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Guide to Being 33 Weeks Pregnant

Your due date is still more than a month away, and some days, you’d do anything to speed up the process and bring that baby home now! See more pregnancy pictures.
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By now, some of you are probably ready to wave a white flag and call it a day on pregnancy. You're likely sick of your limited supply of maternity clothes and the many side effects of having your internal organs repeatedly kicked and squished from within. Before you feel too sorry for yourself, take a moment to appreciate the fact that you're not an Indian elephant, which endures a 22-month gestational period. Those poor mamas go through all that incubating, largely standing up, and then hardly anyone ever sends them flowers in the hospital.

In all seriousness, the last few weeks of pregnancy are a combination of joy, nerves and physical discomforts. When you become frustrated or hormonally charged, take a deep breath and remind yourself that it's all for the greater good. Plus, you'll be able to use your current state as a bargaining chip when your kid tries to put you in a nursing home later in life. Check out the next few pages for details on the good, the bad and the ugly aspects of the 33rd week of pregnancy.

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Simply put: You're excited and overwhelmed. Don't worry if back pain and an actively kicking baby aren't the only things keeping you up at night. You're about to be put in charge of another human being's life, which is more than enough to frazzle your nerves a little bit.

For first-time moms and dads in particular, the responsibilities looming on the horizon are substantial. Before you work yourself into a tizzy, however, remember that billions of parents have gone down this path before you, and 99.9 percent of the time they figured it out just fine. Prepare yourself for what to expect by polling your mommy friends for helpful advice on those first few days and weeks that you won't have a full nursing staff at your beck and call. You'll find a groove more quickly than you think you will, trust me.

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If you haven't already, it's time for you to let go of apprehension when it comes to discussing uncomfortable issues with your doctor. If you can't talk about constipation with him, it's going to be pretty embarrassing come episiotomy time. Unfortunately, constipation is a common concern among third-trimester pregos, but it is very treatable. Drink as much water as you can, and adjust your diet to include as many fiber-rich fruits and veggies as possible to keep things moving along. Your doctor may also have recommendations for other baby-safe remedies and medications.

If it’s OK with your doctor, you can continue to participate in low-impact exercise.
If it’s OK with your doctor, you can continue to participate in low-impact exercise.
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Although all of the major organs have long since been formed, your little guy or gal's lungs are continuing to develop and mature, which is why you really don't want to deliver your baby any sooner than absolutely necessary.

No longer the peanut he once was, your little man now weighs about 4 pounds and measures 17 inches in length, from crown to heel. He probably won't get too much taller, but he'll hopefully pack on a few more pounds before birth so that you have some sweet little fat rolls to pinch. By this point in pregnancy, many dads and other baby-lovers are actively talking to your stomach. Although it might seem silly on the surface, babies at this stage are more than capable of hearing outside voices, which they might even recognize soon after delivery. You don't have to bend over to address your belly directly, however, since he hears your particular vocal stylings every time you speak or sing along with Britney Spears in the car.

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Since you're well into the third trimester, it's time for you to stop flying, although some airlines allow pregnant mothers to fly until the last 30 days of your pregnancy. Feel free to continue other activities you enjoyed throughout your pregnancy, like low-impact aerobics and swimming, unless your obstetrician has instructed you otherwise.

If you haven't already, it's time to attend a childbirth class at your labor and delivery location. Your partner will need to attend as many as possible so that he's up to speed on the signs of labor, how to get to the hospital and the check-in process. He should also be as supportive and ready to learn as possible, particularly if you're forgoing an epidural in favor of a natural birth.

During childbirth classes, which can take place over the course of several weeks, or during a longer, one-day session, you'll learn breathing techniques, helpful tips for making labor easier, and the ins and outs of caesarean sections and vaginal delivery. Most hospitals or birthing centers will allow participants to tour the facility, including the nursery and a typical labor, delivery and recovery room.

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Your partner should also know that, while sex is still possible, he might be barking up the wrong tree so late in pregnancy. The third trimester, with its standard weight gain, back pain and litany of other physical ailments, simply doesn't lend itself to that lovin' feeling. Gently remind him that your lack of desire has nothing to do with him to avoid a bruised ego. Don't worry if your sexual appetite is still intact, though. Most pregnant women can engage in sexual intercourse throughout pregnancy, as long as your doctor says it's OK. Reasons to abstain include unexplained vaginal bleeding, placenta previa, cervical incompetence or any risk of preterm labor.

Let's hope you still have a few weeks before you and your partner hit the road for the hospital. It pays to be prepared well in advance since many women go into preterm labor unexpectedly. Now's the time to install a rear-facing infant car seat, so that it's ready if the need arises. You might also consider scheduling an appointment with a licensed car seat technician (often found at your local fire or police stations) to ensure that it's properly installed.

This is also the perfect opportunity to pack your hospital bag and place it in the car. Obviously, you'll pack all the basics, like your toothbrush, camera and a couple changes of clothes. Don't even think about packing your pre-pregnancy skinny jeans -- you won't be getting into them that quickly, unless your name is Jessica Alba. If you're planning on breastfeeding, choose a button-down nightgown for easy access, plus a couple of nursing bras. Also, be sure to include some necessities for your partner, as well as items with entertainment value, like a couple of magazines or your mp3 player. If possible, fill out whatever hospital paperwork you can in advance and place it in your bag to minimize the often lengthy admission process.

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Stretch marks will fade dramatically, but for now, just think of them as emblems of that special club called Mothers.
Stretch marks will fade dramatically, but for now, just think of them as emblems of that special club called Mothers.
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Try not to sweat it if stretch marks have made their debut in your midsection. Depending on your skin tone, these lovely additions to your body can range from light pink to Barney-the-Dinosaur purple in color. The marketplace is rife with creams that claim to reduce their prominence or eliminate them altogether. The jury's still out on the effectiveness of such products, so you might want to think twice before spending your hard-earned money on them. Most of the time, stretch marks are with you for life, although they do fade dramatically over time, with or without interventional medicine. So, try to let your concerns over these superficial scars go, and instead embrace the joy of your impending mommyhood.

Also, try not to fret if you haven't made up your mind about natural birth versus epidural assistance. Although many women have a strong opinion one way or the other, it's perfectly fine to play it by ear or make your decision closer to the date. Just don't wait too long once you're in labor to decide -- there is a point of no return after which most doctors can't allow epidurals to be administered.

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If you're giving birth outside a hospital, now's the time to finalize your plans. Whether you're having a water birth or simply a natural home delivery, you'll need to make sure you have the appropriate supplies and a doula, midwife or other expert on call for the big day.

Related Articles

Sources

  • "3rd Trimester: Week 33." Parenting. (June 7, 2011). http://www.parenting.com/timeline/3rd-trimester-week-33
  • BabyZones Pregnancy Week-by-Week Contributors. "33 Weeks Pregnant: Preparing for the Big Day!" BabyZone. (June 7, 2011). http://www.babyzone.com/pregnancy/week/article/33rd-week-pregnancy
  • "Your Pregnancy: 33 Weeks." BabyCenter. (June 7, 2011). http://www.babycenter.com/6_your-pregnancy-33-weeks_1122.bc
  • "Facts about Asian elephant: gestation period." Encyclopedia Britannica. (June 7, 2011). http://www.britannica.com/facts/5/109560/Asian-elephant-as-discussed-in-gestation-biology

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