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Pregnancy at week 33

4-minute read

Your baby

Your baby is gaining a lot of weight, ready to be born. Their lungs are maturing and they are producing surfactant, which means they will be able to breathe by themselves outside the uterus.

Your baby’s brain and nervous system are now fully developed. They can suck and swallow, although these reflexes won’t be coordinated properly for another week or so. They are also storing iron in their liver, which they will use for about 6 months after they are born.

Your body

As you get closer to the end of your pregnancy, all your discomforts are likely to increase, including leg cramps, backache, indigestion and heartburn and swelling of your feet and legs. Contact your doctor or midwife straight away if the swelling suddenly gets much worse, if you have it first thing in the morning, or if your face or hands are swollen.

The weight of your baby can also cause bladder and bowel problems, including haemorrhoids, frequent urination or incontinence (when you leak some urine). It’s a very good idea to do pelvic floor exercises every day. These will help to strengthen your muscles and improve your bladder and bowel control.

Things to remember

You will probably be familiar with your baby’s pattern of movements by now. They may be very active at certain times (often during the night, when you’re trying to sleep), and still when you’re moving around during the day.

If you notice any sudden changes in what is normal for your baby, or if they stop moving altogether, talk to your doctor or midwife immediately. A slowing down of movement may be a sign that your baby is unwell.

Resources and support

Speak to your doctor, midwife or obstetrician if you have questions about your pregnancy.

Pregnancy, Birth and Baby also has more information on:

Speak to a maternal child health nurse

Call Pregnancy, Birth and Baby to speak to a maternal child health nurse on 1800 882 436 or video call. Available 7am to midnight (AET), 7 days a week.

NEXT WEEK...YOUR PREGNANCY AT WEEK 34 — Learn about your pregnancy journey and what is happening to you and your baby.

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Last reviewed: August 2023

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Call us and speak to a Maternal Child Health Nurse for personal advice and guidance.

Need further advice or guidance from our maternal child health nurses?

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