It’s getting harder to forget you are pregnant now. Frequent niggles and pains, kicks and prods mean you are constantly being reminded that there is a baby in there. This causes some women to feel like an incubator, the sheer physical nature of their pregnancy making it all a little too much to enjoy. Societies view of pregnancy being ultra feminine and lovely doesn’t always match with the reality. Many women see their pregnancy as a means to an end, a necessary process in order to get their baby at the end of the forty weeks. Your attitude towards being pregnant is not an indication of how you will feel about your baby once it is born. Try not to worry if you aren’t enjoying every minute of being pregnant. This is a common experience for many women, but one which isn’t talked about too often.
If this is your first pregnancy, you’ll have the benefits of being able to focus on yourself and your partner. But if you’ve got other children to care for, your opportunity to rest and ponder will be limited. Try to take some quiet time each day to just “be in the moment” and not think about what the future holds for you. This can be such a busy time with organising and planning that days can go by without any real appreciation for them. When you can, just sit, breathe, relax and be still. Both you and your baby will benefit.
Your physical changes this week
- You may find yourself having some urinary leakage aka “incontinence” around this stage of your pregnancy. This is more common in women who’ve been pregnant before. When you laugh, sneeze, cough or lift something heavy, a small amount of urine may leak out of your bladder. This is a common problem towards the end of pregnancy. Some women need to wear a light pad inside their underpants to avoid embarrassment. Doing pelvic floor exercises will help strengthen the muscles, which support your bladder.
- If you normally wear contact lenses, you may be finding them even more irritating by now. Fluid retention and changes to the shape of your eye will mean they don’t fit as comfortably as they used to. Many women revert to wearing glasses until after their baby is born and their eyes return to normal. Avoid getting a new prescription for glasses and contacts at this stage of your pregnancy. Your eyes are going through a transitional stage and an assessment of your vision now, will not give an accurate reflection of your sight.
- Heartburn, your old friend can make its presence felt again right now. The baby is pushing your stomach and intestines up and out of their normal positions. This means you don’t have the luxury of being able to digest your meals comfortably. Some foods will make indigestion and heartburn worse and cause you more than a little regret. Spicy, hot, large meals are the worst culprits so avoid temptation and go for what you know is safe. Check with your doctor or pharmacist about safe antacids which can be used in pregnancy. Milk, yoghurt, custard and cheese can help to settle heartburn.
- More Braxton Hick’s Contractions at 33 weeks of pregnancy. These painless uterine contractions are a nature’s way of providing a practice session for the real thing. They will also help to create a surge of oxygenated blood to the placenta. Unless they are accompanied by pain, become regular or you are losing fluid from your vagina as well, don’t be concerned. A simple change of position or warm shower can often help them to settle.
Your emotional changes this week
- Mood swings may cause you to feel emotionally unstable this week. You could be feeling fed up with your body shape and a little over being pregnant. Look for things that give you pleasure and tell your partner how you feel. Other women can be a source of great emotional support and understanding. Pick up the phone or email someone you know who cares about you and who will listen without judgment.
- If you’re experiencing insomnia this won’t help your mood swings. Try to stick with a regular bedtime and pre-bed ritual where your body knows it is winding down for the day. Avoid drinking caffeine or eating chocolate in the afternoons and evenings and don’t exercise past 4pm. If you are still working, aim for a simple home life where you don’t place too many demands upon yourself.
Your baby’s changes this week
- Your baby’s lungs are maturing even more in week 33. If your baby were born now, it is likely to need some support to help it breathe, but perhaps not. Their own little body is producing surfactant which will help their airways to stay open and not collapse. If you were admitted to hospital with threatened premature labour this week, you would most likely be given an injection of cortisone which would help their lungs to mature.
- The amniotic fluid which is surrounding your baby is peaking in volume around now. There is about 1 litre of it, creating a warm, sterile bath for your baby to float around in. The amount of amniotic fluid is a sign of how well your baby’s kidneys are working. They should be producing around 500ml/day at this stage of your pregnancy.
Tips for Week 33
- Aim to put some money aside each week which will help balance your household budget after the baby is born. Becoming financially dependent can be a big change for many women, who’ve always prided themselves on being able to contribute to the family income. It is easy to buy things for the baby but many times, mothers miss out. It is important to treat yourself every now and then and have a little “stash of cash”. This is something most mothers are glad of in those moments when money is tight.
- Develop an awareness of your baby’s cycles of activity and rest. If there are changes, you are the best person to know what is normal in terms of your baby’s movements. Space has become tight in your uterus so there is probably less of the tumbling and turning going on which was so frequent earlier in your pregnancy. Kicks from strong feet, feeling an elbow high in your ribs or a sharp boot into your bladder will all become part of the every day for you. Take some time to enjoy your baby’s movements. Hard as it may be to understand now, many women say they miss the sensation of having their baby moving around inside them after the baby is born.