At the 33rd week, this is the time to think deeply about delivery if you have not done so already. Remember that while the due date is only 7 weeks away, it is prudent to get prepared for delivery in case of complications or premature labor.
At the 33rd week, the baby weighs about 4 pounds and could be 17-17.5 inches long. The baby is nearing the birth weight and will add approximately 7-8 pounds more. The brain continues maturing and growing. Some parts such as auditory cortex, Broca’s area, and visual cortex will be functioning by the close of the week.
The baby’s bones continue hardening as calcium extracted from food you eat is added. Ligaments also continue to strengthen as muscle differentiate and fit in their places. Remember that if you do not take ample calcium the baby will take some from your bones.
By the 33rd week, the baby is swallowing about 1 liter of amniotic fluid daily that further provides additional minerals through the gut. The fluid is also crucial for gut development in preparation to handle the first baby’s food (colostrum).
The baby’s nose continues developing in the week and is nearing full formation. The nose does not look like a button but has an extending bridge that makes the face look cute. The baby uses the entire face to smile, goof, and even stick the tongue.
At 33rd week, doctors tell mothers to be prepared for labor. From weeks 30 through to weeks 37, any premature baby has a high chance of survival. Such preterm deliveries can occur from complications or even premature labor. Those at risk of premature labor include;
Braxton-Hicks Contractions: The next couple of weeks may be full of false alarms and even runs to your hospital. For the first time mothers, Braxton-Hicks Contractions are never easy to differentiate from real labor. Well, even for moms who are familiar with them, it is easy to confuse them with true labor. Braxton-Hicks Contractions are very close and only cause the cervix to dilate a little compared to the real onset labor. Remember that if you are unsure of the nature of contractions, the best thing is contacting your doctor immediately.
Fatigue: By the 33rd week, fatigue is taking the better part of you. You will find it difficult to complete anything without struggling. Because you have to carry the weight wherever you go, even common household chores become very difficult. The best thing is getting as much rest as you can and only doing lighter tasks.
Edema: Swelling of feet (edema) is a common symptom in the third trimester. The uterus puts pressure on the veins from the lower part of the body (particularly legs) causing swelling. The swelling legs make you feel very uncomfortable. The problem can be even worse for people living in hot climates or mid-summer. To address the problem make sure to get regular massage and sleep in a position that elevates the feet a little.
Carpal tunnel syndrome: This is the problem of numbness, pain or tingling in the wrist and fingers. Though the problem will probably have started a couple of weeks earlier, it may exacerbate as tissues around the fingers start swelling. If you do a lot of work with your fingers such as typing, a brace might be necessary to get some relief. It is also very important to get regular breaks from repetitive tasks.
Weight gain: By the 33rd week, you will have gained about 26 to 27pounds. However, note that this is the average weight gain and yours could be slightly lower or higher depending on your weight.
Stage One (Latent Phase): This begins with regular contractions involving cervix dilation (opening) and effacing (thinning). While false labor and latent phase may have some similarities, the later becomes stronger and regular. However, Braxton-Hicks contractions dilate and diminish immediately.
In the latent phase, you may experience bloody shows (mucous discharge with blood stains) while some women may lose the mucous plug completely. Doctors encourage mothers to be on the lookout for stained mucous as opposed to loss of the mucous plug. The latent phase is the longest and dilates the cervix with up to 2 centimeters.
Stage Two (Active Phase): In the second phase, this is the point that the body gears up more aggressively for delivery. The contractions will become frequent, stronger, and last longer. You should head to the hospital when the cervix is dilated about 3 cm.
In the active phase, make sure to concentrate on breathing and relaxation. If you took prenatal classes, what you learnt will come in handy. Many moms prefer to use pain medication during the active phase without slowing down contractions.
After being in the state of labor for some moment, your body will get into a transition state when contractions become very rapid (every 2-3 minutes). At this point, the cervix will open about 9-10 centimeters and the entire period can last from several minutes to a few hours. This is the most painful part of the entire labor process.
Stage Three: After the cervix has dilated completely you should get ready to push and deliver the baby. This is the point when pushing starts. Many first time moms can continue pushing for hours. However, it is not uncommon to get some pushing only 30 minutes or less.
This stage is exhausting because the mom has been in labor for hours. However, it is also exciting because it is the time the baby will be revealed. The baby’s head advances in the birth canal downwards until it becomes visible in the process known as crowning. Immediately after the head is delivered, the doctor suctions the baby’s nose and mouth. Within the subsequent contraction, other parts will be delivered.
Stage four (delivering the afterbirth): Even though you have already delivered the baby, you are still in labor. The uterus continues contracting to assist separate placenta from the uterus. Once the placenta is fully separated, you only need to push a little to remove it. This takes less than 15 minutes after delivery. In many instances, rarely do women pay attention to this stage because the entire process has been very exhausting and they are overwhelmed by the joy of the new baby.
Well, now you know all about the four stages of labor that you will go through in the next short few weeks.