33 Weeks Pregnant: Oy! Breathlessness + Heartburn
Your little one is thirsty lately. She’s drinking around a 16 ounces of her amniotic fluid every day. That sounds a little gross, but what is truly gross is that she then pees it out—into the amniotic fluid—and then drinks it all over again!
On the totally great side of things, this same fluid is helping get her lungs ready for her dramatic entry into the world of air and breathing. Having lungs filled with liquid is fine for babies because all their oxygen comes from the blood being cycled—every second—through the umbilical cord. Amazingly, after birth, she’ll soon fill her lungs with air—drying up all that fluid almost instantly—and begin the breathing of air that will her sustain her through every day of the rest of her life.
In the meantime, her immune system has matured plenty, too. And to double and triple protect her, you’re still passing antibodies to her through the placenta and you can continue giving her protective antibodies through your breast milk.
33 Weeks Pregnant: S’up with Your Bod?
Fatigue, breathlessness, heartburn—you’re feeling all these and more. Your body is working hard to grow and nourish your baby and to carry all her weight. As in the first trimester, this is a good time to take it easy on yourself. Get help moving heavy objects, ask your partner to pitch in more around the house, grab couch time when you can and invite friends to dinner…if they bring the food.
You may find you want to sleep ‘round the clock…or that you can barely sleep at all because you’re constantly waking to pee.
Your expanding uterus has crowded all of the organs in your belly. Your lungs are pushed up, giving them less room to fill with air and leaving you breathless. It can feel pretty disconcerting, but it’s normal and—although you are breathing faster or need to sit up a bit more—you and your baby are still getting all the oxygen you need.
Baby and uterus have also squished your digestive system, meaning you feel better eating smaller meals, so you don’t get overly full. Heartburn may strike, too, as stomach acid gets pushed back up your esophagus. Drinking a lot of water throughout the day helps move the food along faster, so you’re not feeling so stuffed. Drinking peppermint tea, sucking on a peppermint candy or crunching on fennel seeds can ease heartburn as well.
A To-Do List for Your 33rd Week
- Install the car seat: Take time to research and select a car seat, install it and get it checked by a certified professional. Find one in your area by going to SeatCheck.org.
- Create your birth announcement: One of the last things you’ll feel like doing right after birthing a child is crafting an email. And your partner is going to be pretty occupied, too. Make a quick and sweet note and a list of the people with whom you’d like to share the great announcement.
- Pack your hospital bag: Think about what will make the time after delivery more comfortable for you. Maybe that’s a warm robe and socks, maybe it’s flip flops for the shower and your own toiletries. If allowed to eat during labor, packing snacks and beverages is a good idea. Don’t forget a change of clothes for you and your partner.
- If home birthing, start prepping: If you’re doing a home birth, your midwife will provide you with a list of supplies. Gather everything together in time for her to do a home visit.
Lingo Lesson: Pitocin
Oxytocin is a hormone made by the hypothalamus and secreted by the pituitary gland. It’s called the love hormone, because your body produces it during sex, and it also plays a part in breastfeeding. It also starts and sustains your labor…it’s the body’s signal that causes contractions.
Pitocin—a synthetic form of oxytocin—is often administered to a mom through an IV to help induce labor and to speed up contractions. Sometimes it’s administered after the birth too to shrink the size of her uterus and prevent excessive bleeding.
Pitocin has benefits and drawbacks. If your labor is stalling, it can speed things up dramatically. And if you need to deliver your baby immediately due to complications, it will make help that possible. But it can also cause increased pain and discomfort due to intensified contractions. And, these strong contractions occasionally stress babies, which might increase the chances for a C-section. This is one of those areas where your doctor or midwife will make the best call. That’s why you want to pick someone in whom you feel great trust and confidence.
Quote of the Week
Women's bodies have near-perfect knowledge of childbirth; it's when their brains get involved that things can go wrong. - Peggy Vincent