At 33 weeks, you are well into your third trimester of pregnancy 1. The excitement is building, but so is the discomfort. Fortunately, you have less than two months until you reach the 40-week mark. Chances are high you are even feeling a few kicks from your baby, whose rapidly developing body is almost ready for the outside world.
Your Baby's Appearance
At 33 weeks your developing baby is likely to be about 17 inches long and weigh a little more than 4 pounds, according to Pregnancy.org 1. She is also taking on the characteristic baby pudginess, according to BabyCentre UK, as fat builds up under the skin. The baby's eyelids now open at times. The downy hair called lanugo that has covered your baby's skin starts to disappear.
Your Baby's Internal Development
The baby's bones are hardening throughout the body except for the skull, which remains pliable and does not fully fuse -- thus allowing the head to more easily pass through the birth canal when the time is right. If your baby is a boy, his testes are starting their descent from his abdomen to his scrotum, according to Pregnancy.org.
Your Baby's Actions
As your pregnancy enters its final weeks, your baby is developing some of the abilities she will need to survive outside the womb 1. The lungs are getting ready work. Periodically, according to Pregnancy.org, she takes a deep breath -- not of air, but of water -- as oxygen still comes from the placenta at this stage. As neurons and synapses build in the brain, your baby may even be practicing swallowing and sucking.
What This Stage Is For You
By this stage of pregnancy, your baby has grown large enough to cause you some serious aches and pains. Finding a comfortable way to sit can be difficult, and sleeping can be a challenge, too. Your walk may turn into a waddle. By the end of each day, your feet and ankles might be swollen considerably. And you might experience numbness and aching in your hands, fingers and wrists, according to BabyCenter 1. Tissues sometimes retain enough fluid to press on the nerves within the carpal tunnel area. A splint can help this temporary condition.
Of babies born at 32 or 33 weeks in the United States, 98 percent survive, according to the March of Dimes 2. Some can breathe and feed on their own, but others need supplemental oxygen and a feeding tube. In the long term, they have a higher risk than full-term babies of learning and behavioral problems. "A baby born seven weeks early is significantly smaller than one at full term, since weight gain is concentrated in those last weeks in utero," says Dr. Karen Sadler, a pediatrician in the Boston area in her article on BabyZone. "Infants this age can be sluggish feeders, capable of taking only very small amounts at a feed and using a lot of their energy to do so, so postnatal weight gain can be an issue."
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