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Week 33 of pregnancy | Third Trimester

(counting from the first day of last menstrual period)

Welcome to Week 33 of your pregnancy! Let’s take a closer look at Mom’s edema and Baby’s rapid growth, as well as give Dad some advice on what to pack in the very important hospital bag.

By Week 33 many women will start experiencing mild swelling or edema. Mild edema is normal, but if over two to three days you experience symptoms such as severe headaches, seeing “spots” or “flashing lights” while resting, a sudden increase in swelling – especially of the face, abdominal pain, nausea and vomiting, see your doctor without delay. You could be developing pre-eclampsia, a very serious pregnancy complication characterised by swelling, high blood pressure and protein in the urine.

If your hospital allows it, you should think about pre-registering within the next week or two. This will simply help speed the admissions process up once you are in labour.

Another important thing to remember is to include extra protein in your diet from now until the end of your pregnancy. Protein is the building block for cell growth and development, which is why it’s a very important supplement to support and enhance your baby’s progress at this stage.

In Week 33 the amniotic fluid surrounding your baby will reach its highest level, but because your baby’s continuing to grow rather fast, the level will start declining somewhat from now on and until end of your pregnancy.

Right now your baby’s brain is working very hard at maturing. This week alone his or her head will increase in size by as much as 2/8 of an inch – due to rapid brain growth and maturity.

Your baby’s skin will also start transforming into a pinker colour this week, so in terms of appearances he or she is getting cuter and pudgier every minute – piling on the baby fat for those gorgeous little wrist rolls and chubby toes.

A good idea for you this week is to help your partner prepare for the birth by making a list of things that she and your new bundle of joy will need during their few days’ stay in hospital.

For your partner, make sure you include a night dress, pyjamas, slippers, socks, underwear, nursing bras and pads, nipple cream and shields, a towel, sanitary napkins, toiletries, a going home outfit, her ID book and medical aid membership card, an iPod or reading material, as well as a camera or a camcorder. For your baby, you’ll need a few set of clothes, receiving blankets, nappies, socks or booties, hats and baby soap.


On that note, Week 33 of your pregnancy draws to a close. Next week we’ll take a look at the importance of selecting a paediatrician you are comfortable and happy with.

Tip of the Week | be encouraged

Don’t sleep on your back - sleep on your left side (optimal oxygen flow to your baby) with a pillow between your knees.

Baby Quote of the Week | be inspired

A mother's arms are more comforting than anyone else's. Diana, Princess of Wales

Good Reads | be informed

What Baby Needs by William Sears. Explains to prospective older siblings about a new baby's needs and demands, and suggests ways that they can participate in the new arrival's care. Full colour.


Baby Names we Like | be prepared