Welcome to Week 33
Your Baby: Floating in Fluid
With less than 2 months to go, your baby weighs about 4.4 pounds (1996 grams) and is 18 inches (46 cm) long. If your baby is a boy, this is time when his testicles move into the scrotum. The baby has gotten big enough now that you may even be able to tell what part of the baby is moving or kicking such as foot, arm, and knee! There is just not as much room to move around now.
Your Body: Reducing the Risk of Preterm Labor
Labor that begins before the end of the 37th week is considered "preterm" or "premature." Approximately 1 out of every 10 babies born in the United States is born preterm. No one knows the exact cause of preterm labor, but certain situations increase the odds for it. Those include the following:
- Multiple pregnancy. About 97% of twin pregnancies, for instance, result in preterm labor.
- Problems with the placenta, such as placenta previa or placenta abruptio.
- Problems with the uterus, such as structural defects, an incompetent cervix, or fibroids.
- Infections in the cervix moving up into the uterus.
- Past preterm labor or delivery.
- Short intervals (less than a year) between pregnancies.
- Being younger than 18 or older than 40 during pregnancy.
- PPROM (Preterm Premature Rupture of Membranes).
Other possible culprits include vaginal infections, poor nutrition, stress, depression, smoking, and alcohol and drug abuse.
Warning signs for preterm labor include:
- More than five contractions an hour, or contractions that get longer, stronger, and closer together
- Abdominal cramps, pain, or pressure
- Lower back pain
- Spotting, bleeding, mucous, or watery discharge from your vagina
- Ruptured membranes (leaking a large amount of fluid from the vagina)
If you have any of those signs before Week 37, you should contact your health care provider.
On That Note: Signs From Inside
Many first-time moms wonder what a real contraction feels like, and how it differs from Braxton Hicks. Some even question how they will know when "it's time." For answers to these questions and more, check out signs of labor.
When the going gets tough, go to the movies. Many pregnant women we know enjoy taking an afternoon off and heading to a matinee. It's a great way to spend quiet time and to lose yourself. Be sure to see something light - a romantic comedy or family feature - and avoid the sappy or scary stuff. The last thing you want to do is end up in tears or have nightmares!
Reviewed By: LaQuita Martinez, MD, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Emory Johns Creek Hospital, Alpharetta, GA. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, Brenda Conaway, Editorial Director, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.