Third trimester - Weeks 33 - 35

Weeks 33 - 35

Week 33

Overview

Your baby is continuing to plump out and his or her little bones are starting to harden. Weighing in at 1918g (67.656oz) and measuring 43.7 centimetres, which is 17.20 inches in length from crown to toe.

The only bones that remain soft when the baby is born are those inside of his or her skull, this is so your baby can be pushed through the birth canal. For the first few years, these soft spots (known as sutures and the anterior fontanelle) will remain in order for the brain to grow before the skull fuses together around it.

Week 33 

Your baby’s development at this stage

Your baby is now about the size of a pineapple. With the bones in his or her skull not being fused together, this allows for them to slightly overlap and move, which will facilitate his or her passage through the birth canal. The pressure on a baby’s head during birth may often be so intense that it results in the baby being born with a cone-like head. If this happens, it is not generally a cause for concern and should correct itself over time.  Interestingly enough, these bones only fuse together properly when your child reaches early adulthood (when the brain has finished growing).

Changes in your life as your baby grows

You may find yourself waddling at this stage from the pressure on your uterus and the extra weight you are now carrying. You may find it difficult to find a comfortable position to sit in, and sleeping may also become a serious challenge. Don’t worry if you constantly find yourself bumping into things, this is perfectly normal!

You may also be feeling some aches and numbness in your hands, wrists and fingers. As with the other tissues in your body at this stage, the ones in the wrist will often retain fluid, this increases the pressure in the carpal tunnels of the hands which results in swelling and aches.

The nerves running through the carpal tunnels may end up being pinched, this creates the tingling or numbness you may be experiencing. If you are working with your hands (even while using a keyboard) remember to take breaks and try to stretch out our hands regularly.

With your hormones being in full-swing, your sexual drive may also be increased, sex during pregnancy is generally alright for you and the baby, right up until your water breaks or you go into labour. Remember, however, to first confirm with your doctor as every pregnancy is different.

Tests and what to do at this stage

You may want to start attending a breastfeeding class at this stage if you haven’t already. If you do not wish to attend a class, then watching some videos and reading up about breastfeeding can also be extremely beneficial.

Anything you have received for your baby at your baby shower should be washed and properly dried to remove any irritants on the fabric. Look for detergents that are for extra-sensitive skin and are baby-friendly.

You should also be monitoring your baby’s movements on a regular basis at this stage. Your baby should be moving frequently and will have developed an activity pattern by now. If you don’t notice any major changes in your baby’s movements, then there shouldn’t be anything to worry about.

If you want an added sense of comfort and security, then your doctor may recommend that you monitor your baby’s activity on a more formal basis, doing so at least twice a day. There are a number of different ways in which this can be done, doctors will often refer to it as ‘counting kicks’.

A common approach involves choosing a specific time of day, one where your baby is at his or her most active, then, while sitting or lying down in a quiet area, time how long it takes for you to feel about 10 distinct movements, these can be kicks, twitches and general body movements, you should be feeling about 10 movements over a period of two hours. However, it often doesn’t take that long as you may feel the 10 movements within the first 10 minutes. If you don’t feel 10 movements within two hours, then contact your doctor.

If this is the case, then your doctor may perform a biophysical profile or a non-stress test to check on the health of the baby.

Week 34

Overview

At this stage, your baby is measuring 45 centimetres (17.71 inches) in length and weighs 2146g (75.698oz). The majority of the major organs for the nervous, respiratory and digestive system have now formed and are nearly able to work by themselves. Your little one may have already moved into the head-down position too!

Week 34

Your baby’s development at this stage

About the size of a cantaloupe, your baby has formed some healthy fat layers which will help to regulate his or her temperature once he or she is born. Babies who are born between week 34 and week 37 often have no additional health issues. So, if you are stressed about preterm labour, that should help put your mind at ease. However, if your baby is premature, then they may have to have a short stay in a neonatal nursery in order to be monitored for any long-term health issues. Any health issues, if the baby is born at this stage, are normally short-term and eliminated after the baby’s stay in the neonatal care.

Changes in your life as your baby grows

You may be feeling unusually tired at this stage, this is normally as a result of the physical strain your body is under and the restless nights of struggling to get comfortable and always getting up to urinate.

You may want to slow down at this stage and save up your energy for your labour. If you have been sitting or lying down for a long period of time, try not to sit up and stand too quickly as there may be blood that has pooled together in your legs and feet, this can result in your blood pressure temporarily dropping and making you feel extremely dizzy and light-headed.

If you start to notice any red and itchy welts or bumps on your buttocks, thighs and specifically, your belly, then you likely have something known as PUPPP, which is pruritic urticarial papules and plaques of pregnancy. It is a harmless condition but often results in physical discomfort. Speak to your doctor about treating any itchiness.

Tests and what to do at this stage

It may be a good idea for you and your partner to take an infant CPR class. This should be done with a certified instructor where you will learn techniques for handling any emergency situations, such as your child choking or battling to breathe. You will also be able to learn about preventing accidents and how to implement childproofing solutions.

Week 35

Overview

At this stage there isn’t a lot of room left in your uterus, your baby now weighs 2383g (84.058oz) and he or she is 46.2 centimetres in length, which is about 18.19 inches. This is the period where the serious growth will begin. Your little one is also ‘lightening’, which is a movement where he or she settle into the lower position in the pelvis to get ready for delivery. This should be great news for your breathing as your lungs will have less pressure on them. However, your bladder may start to have more pressure on it, meaning you will be spending more time in the bathroom.

 Week 35

Your baby’s development at this stage

Your baby is about the size of a large honeydew melon, which is pretty big! And in being larger, he or she won’t be able to move around as much, and the movements that do happen should be similar to one another and form a pattern as your baby creates his or her own little routine inside the womb. The kidneys are now completely developed and the liver is starting to process waste products. The majority of the basic physical development is complete. The next few weeks will be spent putting on extra weight.

Changes in your life as your baby grows

Your uterus has now moved a little to reach up to your rib cage, this will crowd your other organs which can create heartburn, among other forms of gastrointestinal distress. 

Tests and what to do at this stage

From week 35 you will start seeing your doctor at least once a week. Between week 35 and week 37 your doctor will do a rectal and vaginal culture to check for any bacterium known as group B streptococcus (GBS). This culture test is harmless and just uses a cotton swab to get a sample. If GBS is present, it is typically harmless for adults, but if it is passed to the baby during the birthing process, then this can result in more severe complications such as a blood infection, pneumonia or meningitis. About 10 to 30% of women who are pregnant have the bacteria without knowing it, therefore, it is vital that you are screened for it. This specific group of bacteria tend to come and go of their own accord, this is why you were not screened earlier on in your pregnancy, or why you will be screened again in the upcoming weeks. If you are carrying GBS, then you will receive antibiotics via an IV drip during labour. It is too risky to take antibiotics while you are still pregnant.

Now is also a great time to create your birthing plan. This will be a form that will allow you to focus on the specifics of your labour such as pain management, any preferences you may have and what you would like to happen if things do not go according to plan.

When you cook your dinners at night, freeze half of them for when your baby is born as you will find that you won’t have the time to cook then.

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