Week 33 of Your Pregnancy

Verywell / Bailey Mariner

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At 33 weeks pregnant, your baby is showing off their sucking and swallowing skills and is continuing to practice their breathing muscle movements. Meanwhile, you may find that you're out of breath as your diaphragm and lungs have to fight your uterus for space in your abdomen.

33 Weeks Pregnant Is How Many Months? 8 months and 1 week

Which Trimester? Third trimester

How Many Weeks to Go? 7 weeks

Your Baby's Development at 33 Weeks

At 33 weeks, a baby is over 11 3/4 inches (30.2 centimeters) from the top of their head to the bottom of their buttocks (known as the crown-rump length), and baby's height is almost 17 inches (42.9 centimeters) from the top of their head to their heel (crown-heel length). This week, the baby weighs a little more than 4 1/2 pounds (2,103 grams).

At 33 weeks pregnant, your baby is about the length of a bath mat
Verywell / Bailey Mariner 


Baby’s bones are now fully developed, but still a bit soft and malleable, especially the plates in their skull. These bones need to remain pliable in order to pass through the narrow birth canal.

In fact, one or two spots will remain soft even up to a year after your baby is born. These areas, called fontanelles, are normal gaps that allow room for the baby’s brain to continue developing.


A weak sucking reflex appeared around week 28. Now your baby is beginning to coordinate and practice sucking and swallowing. Your baby can also demonstrate the rooting reflex by turning their head and opening their mouth in response to a touch or stimulation of the cheek.

Survival Outside the Womb

A moderately preterm baby born at 33 weeks still has a little maturing to do. Babies born around week 33 will need a little special care before going home. There is still a risk of disabilities due to prematurity, but babies born at this stage have a 99% chance of survival.

Explore a few of your baby's week 33 milestones in this interactive experience.

Stay Calm Mom: Episode 3

Watch all episodes of our Stay Calm Mom video series and follow along as our host Tiffany Small talks to a diverse group of women and top doctors to get real answers to the biggest pregnancy questions.


How Will Pregnancy Change My Body?

Your Common Symptoms This Week

Pregnancy can lead to aches and pains that you hadn't expected, and rib pain may be one of them. You may also find that with these new or growing discomforts, you're out of breath more often.

Rib Pain

During pregnancy, your ribs expand, your uterus puts pressure on your chest, and your baby might be pushing or kicking into your rib bones. This combination of events can lead to anything from an occasional ache to the painful swelling of the cartilage in the chest wall called costochondritis.

Shortness of Breath

About 62% of pregnant people report dyspnea or shortness of breath. Pregnancy and hormones cause changes in your entire body—including your respiratory system. In the third trimester, your growing uterus takes up so much room in your abdomen that it squeezes your diaphragm and lungs, which can affect your breathing.

Self-Care Tips

As with many of the common third-trimester complaints, sometimes the only thing you can do for full relief from symptoms like rib and shortness of breath is to be patient. You'll likely feel better after your baby is born in a few weeks. That said, there are a few things you can to do help manage the discomfort now.

Dealing With Rib Pain and Shortness of Breath

Rib pain and shortness of breath often go hand-in-hand in the third trimester. Here are some tips for dealing with pain and discomfort:

  • Change positions when you're uncomfortable
  • Pay attention to your posture (reaching your arms up overhead while you sit or stand up straight might give your lungs a little extra room to take in air when you're feeling out of breath)
  • Practice your childbirth breathing techniques
  • Stretch your body and your muscles with prenatal exercise or pregnancy yoga
  • Take breaks and rest during the day
  • Talk to your doctor about alternative ways to find relief
  • Wear comfortable, loose-fitting clothes

While shortness of breath is common, call your provider or go to the emergency room if you are having trouble breathing, you have chest pain, your body is swelling, or you have pain that won't go away or is getting worse.

Postpartum Preparation

Right now, there’s a lot of focus on your impending labor and delivery, and of course, caring for your new arrival. It's important to remember that you will need to take care of yourself after labor and delivery, too. That means thinking ahead to your recovery period and gathering some postpartum supplies.

If you end up having a vaginal delivery, the following items can make your recovery easier:

  • Anesthetic spray. You can use this pain-relieving spray after bathroom visits or after changing a pad to numb your vaginal area.
  • Doughnut pillow. Sitting on this type of cushion takes the pressure off the sensitive area between your vagina and rectum (perineum).
  • Peri bottle. Fill a plastic squirt container with lukewarm water and indirectly spray your vaginal area while urinating to quell the sting and soothe the delicate tissue.
  • Sitz bath. This shallow basin sits on top of your toilet. Fill it with warm water and soak your bottom to ease pain and encourage healing.
  • Stool softener. Having your first bowel movement after delivery can be frightening, especially if you have hemorrhoids on top of everything else that happens to your vagina during delivery. Ask your provider to recommend a gentle stool softener that can make the experience easier.

