Your Body's Changes and Your Baby's Growth, 33 - 36 weeks

Baby

Your baby's skin is pink to reddish in color and is smooth. The body is continuing to fill out. The sucking and grasping reflexes are strong. At about 34 weeks, a substance that is necessary for the lungs to function (surfactant) is steadily produced. The soft, spongy part of the external ear (cartilage) is developing.

In large ways and small, your baby's body is preparing for life in the outside world. More fat is being deposited under the skin (a major factor in maintaining body temperature), resulting in smoother skin, which is less red in color. The baby's hair is longer, and the soft, spongy part of the external ear is developing. Sucking and grasping reflexes are strong.

This is a time when your baby's lungs reach a critical stage of development. It is at this time, too, that maternal antibodies (agents in the blood that prevent illness) are transferred across the placenta from the mother to the baby. While babies at this stage of gestation generally have turned into the vertex (head down) position, some will remain head up or in another position. A change to vertex position can still occur naturally before delivery.

Mother

As your pregnancy continues you may feel like you're carrying your baby farther out in front. This occurs as some of the muscles of your abdomen stretch out to support your growing baby. And while you may not notice it, the bones of your pelvis and the walls of your vagina are relaxing to prepare for the birth process.

Remember those first few weeks of pregnancy when you couldn't believe the news was true? When you body was showing only the slightest signs of what was ahead and your life seemed relatively unchanged?

What a difference a few months can make!

You've now entered your 33rd week of pregnancy, and the end of this very special journey is in sight. As you make plans for the "birth day" itself, you may find it interesting to know the changes taking place in your body and with your baby.

You may also be experiencing greater fatigue due to increasing weight plus the inability to rest well at night. The skin over your abdomen may be "itchy" due to stretching and your belly button may now stick out. You may be coping with the discomforts that often accompany pregnancy, such as hemorrhoids, round ligament pain, and constipation.

You also may be noticing that the nature of your baby's movements is changing. This is due to the reduced area the baby has to move in, given his/her rapid growth in recent weeks.

It's not uncommon for women in their latter phases of pregnancy to have occasional feelings of tingling or numbness in their fingers and hands. In pregnancy, it is often caused by a women's changing posture. As your uterus grows heavier, you may offset your weight by holding your shoulders farther back and flexing your head forward. Comfort measures for this include:

  • Raising the affected hand above your head, then flexing and slowly extending the fingers upward
  • Maintaining good posture

Reprinted by Pregnancy.org, LLC. from Her HealthCare.