33 weeks 


Highlights this week

More prenatal visits

These days, you may feel like your doctor or midwife has a revolving door. Third-trimester prenatal visits are frequent – and if you're having a high-risk pregnancy, you may see your provider even more often.

What happens after birth

Find out what to expect in the minutes and hours after your baby arrives.

Is that pee?

For most women, the amniotic sac doesn't rupture until right before labor starts, or during labor. But you may want to know what it feels like (and looks like) when your water breaks.

Baby development at 33 weeks

Skull flexibility

The bones in your baby's skull aren't fused together, which allows them to move and slightly overlap. This makes it easier for your baby to fit through the birth canal (the channel formed by your cervix, vagina, and vulva). The pressure on their head during birth is so intense that many babies are born with a pointy head! The skull bones don't entirely fuse until early adulthood, so they can grow as your baby's brain and other tissue expands during infancy and childhood.

Your baby's skin

Your little one is rapidly losing that wrinkled look. Their baby skin is less red and transparent – it's becoming soft and smooth as your little one plumps up in preparation for birth.

Baby movement

It's getting snug in your womb, so your baby isn't doing as many somersaults, but the amount of movement you feel should remain about the same. After your baby moves to a head-down position in preparation for birth, you may feel kicks in new places, like underneath your ribs on one side or the other.

baby with skin that is less red and see-through
Your baby at 33 weeks
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Your baby is about the size of a pineapple

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head to toe
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Pregnancy symptoms during week 33

Trouble sleeping

Finding an easy position to sit in – let alone sleep in – is becoming more of a challenge. If you're sleeping less or dealing with insomnia during pregnancy, you're not alone. Difficulty getting enough rest is a common complaint during the last few months before giving birth.

Physical discomfort is one of the biggest reasons for poor sleep in late pregnancy. Your belly is large, and your body may hurt from the added weight, stretching ligaments, and swelling. If you haven't already, finding a good pregnancy pillow could make it easier to settle in for some shut-eye.

Feeling anxious can make it difficult to sleep, too. If worries about your baby's birth or anything else are keeping you up, talk with your provider. They might suggest seeing a therapist or trying other solutions so you can get the rest you need.

Wrist pain

If you're feeling some achiness and even numbness in your fingers, wrists, and hands, you may have carpal tunnel syndrome. It happens when the median nerve – a major nerve in the hand that travels through the wrist and arm – is squeezed or compressed. You're more prone to it during pregnancy because of swelling in your hands and wrists.

Carpal tunnel syndrome in pregnancy can start any time, but it's more likely to begin or worsen during the second or third trimester – when swelling typically develops.

To relieve discomfort, try to identify the activities that tend to cause or aggravate carpal tunnel syndrome for you, and limit them as much as you can (especially activities where your wrist is in the same position for a long time).

Whenever possible, cut back on movements that cause you pain. If these are required for your job, talk with your doctor or midwife, who may be able to help you get accommodations at work. They may also recommend pain medication and occupational therapy to strengthen your wrists.

Swollen labia

Swollen labia are a normal – if surprising – symptom during pregnancy. Increased blood flow, combined with added pressure from your growing uterus and hormonal changes, contribute to swelling in the lips that surround the opening of the vagina. While this swelling isn't always painful, it might cause itching and soreness. The skin of your labia may also appear darker.

It's difficult to prevent swollen labia, but you can manage your discomfort by avoiding sitting or standing for too long. Instead, change positions frequently throughout the day. Take time off your feet, but get some gentle movement in, too. You can also wear a supportive undergarment that has compression to keep swelling under control. If you're especially uncomfortable, apply a cold pack covered in cloth to the area.

Frequent urination

Most women experience frequent urination during pregnancy. This normal pregnancy symptom intensifies during the third trimester, as your growing uterus pushes on your bladder.

While there's nothing harmful about frequent urination, it can be uncomfortable – and it's inconvenient to make frequent trips to the bathroom. Plus, it's hard to get good sleep when you're waking up constantly to pee.

To get relief, scale back on beverages as bedtime approaches. Additionally, skipping coffee and soda might help lessen your need to pee. Taking your time when urinating – and ensuring you're emptying your bladder completely – can help as well. (One trick: Lean forward as you finish peeing to get as much urine out as possible.)

If you're also experiencing urinary incontinence, make sure to use the restroom as soon as your body signals your need to pee, and consider wearing panty liners as extra protection in case you leak.

Shortness of breath

It's typical to have some shortness of breath now, as your growing uterus puts pressure on your diaphragm and pushes up against your lungs. If your blood pressure is higher than normal or if you have excessive amniotic fluid, this can cause shortness of breath, too.

Some mild to moderate shortness of breath is normal in late pregnancy, but if your symptoms are more severe, reach out to your doctor or midwife. If you're having trouble breathing or have a persistent cough or rapid pulse, this could signal a serious health condition that requires medical attention.

Pregnancy brain

If you're feeling forgetful, it makes sense: You've got a lot on your mind, and you may not be getting very good sleep. Stress and fatigue can interfere with your ability to concentrate.

