in it!

Iron tablets can cause constipation, so if you’re taking them and having problems, ask your LMC for an alternative.

Constipation

You may not agree that getting constipated is the worst side effect of pregnancy, but it can make you feel pretty uncomfortable. Hormones relax your muscles so there are fewer contractions to push the food through your system. This allows more water from the food to be absorbed by your body, and makes your stools harder – and harder to pass. Fight constipation with:

  • water: drink plenty of fluids – about two litres of water, unsweetened fruit juice or fruit teas each day. Avoid tea, coffee and alcohol as these push water out of your body
  • fibre: eat high-fibre foods like wholemeal bread, beans, cereals and plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables, especially Kiwifruit
  • exercise: try a brisk walk.

If this remains a problem, ask your LMC for help.

Pre-eclampsia alert

Pre-eclampsia affects about one in ten first pregnancies worldwide. It can be very dangerous for both you and the baby if it’s allowed to progress. Pre-eclampsia is caused by a defect in the placenta and is marked by circulatory disturbances, including high blood pressure in the mother and growth problems in the baby. Your antenatal care team will be on the lookout for signs that this condition is developing so that it can be monitored straight away. High blood pressure, protein in your urine and swelling in your hands, feet or face are signs, when seen together, that your LMC will pick up on.You can be on the alert too. Call your LMC immediately if you notice any of the following:

  • sudden increase in swelling in your hands, feet or face
  • dizziness
  • blurred vision, or lights flashing in front of your eyes
  • severe headaches
  • sudden onset of vomiting

The unkindest cut?

You may be able to avoid an episiotomy during labour (see Week 36) after all. Some women find that massaging the perineum, the area between the vagina and the anus, during pregnancy helps it stretch during delivery so that a tear or episiotomy is avoided. Use vegetable oil to massage and stretch the area – start doing it for about ten minutes every day from about 35 weeks so that you’ve done several weeks of it before you are due!

Let the water take the weight

As you get heavier in the third trimester, you may not feel like doing your usual exercises. Try swimming – you can keep in shape, while the water takes the weight off your joints.

Not what you expected?

When your baby arrives, he or she may be the most beautiful thing you have ever seen, or may seem pretty strange.  Here Lindsay from New Lynn describes how she reacted to her new baby:

“He was a boy, and I’d always thought I’d have a girl, so that was a surprise.  His head was very pointed because I’d had a long labour and it had got moulded during the delivery.  He was bluish, rather than pink, and I wasn’t expecting the umbilical cord to still be in place.  I was nervous about touching the clip on the cord.  His testicles also looked absolutely massive compared to the rest of him – I was quite reassured when the midwife told me he would ‘grow into it’.  He also looked so sweet and vulnerable that my heart went out to him.  I don’t know if this was bonding or not, but I knew that I didn’t want to let him out of my sight’.