Regardless of the type of delivery you have, these items can be a big help:

  • Comfy clothes. Make sure you have comfy lounge pants to put on at home post-birth. You may prefer those with a loose-fitting or adjustable waist if you have a C-section.
  • Heavy-flow maxi pads. Whether you gave birth vaginally or via C-section, you will experience postpartum vaginal bleeding for up to six weeks. (Tip: You can also use the pads to create soothing ice packs. Simply unfold a pad, squirt aloe vera gel down the center, soak with witch hazel, refold it, and place it in a zip-closure bag inside the freezer).
  • Ibuprofen. This over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medication can help with perineal pain, cramping, and post-birth bleeding. Speak to your healthcare provider about the optimal dosing schedule for you.
  • Nipple cream. Massaging a small amount of modified lanolin ointment after nursing can help stave off and heal sore your nipples. (Tip: Applying expressed breastmilk can do the same).
  • Nursing pads. These handy pads are available in disposable and reusable materials and will absorb any breast milk leaks when you’re not actively nursing and protect sore nipples from rubbing.
  • Nursing or pumping bra. The former allows for easy access for breastfeeding, while the latter can hold breast pump flanges in place hands-free.

Your Week 33 Checklist

Advice For Partners

Have you noticed your pregnant partner is cleaning a lot lately? This burst of organizational energy is called nesting, and it’s thought to be an instinctual way in which parents-to-be prepare for birth. Some people start to experience the need to nest right around now, whereas others experience it much earlier or not at all.

As a partner, it’s your job to ensure that the pregnant person in your life does not overextend themselves. At this point in pregnancy, your partner should not climb ladders, use harmful cleaning supplies like bleach, or lift heavy objects. Offer help and assistance whenever needed.

It also doesn’t hurt to get in on the nesting yourself. Consider making new-parenthood life a little easier on yourself by stocking up on non-perishable grocery and toiletry staples now. At the same time, put together some make-ahead meals to keep stocked in your freezer.

Upcoming Doctor’s Visits

Since you're likely still on an every-other-week schedule, you might be back at your provider's office for a check-up next week at 34 weeks.

You may be offered the whooping cough vaccine between 27 weeks and 36 weeks as it is recommended by the CDC.

A screening test for group B strep (also called GBS or beta strep) typically takes place between 36 and 38 weeks.

Special Considerations

Preeclampsia is a serious pregnancy-related condition that affects your blood pressure, as well as multiple organs in the body including your kidneys, liver, and central nervous system.

Between 2% and 8% of pregnant people develop preeclampsia. The condition usually shows up in the third trimester but providers will screen for signs throughout pregnancy at each prenatal visit.


Your risk for preeclampsia is increased if you have certain risk factors. You might be more likely to develop preeclampsia if:

  • You are African American
  • You are carrying your first child
  • You are younger than 20 or older than 35 years old
  • You have a higher body weight
  • You have a health condition such as high blood pressure, kidney disease, diabetes, or an autoimmune disorder
  • You're carrying twins or multiples
  • You've had it before
  • Your mother or sister had preeclampsia
  • Your partner has reproduced with someone else who had preeclampsia

While water retention in pregnancy is normal, if you’re experiencing significant swelling in your hands or face, your provider will evaluate you for other signs of preeclampsia, or pregnancy-induced high blood pressure.

There are also other signs of preeclampsia that you should be aware of. Let your provider know right away if you have:

  • Breathing difficulty
  • Headaches
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Pain in your upper belly or shoulder
  • Sudden weight gain
  • Vision changes

If you have mild preeclampsia, your provider will continue to check your blood pressure and urine regularly. They might ask you to check your blood pressure at home, too.

If they haven't already, your provider will also ask you to perform daily kick counts to monitor your baby's well-being at home. Most people preeclampsia go on to have healthy babies, as long as their condition is detected and treated in a timely fashion.

Severe preeclampsia needs to be treated in the hospital. Providers will usually try to safely get your baby to 34 weeks, but you might have to deliver early prevent further complications of preeclampsia, such as seizures or HELLP syndrome.

A Word From Verywell

If nesting instincts have kicked in, use them to your advantage when you have the energy. You've likely already done all the prep work for your labor and delivery, so this week is a great time to start learning about the postpartum period and getting prepared to care for yourself and your newborn after delivery.

12 Sources
Verywell Family uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
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Additional Reading

By Holly Pevzner
Holly Pevzner is an award-winning writer who specializes in health, nutrition, parenting, and family travel.