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Pregnancy Week by Week - 33 to 36 weeks

27 Nov, 2023

A weekly breakdown from 33 to 36 weeks

Week 33

Your baby is the size of a cabbage. The bones are now fully developed and hardening. However, the skull bones remain soft and malleable to allow the birth of baby through the birth canal. Antibodies are being passed to your baby to promote the development of a healthy immune system. The liver is storing iron and your baby will use these stores within the first six months of life. Your baby can demonstrate the rooting reflex by turning their head and opening the mouth in response to touch or stimulation.

Week 34

Now the size of a butternut pumpkin, your baby can swallow up to one litre of amniotic fluid per day and pass the same amount of urine. Amniotic fluid contributes to the development of the muscles, bones, digestive system and lungs. Vernix Caseosa, the waxy white substance on your baby’s skin thickens to provide protection, regulation of body temperature and plays an important role in immunity. Rapid brain development coordinates the contraction of the digestive tract and controls baby’s respiration rate, essential functions in preparation for life outside the womb.

Week 35

Your baby is the size of a honeydew melon. The kidneys are fully developed and the liver begins to process waste products. The development of the circulatory and musculoskeletal systems is complete. The lungs continue to produce surfactant, a vital substance that assists baby’s lungs to function and breathe air when outside of the uterus. Lanugo, the fine hair that covers your baby’s body inside the womb begins to fall out, although for some babies this may occur in the first days after birth.

Week 36

Your baby is the size of a rock melon. The skin is smooth and soft, the gums are rigid. Your baby is gaining weight and these final weeks inside the womb allow for the maturing of the brain, liver, lungs and other vital organs. The bowel is filled with meconium, a sticky black tarry substance which will form baby’s first bowel motion. The bones and cartilage remain soft structures as your baby prepares for its own unique journey into the outside world.

Written by PBC Expo Midwife Hayley Hall

Midwife, Birth Educator and Mum of 4

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