Expectant mothers feeling bump

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Read Aptaclub's guide to being 33 weeks pregnant. Explore our favourite healthy eatng ideas as your baby grows.




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At 33 weeks pregnant, there’s a lot going on. Not just for your growing baby’s development, but for you and your body too. This is an exciting time. With around six weeks to go until your due date, you might be starting to think about your new life as a parent, and the choices that are right for you. 

Let’s look at what’s going on at 33 weeks pregnant, including some common pregnancy symptoms, the possibility of Braxton Hicks contractions, and some meal planning inspiration for your third trimester.  

Expectant mothers feeling bump

What are the pregnancy symptoms at 33 weeks pregnant?  

At 33 weeks pregnant, your baby is taking up an increasing amount of the available space in your tummy. As a result, you may find that your appetite decreases, leaving you unable to eat large or full meals1. Try instead to eat little and often - you’ll find plenty of healthy and nutrient-packed ideas here.  

Heartburn and acid reflux are also one of the common pregnancy symptoms at 33 weeks. They’re thought to be caused by the many hormonal changes going on inside your body, and your growing baby pressing on your stomach2

Back pain is something else you might be experiencing at 33 weeks pregnant, and it’s caused by the ligaments in your body softening and stretching in preparation for giving birth3. Back pain is quite common throughout your pregnancy, including during the third trimester. 

Other symptoms you might be experiencing at 33 weeks include4:

  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Stretch marks - you can learn more about the physical changes you might experience during your pregnancy here
  • Headaches
  • Swollen hands and feet
  • Bleeding gums

On the upside, you may also notice that your hair has started to feel thicker and look shinier.

Whilst these symptoms are very common and unlikely to be a cause for concern, if you’re struggling to manage your pregnancy symptoms, be sure to seek advice from your doctor or midwife.

Braxton Hicks at 33 weeks pregnant 

If you feel your abdomen becoming tight from time to time at 33 weeks pregnant, this could be a sign that your body is starting to prepare for labour with what is known as Braxton Hicks contractions.

Some women have described this sensation as a ‘tightening’ over their growing bump which lasts for around 20 to 30 seconds, at which point the muscles start to once again relax4

Braxton Hicks at 33 weeks are very common and shouldn’t cause you any pain. If the Braxton Hicks contractions start to become painful, you get any unusual cramping, or they start to happen more regularly, then it’s very important that you contact your midwife to seek advice4.  

You may start to feel the tightening sensation of Braxton Hicks at around week 33.

33 weeks pregnant - symptoms not to ignore 

You should seek medical advice if you notice any of the following5:

  • Any changes in your baby’s usual movement patterns

  • Swelling in your face, hands and feet, as this can be a sign of pre-eclampsia

  • If you suspect that your waters have broken

As we mention above, whilst Braxton Hicks contractions are very common at 33 weeks pregnant, if they start to come at more regular intervals, or become very painful, make sure that you contact your midwife for advice. In some circumstances, this could a sign of early labour4

Your baby at 33 weeks pregnant  

At 33 weeks pregnant, your baby weighs around 4-4½lbs and measures roughly 44 cm from their head to their bottom. Your baby’s brain is now fully developed, as is their nervous system, and in the coming weeks, your baby will be focussed on accumulating fat and growing to full term

During this time, whilst your baby’s bones will be getting harder, their skull will remain soft and separated. This is to allow your baby to more easily make their way down the birth canal during labour. Interestingly, your baby’s skull will stay this way until they reach between the ages of 12 and 18 months4.  

Your pregnancy diet at 33 weeks pregnant  

During your third trimester, you’ll probably need an additional 200 calories per day to provide you with the energy you need (the equivalent of two slices of wholemeal toast)4

Whilst you don’t need to follow a special diet during your pregnancy unless you’ve been advised to do so by your doctor or midwife6, eating a healthy and balanced variety of foods is essential for the health of you and your baby. Try to avoid eating too many salty, processed or fatty foods (pregnancy cravings can make this a bit of a challenge!) and be sure to include plenty of fruit and vegetables in your daily diet. 

Little and often 

Late in your third trimester, your baby is taking up most of the space your stomach used to occupy. Depending on your appetite, you may find that it’s more comfortable to eat smaller portions of food more often. 

Try grazing on healthy snacks throughout the day and at either side of your meals. This will ensure that you and your baby both receive a steady supply of  nutrients  and energy as your third trimester progresses. It may also help you to manage some of those week 33 pregnancy symptoms such as heartburn. 

Key nutrients to include at 33 weeks pregnant

Vitamin D 

Vitamin D is essential during your pregnancy, as it helps to support the bones, teeth and muscles7. The NHS recommends that all pregnant and breastfeeding women take a 10mg daily supplement of vitamin D during the months of September to March. This is because the majority of our vitamin D intake comes from the sunlight, which is in short supply during the winter months7

For a vitamin D rich healthy meal or snack, why not try sardines on toast, or a bowl of fortified, unsweetened breakfast cereal with milk? 


Not getting enough iron in your diet can leave you feeling very tired and lacking in energy7. Iron also helps both you and your baby to make the haemoglobin in red blood cells8 and supports the development of your baby’s brain9.  

