When You Are 33 Weeks Pregnant, Cramping Can Be Worrying

So many things will change when you are pregnant. You will be vulnerable both physically and emotionally. You may also experience menstrual-like cramps. Menstrual-like cramps at 33 weeks pregnant may be nothing to worry about, but they can also possibly indicate a serious underlying problem. It is therefore a good idea to seek medical attention and tell your doctor any symptoms you may be experiencing other than your menstrual-like cramping.

Causes of Cramping at 33 Weeks Pregnant

If you are 33 weeks pregnant, cramping can be caused by the following reasons.

1. Ligament Pain

Mild cramping you experience during the third trimester is usually the result of ligament stretching. The pain is quite like the pain you experience due to a pulled muscle. The pain usually goes away after a few seconds. You are more likely to experience ligament pain while moving. The pain sensation may start in the pelvic area and then move to your abdominal area. You feel it more like menstrual cramps when the pain reaches your abdominal area. Keep in mind that if the pain lasts long, talk to your doctor immediately.

2. False Labor

Severe cramping late in your pregnancy may well be caused by Braxton-Hicks contraction which is often referred to as the false labor. Many women experience these contractions in the 33rd week of pregnancy. These contractions sometimes feel like menstrual-like cramping, but they can be painless too.

Start walking for a short time to see if cramping stops or persists. Real labor contractions will not stop with movement and usually have a set pattern and timing. Contractions will also increase steadily over time and be closer together. Be sure to call your doctor immediately if you think you are having real labor contractions.

3. Placental Abruption

Sometimes, if you are 33 weeks pregnant, cramping may indicate placental abruption. This happens when the placenta separates from the uterus. Your symptoms depend on the extent of separation which could be partial or complete. You may experience sudden bleeding, pain which feels like menstrual cramping and back pain. Your water may break in this situation.

4. Preeclampsia

You may experience tenderness and pain in the upper abdomen due to preeclampsia. Characterized by changes in your blood vessels, preeclampsia can affect your brain, liver, placenta and other organs in the body. You will have hypertension when you have been diagnosed with preeclampsia. There may be some other symptoms as well, such as vision problems, severe headaches, vomiting, nausea, and swelling of the hands, face, ankles, or feet.

What to Do

When you are 33 weeks pregnant, cramping should be reported to your doctor. You can write down any questions you have in mind and ask when you visit your healthcare provider. Be sure to seek immediate medical attention if you notice any signs of early labor. You also need emergency help if you experience unusual shortness of breath or do not notice 6-10 fetal movements in an hour.

Other People's Experience

"I am now 34+ weeks pregnant and started experiencing that debilitating menstrual-like cramping when I was in my 33rd week. It hit me suddenly and felt a lot like light menstrual cramps. There was pain in my legs too, so I called my doctor. He said I should not worry. It is over a week now and I am still experiencing those cramps every now and then. I believe they are normal since I have had no other issues."

"I also had cramping when I was 33 weeks pregnant, but my doctor said it was normal. He said the pain was because of the bottom of my uterus stretching and becoming more flexible but the top of my uterus maintaining its stiffness. He said it is my body's way to prepare for delivery."

Tips for a Healthy Pregnancy and Baby

When you are 33 weeks pregnant, cramping may make you feel worried. Now you know how to deal with this condition, and you can always take some steps to ensure you have healthy pregnancy and baby. For instance:

  • Be sure to drink plenty of water and fluids. Increasing your intake of water will prevent constipation and also reduce water retention by flushing toxins and waste materials from your body.
  • Be sure to count kicks regularly. You should also count small pokes, kicks, and hiccups to ensure your baby is doing well.
  • Perform pelvic floor exercises to strengthen these muscles and support the weight of your growing baby more efficiently. It also helps manage leaking urine soon after delivery.
  • Increase your intake of omega-3 fatty acids. These fatty acids are essential for brain and vision development of your baby. Diet rich in omega-3 fats also lowers your risk of postpartum depression and preterm labor. You can include 8-12 oz. of fish in a week for good effects; tilapia, salmon, catfish, and shrimp are all good options.
  • Maintain an active lifestyle. It is also a good idea to do prenatal yoga or stick to another light exercise routine during pregnancy. A short walk twice a day will help reduce joint and back pain and improve constipation. 
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