Pregnancy Week by Week (Weeks 33-36)

Week 33

Not only are your lungs squashed by your growing baby (causing that breathlessness), your stomach is constricted too. This can cause indigestion. That’s why small frequent meals will now be easier to cope with – so no huge feast!

Your baby
Crucial to survival, your baby’s immune system is starting to work. Antibodies to fight infection are being passed from you to him via the placenta. To give his immunity even more of a kick-start, try to breastfeed after the birth.

Love all?
In late pregnancy, some women go off sex, others don’t. And at this stage love-making can become rather interesting! With the missionary position out, you’ll have to experiment with new ones. You may also feel your womb tighten when you make love, because the same hormone – oxytocin – is released during an orgasm as when you go into labour (that’s why it’s sometimes called the love hormone). But don’t worry, this won’t trigger labour unless your baby is ready to be born.

Take a break
It’s late to be going on holiday – most airlines won’t let you fly now and you’re probably reluctant to be too far away from the midwife or hospital. But a weekend break reasonably close to home may be just what you need. There’ll be no cooking or cleaning to do – and best of all you’ll get some quality time with your partner. Next holiday, there’ll probably be three of you!

Week 34

That baby is already constricting your lungs and your stomach. Now he’s starting to push downwards, constricting your bladder, so your nights may be disturbed by the frequent need to pee.

Your baby
New research suggests your baby is able to move rhythmically to music he hears outside the womb (and it feels as if he’s dancing on your bladder!). At the moment, separate pliable plates form his skull. These compress and slide over one another during labour – in fact they don’t fuse and harden completely until your baby is about 18 months old.

Time for you
As your bump grows and you become more tired, you could really do with some pampering.
• Have a foot and leg massage (great for tired pregnancy pins).
• Have a pedicure (you probably can’t reach to paint your own toenails now!).
• Have a soak in the bath with a little lavender oil diluted in the water to help induce sleep.
• Treat yourself to online shopping with your groceries – better than pushing a laden trolley round the supermarket

MOTHERCARE TIP If you’re having triplets, they are now considered full term.

Week 35

The last few weeks of pregnancy can be exhausting, so rest is crucial, especially as you’ll need all your strength to cope with the broken nights with your baby.

Your baby
Your baby can blink and his pupils can contract or dilate to regulate the amount of light entering his eyes. Even though the womb is a dim dark place, strong sunlight shining onto your bump will filter through as a red glow into the womb, and he may turn his eyes towards this.

Get networking
Not returning to work immediately? If you’re used to the camaraderie of work, being a new mum can be isolating, so find out about local mother-and-baby or postnatal groups. Making friends with others in the same boat can get you through the early weeks – and make you some life-long friends.

Week 36

Your baby begins to move downwards. The good news is breathlessness will lessen. The bad news is you’ll now feel uncomfortable down below – some mums say it’s as if a melon is about to fall out!

Your baby
As your baby’s head sinks into your pelvis, it becomes ‘engaged’, meaning he is set for birth, and will not be able to rise out of the pelvis to turn any more. Your midwife will check how many centimetres of your baby’s head can still be felt above the pelvis. Once nothing can be felt, your baby is fully engaged.

Be prepared
In case baby puts in an early appearance, get some things done to make the birth – and the early days – easier:
• Fill the freezer with cooked meals.
• Put petrol in the car and keep the tank topped up.
• Fill a purse with change for parking at the hospital and for the phone.
• Check the route to hospital.
• Arrange for help from friends and relatives afterwards – especially when your partner goes back to work.

If you have an older child…
• Sort out who’s going to look after them when you’re in hospital – and arrange a back-up just in case.
• Buy a present for the older sibling ‘from the baby’ to ease jealousy problems.
• Read your older child books about new babies.
• After the birth, encourage your child to help by fetching nappies and so on, so they feel involved.

MOTHERCARE TIP Get fitted for nursing bras – it’s easier to assess what size you’ll need now your baby has engaged.

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