Some iron-rich meal ideas include:

  • Hummus and wholemeal pitta slices with spinach

  • Baked beans on a jacket potato (try opting for a reduced salt variety of baked beans)

  • A wrap filled with cooked beef or roast beef

  • A handful of dried apricots, figs or prunes

Long chain polyunsaturated fatty acid (LCPs)

DHA, a type of omega-3 fatty acid, is vital for supporting your baby’s growth in the womb, helping your baby’s brain, eyes10 and nervous system to develop11. You can learn more about the benefits of omega-3 during your pregnancy here.

Try these snacks and light meals for a nutritious boost during your day:

  • Grilled trout with salad

  • Smoked salmon sandwich

  • A handful of nuts and seeds

  • Soya milk fruit smoothie

Remember to limit your intake of oily fish such as salmon, trout or mackerel to 2 portions per week during your pregnancy11.  

Next steps for your third trimester

As your due date draws closer, there are a few practicalities that you may want to start thinking about.

If you’re attending an antenatal class, this is the perfect opportunity for you to ask any questions you might have about your labour and birth, and taking care of your baby once they arrive. Your antenatal appointments with your midwife can also be very helpful, providing you with plenty of information about everything from pain relief during labour to breastfeeding.

It’s also time to start thinking about packing your hospital bag. Even if you’re planning for a home birth, it’s a good idea to have a hospital bag prepared, just in case you’re advised to transfer into hospital.

It can be really helpful to create a hospital bag checklist, just to make sure that you’ve got all bases covered. Remember that it should include not just the things that you’ll need or want during labour (think healthy snacks for labour and comfortable clothing), but also the things you and your baby will need once you’ve given birth. Toiletries, nappies and baby clothes for example.

You can download your free copy of our handy hospital bag checklist here

Your baby's future health begins here

At Aptaclub, we believe that experience helps to build resilience; and that each new encounter, whether in pregnancy or after birth, can shape your baby’s future development. With our scientific expertise and one-to-one round the clock support, we can help you and your baby embrace tomorrow.

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Get in touch with our Careline experts

Our midwives, nutritionists and feeding advisors are always on hand to talk about feeding your baby. Need instant assistance? Our WhatsApp Customer Support team is here to help on-the-go!

  1. NHS Portsmouth Hospitals NHS Trust. Pregnancy Diary Third Trimester Weeks 27-41 [online] https://www.porthosp.nhs.uk/departments/maternity/assets/Pregnancy_Diary_Third_Trimester_Weeks_27-41.pdf. [Accessed November 2024]
  2. NHS. You and your baby at 33 weeks pregnant [online] 2021. https://www.nhs.uk/pregnancy/week-by-week/28-to-40-plus/33-weeks/. [Accessed November 2023]
  3. NHS. Back pain in pregnancy [online] 2021. Available at https://www.nhs.uk/pregnancy/related-conditions/common-symptoms/back-pain/. [Accessed November 2023]
  4. NHS Start for Life. Week 33 [online]. Available at https://www.nhs.uk/start-for-life/pregnancy/week-by-week-guide-to-pregnancy/3rd-trimester/week-33/. [Accessed November 2023]
  5. NHS Hull University Teaching Hospitals. The Third Trimester: Entering the home straight of pregnancy [online] 2018. Available at https://www.hey.nhs.uk/news/2018/07/19/the-third-trimester-entering-the-home-straight-of-pregnancy/. [Accessed November 2023]
  6. NHS. Have a healthy diet in pregnancy [online] 2023. Available at https://docs.google.com/document/d/1euHzJlcQMEX-fS030wd3XFGtSi5xlnwxNOMIpXzMx4Q/edit. [Accessed November 2023]
  7. NHS. Vitamins, supplements and nutrition in pregnancy [online] 2023. Available at  https://www.nhs.uk/pregnancy/keeping-well/vitamins-supplements-and-nutrition/. [Accessed November 2023]
  8. NHS Inform. Vitamins and minerals in pregnancy [online] 2023. Available at https://www.nhsinform.scot/ready-steady-baby/pregnancy/looking-after-yourself-and-your-baby/vitamins-and-minerals-in-pregnancy/. [Accessed November 2023]
  9. NHS Hull University Teaching Hospitals. Anaemia in Pregnancy [online] 2019. Available at https://www.hey.nhs.uk/patient-leaflet/anaemia-in-pregnancy-2/#:~:text=During%20pregnancy%20the%20body's%20demand,has%20shown%20you%20are%20anaemic. [Accessed November 2023]
  10. Coletta JM, Bell SJ, Roman AS. Omega-3 Fatty acids and pregnancy. Rev Obstet Gynecol. 2010 Fall;3(4):163-71. PMID: 21364848; PMCID: PMC3046737
  11. NHS. Fish and shellfish [online] 2022. Available at https://www.nhs.uk/live-well/eat-well/food-types/fish-and-shellfish-nutrition/#:~:text=Long%2Dchain%20omega%2D3%20can,long%2Dchain%20omega%2D3. [Accessed November 2023] 

Last reviewed: 28th July 2021
Reviewed by Oriana Hernandez Carrion

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