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Can Doing Too Much While 33 Weeks Pregnant Hurt the Baby?

by
author image Barbie Carpenter
Barbie Carpenter worked as a technical writer and editor in the defense industry for six years. She also served as a newspaper feature page editor and nationally syndicated columnist for the Hearst Corp. Carpenter holds a Bachelor of Science in journalism from the University of Florida and a graduate certificate in professional writing from the University of Central Florida.
Can Doing Too Much While 33 Weeks Pregnant Hurt the Baby?
A pregnant woman is exercising in a studio. Photo Credit Purestock/Purestock/Getty Images

In an ideal world, you can kick your feet up and relax for the nine months of your pregnancy to give your changing body a break. In reality, life goes on, even as you progress. During the final weeks of your pregnancy, however, it is important to take it easy. At 33 weeks pregnant, you need to avoid overexerting yourself and pay attention to signs to slow down to keep you and your baby safe.

Braxton Hicks

If you do too much at 33 weeks, you might experience Braxton Hicks contractions. Although these contractions are just practice contractions for the real thing, the American Pregnancy Association reports that they help to soften the cervix for birth. While you want your cervix to become 100 percent effaced, or softened, you do not want it to happen at 33 weeks. Take it easy to prevent the discomfort and effacement caused by Braxton Hicks contractions.

Preterm Labor

If you are at risk of preterm labor, you need to monitor your activity level closely, as directed by your obstetrician or midwife. Extra activity alone will not cause you to go into preterm labor, but it can contribute to it in conjunction with other risk factors, such as cervical or placenta abnormalities or infection. The March of Dimes reports that women who have long working hours with long periods of standing are more likely to go into labor early. Your doctor probably might have you on some form of bed rest if you are at risk of preterm labor -- or have experienced it -- because preterm birth puts your baby at risk. Adhere to doctor's orders to avoid going into labor before 37 weeks.

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Premature Babies

If your baby is born before 37 weeks of gestation, she is classified as premature. Premature babies face a range of health problems at birth. Most notably, babies who are born before 37 weeks have underdeveloped lungs, often making them incapable of breathing on their own. Premature birth also puts babies at higher risk of jaundice, anemia and infections such as pneumonia, sepsis and meningitis.

The Bottom Line

If you overexert yourself at 33 weeks pregnant, you are potentially putting your baby at risk for preterm birth. Doctors often cannot diagnose the cause of preterm birth, labeling it spontaneous preterm birth, so there is no way to determine when you will go into labor. Since excessive activity contributes to Braxton Hicks contractions and some cases of preterm birth, it is best to limit your activity during the final few weeks of your pregnancy.

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