33 to 36 weeks pregnant

After 33 weeks of pregnancy, your unborn baby's brain and nervous system are fully developed.

Their bones are continuing to harden, apart from the skull bones which remain soft. Skull bones stay soft and separated until after the birth to make the journey through the birth canal easier. The bones can move gently and slide over each other so the head can be born safely, while still protecting the brain.

They are gaining weight rapidly and you're probably gaining around 1lb a week, half of which is going to them.

After 33 weeks, their buds are well developed. In fact, the food you eat during your pregnancy can affect their taste preferences - this is another reason for you to try eat healthily during pregnancy.

At this stage, they are curled up in the uterus, with their legs bent up towards their chest. Space is tight but they still have room to move about and change position. You should still feel movements and may even be able to see them on the surface of your bump.

If your unborn baby is a boy, his testicles are beginning to descend from his abdomen into his scrotum.

After 36 weeks, their lungs are fully formed and ready to take their first breath after the birth. Their lungs are also now very good at producing a substance called 'surfactant' which keeps air sacs in the lungs open and able to take in oxygen.

They will also be able to suckle for feeds after 36 weeks, and the digestive system is fully prepared to deal with breast milk. By now your baby is about 48cm long.

Page last reviewed: 14 November 2018
Next review due: 14 November 2021