While "pregnancy brain" isn't a proven side effect of pregnancy, many moms-to-be report feeling more fuzzy-headed in late pregnancy.

Now's the time to take it easy on yourself, so don't beat yourself up if you're missing appointments or forgetting tasks. Instead, consider making a few changes like setting alarms as reminders, asking your partner to take on more of the mental load, and taking notes to remember important information. Getting as much rest as possible and simplifying your to-do list may also help decrease symptoms of so-called pregnancy brain.

Don't see your symptom?

Wondering about a symptom you have? Find it on our pregnancy symptoms page.

current state of pregnancy, rolling over in bed counts as exercise
baby in womb at 33 weeks pressing on bladder
Your body at 33 weeks
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Pregnancy checklist at 33 weeks

Think about grandparent names

You can always go with "Grandma" and "Grandpa," but there are plenty of other names for grandparents that your parents and in-laws may want to go by. There's a lot to consider when you're choosing grandparent names, such as culture and family traditions.

Check in with the grandparents, as they may have their own input on what your little one will call them once they learn to talk. If you and the grandparents are stumped for ideas, you could always put this decision off and let your child come up with their own nickname for Grandma and Grandpa when they're ready.

Do kick counts

Choose a time of day when your baby tends to be active. To do kick counts, sit quietly or lie on your side and time how long it takes for you to feel 10 distinct fetal movements (kicks, twitches, and rolls all count). Call your provider if you don't feel at least 10 movements within two hours. There may be nothing wrong, but your provider may want to run some tests to make sure.

Make sure you're stocked on baby clothes

Newborns don't do a lot, but they do go through a lot of clothes. Spit up and diaper leaks are frequent during the early weeks, so you'll need plenty of comfy sleepers, gowns, and pajamas, as well as a few simple outfits and accessories.

Fancy coming-home outfits and special-occasion clothes are nice to have for pictures, but for everyday life you'll need durable clothes that can handle any messy situation. Dress your newborn in clothes that are convenient for diaper changes. Skip outfits that don't have snaps at the crotch!

Have enough sleepers on hand to get you through a week, plus a few extras, along with easy outfits that allow layering (such as a bodysuit paired with easy-to-pull-on pants). To keep warm, babies need one extra layer than you do.

Depending on the season, you may need socks or booties to keep your newborn's feet toasty, a fleece jacket or sweater, or a sun hat. Once you're stocked up, run a load of laundry. You'll want to wash everything before your baby wears it for the first time to remove any irritants or chemicals in the fabric.

Childproof your baby's nursery

Your baby won't be moving in for a while, but it's never too early to childproof your baby's nursery. You'll be occupied during the first months of your baby's life, and you'll be glad you got a head start on this important task.

Start with the basics. Make sure your crib is safe, and avoid dangerous, outdated cribs and crib bumpers. If you're adding artwork to your baby's room, don't hang it over the crib or changing table. If you use a mobile, make sure it's out of reach and secure so it doesn't fall into your baby's crib. Anchor heavy furniture to the wall, move cords out of reach, and install outlet protectors.

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33 weeks pregnant bellies

Thanks to hormonal changes, your hair may appear thicker or grow more quickly during pregnancy. While this is great for the hair on your head, some moms-to-be notice an unwelcome increase in body and facial hair, too.

There's no reason to shave or wax body hair if you don't want to, but if you prefer less hair on your body, you may be wondering if it's safe to get a bikini wax while pregnant.

It's safe to wax while pregnant, but your skin might be more sensitive than normal. To decrease irritation, try waiting until your hair is between one-fourth and three-fourths an inch long, cleaning the area before waxing, and keeping the wax at a safe temperature.

Once you're close to your due date, don't wax or shave your bikini area or lower abdomen in case you need a C-section. Shaving or waxing this area before surgery can irritate the hair follicles and increase the risk of infection.

33 weeks pregnant bellies

This week's video



BabyCenter's editorial team is committed to providing the most helpful and trustworthy pregnancy and parenting information in the world. When creating and updating content, we rely on credible sources: respected health organizations, professional groups of doctors and other experts, and published studies in peer-reviewed journals. We believe you should always know the source of the information you're seeing. Learn more about our editorial and medical review policies.

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Hadlock FP et al. 1991. In utero analysis of fetal growth: A sonographic weight standard. Radiology 181 (1). a new window [Accessed October 2022]

Hadlock FP et al. 1992. Fetal cross-rump length: Reevaluation of relation to menstrual age (5-18 weeks) with high-resolution real-time US. Radiology 182: 5-1-505. a new window [Accessed October 2022]

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Hadlock FP 1984. Estimating fetal age: Computer-assisted analysis of multiple fetal growth parameters. Radiology 152: 497-501. a new window [Accessed October 2022]

Mary Sauer

Mary Sauer is a freelance parenting and health writer living in Kansas City. She is a mom of four and loves to hike with her kids, read, and knit. Cooking a complicated meal her kids probably won't eat is one of her favorite pastimes.

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